Luz Mary Giraldo
(Colombia, 1950)   
Luz Mary Giraldo

Born in Ibagué, Colombia, Luz Mary Giraldo is a poet, literary critic and university professor. She has published several anthologies of Colombian short stories; her poetry has been included in Colombian and foreign anthologies; she has given poetry readings in Barcelona, Florence, Seattle, Mexico City; and she has been invited to the International Poetry Festival of Bogotá and to the International Poetry Festival of Medellín. She has published five books of poetry in Colombia and, in the United States, a shared anthology with Oscar Torres Duque.

The constant and primary search for harmony seems to be the leitmotif of Luz Mary Giraldo’s work, and this search lends her poetry a certain balance of joy and discomfort, light and shade, vitality and weakness as she investigates the association of contraries; her search is for a central core around which these oppositions can be gathered together. This process of observation becomes poetry, a poetry that flows from the grace of renewal, from total acceptance of self and the external world.

The main focus of this observation is time, continually renewing and recreating itself. But time in Giraldo’s work has a dual nature: there is real time which passes by, and from which the poet is excluded; but there is also the time of dreams, of hope and poetry. Giraldo’s poetry flows from this tension between the two incarnations of time, a tension which also seems to create the necessary force to keep the world at bay.

Among her gallery of portraits, that of her grandmother, who folds and unfolds shirts as if she were “tying and untying time”, stands out: 

The house you carry
about bundled
is a backyard of time
and a patio of cherry trees
it is dinner served for all at night
children in gardens and a hidden secret.

Giraldo’s poetry bridges the gap between life and the poetic inner world. She is at ease in writing contemplatively and in using words in the most expressive way, based not on their musical quality or their elegance, but rather on their essence, which she seeks through her constant research of daily life, interiorising her experience to give it a better, richer explanation and thus transform it into poetry.

© Franca Bacchiega, Florence, Italy (Translated by Nicolás Suescún)

Camino de los sueños (The Way of Dreams), Instituto Tolimense de Cultura, Ibagué, Colombia, 1981
El tiempo se volvió poema (Time Became a Poem), Cafastía, Ibagué, Colombia, 1994
Con la vida (With Life), Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia, 1996
Poemas (Poems) (with Oscar Torres Duque), University of Washington, Seattle, USA
Hoja por hoja (Leaf by Leaf), Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, 1998
Postal de viaje (Travel Postcard), El Malpensante/Universidad Externado de Colombia, 2003 
Diario vivir, ediciones Entrecasa, Bogotá, 2007

Narrativa colombiana: búsqueda de un nuevo canon, Bogotá, 1978–1995
Ciudades escritas. Literatura y Ciudad en la Narrativa Colombiana, Convenio Andrés Bello, Bogotá, 2001

Links (in Spanish)
Universidad Javeriana review of Ciudades escritas. Literatura y Ciudad en la Narrativa Colombiana

Universidad Javeriana review of  Narrativa colombiana: búsqueda de un nuevo canon

Prologue of the book Ellas cuentan: De la Colonia a nuestros días by Luz Mary Giraldo

Prologue of the book Cuentos de fin de siglo by Luz Mary Giraldo

Prologue of the book Cuentos y relatos de la literatura colombiana by Luz Mary Giraldo

Video of Luz Mary Giraldo reading poem ‘Canción del exilio’ on the International Poetry Festival of Medellín website


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