There are many AfroColombian poets and writers who have made their mark on Colombian literature. In this page we will list some of them, the list will continually be updated with more information.
Jorge Artel was born in Cartagena in 1909 and grew up in a Colombia where the voices of the marginalized were seldom heard. The more recognized poetic voices represented a different Colombia than the one he saw daily. Thus, as a writer, it was clear that Artel would seek to express the grim reality that he, as an AfroColombian, experienced. In addition to expressing the cultural identity of AfroColombians, Artel’s poetry started asserting AfroColombian views on politics and race. Influenced by the Harlem Renaissance, black poetry during Artel’s time became a catalyst for political expression in Colombia and contributed to the Négritude movement in the world.
Mary Grueso Romero
Born in Guapi in 1947, she studied Spanish and Literature at the University of Quindio. She is known as one of the strongest voices of the pacific coast. Mary Grueso expresses in her poetry the daily affairs of the men and women of the pacific, to do so she plays with words and sounds which are characteristic of the black vernacular. She has received various awards including Almanegra, which is the highest recognition for Afro-Colombian women poets.
He was born in Mompox, Colombia in 1849. He studied Law and Political Science at the National University of Colombia; it is there where he began his career as a writer. The poetry of Candelario Obeso is often considered as the first modern literature of Colombia. He is commonly recognized as the pioneer of what is known in Colombia as “black poetry”. In his short lived life of 35 years he was a military officer, engineer, educator, politician and journalist. Obeso was fluent in four languages and wrote various poems, plays, comedies and dramas also interpreting various European writings. His most significant work is “Cantos populares de mi tierra” which is a collection of poems that display the reality of life for Afro-Colombians residing in the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Although he was a prolific writer, he lived in constant poverty and was weighed down by depression and loneliness which led him to commit suicide in 1884.
Also you can see all of the poems of "Cantos populares..." by visiting the web page of the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango that is devoted to Candelario Obeso
Maria Teresa Ramirez
Born in 1944 in Corinto, she studied History and Philosophy at the University of El Valle. In her poems there is a rhythm and repetition of sounds, the themes of which speak to us of spirituality and recognition of the black man and woman as he/she is. She says of her poetry “black poetry is a breaking of spiritual chains… it is a truthful dance of words”. Like Mary Grueso, she also received the Almanegra award.
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