Evaristo Rivera Chevremont was a prolific writer of the 1930s generation who is mainly known for his poetry. He also wrote prose, particularly journalism and literature. He was also one of the main proponents and sponsors of avant-garde literary movements.
He was born on February 16, 1890, in Old San Juan, the son of a Galician father and an island-born mother. He was left an orphan as a child. After finishing his primary and secondary education, he worked in commercial establishments.
His first written works, which were modernist in nature, appeared in the pages of the Revista de las Antillas, a monthly publication founded by Luis Llorens Torres in 1913. The following year, he published his first book of poetry, titled Desfile romántico, in which a Romantic intimate sentiment dominated along with a modernist search for formal perfection.
In 1918, he and José S. Alegría compiled the Antología de poetas jóvenes de Puerto Rico and he collaborated with Luis Muñoz Marín and Antonio Coll Vidal on a book of tales, called Madre haraposa. In the book of poetry El templo de los alabastros in 1919, he displays avant-garde influences, although modernist elements are still notable.
During those years, he was named editor in chief of the newspaper El Imparcial, for which he wrote a series of articles titled España en la conciencia de América. In 1920, he made his first trip to Spain along with other intellectuals from the island. During his stay in Madrid, he met poets and academics and became familiar with the new avant-garde trends, particularly the Spanish poetry movement Ultraism. Among other things, this movement promoted a form of rhythmic free verse that avoided the use of adjectives, unnecessary connections, and extreme adornment.
Ribera Chevremont actively participated in the avant-garde movement in Madrid, giving talks, offering recitals at the Madrid Athenaeum and frequenting literary gatherings. While in Madrid, he published La copa de Hebe in 1922, in which he displays a more avant-garde style, in the richness of his images, but without abandoning classic modernist rhythm.
Upon returning to Puerto Rico in 1924, he began promoting the Ultraist ideas, techniques and topics in the newspapers and magazines of Puerto Rico, such as La Democracia, Los Quijotes, La Linterna, Puerto Rico Ilustrado and, most of all, in a series called Página de Vanguardia in El Imparcial.
During this avant-garde era, he wrote several books of poetry. Tú, mar, y yo y ella was published in 1946 and El hondero lanzó la piedra in 1975. Both avant-garde books included free verse poems with indirect or complex images.
The publication of Los almendros del Paseo de Covadonga in 1928 marked a change of direction for the poet. In this book, he returned to traditional meter and abandoned experimentation, but without setting aside the search for formal perfection and ways to present images. The books of poetry La hora del orífice (1929), Pajarera (1929) and Tierra y sombra (1930), all of them with a more contemplative, universal and human nature, come from this stage, in which he brought together the earlier currents of his writing.
Beginning with the publication of Color (1938), his poems were mostly short, with a preference for sonnets, and addressed themes of Spanish, island and Puerto Rican identity, particularly in representation of landscapes. He followed the same lines in his subsequent books of poetry: Tonos y formas (1943), Anclas de oro (1945), Barro (1945), Verbo (1947), Creación (1951), La llama pensativa (1954), Inefable orilla (1961), Memorial de arena (1962), El semblante (1964), Canto de mi tierra (1971), El caos de los sueños (1974), as well as three posthumous collections, El libro de las apologías (1976), Jinetes de la inmortalidad (1977) and Elegías de San Juan (1980), among others.
The distinguished poet died in his hometown on March 1, 1976.
Gran Enciclopedia de Puerto Rico.
Puebla, Manuel de la. “Evaristo Ribera Chevremont: ‘la poesía de mi vida'”. Mairena 20.45-46 (1998):23-33. Impreso.
Rivera de álvarez, Josefina. Literatura puertorriqueña: su proceso en el tiempo. Madrid: Partenón, . Impreso.
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 16, 2014.
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