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Rafael Alberti

A poem by Rafael Alberti, in the old town of Estepona. © Michelle Chaplow
A poem by Rafael Alberti, in the old town of Estepona.

Poet (1902 - 2000)

Rafael Alberti Merellowas born in Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz on 16th December 1902.

A member of the Generation of '27, an influential group of poets that arose in Spanish literary circles between 1923 and 1927 and worked with avant-garde forms of art and poetry. He is considered one of the greatest literary figures of the so-called Silver Age of Spanish Literature.

Prior to his being known for his writing, he was a highly competent painter. In 1925, however, Alberti received the necessary motivation to concentrate on his writing when he gained the National Literature Prize in Spain for his acclaimed work, "Marinero en Tierro".

The writer's work incorporated the new avant-garde school of literature, which is particularly evident in "Cal y Canto" which was written in 1927. "Sobre los Angeles" written just a year later, is generally considered to be Alberti´s most significant work, recounting the optimism of youth in a chaotic and depressing world and is a vivid reflection of Alberti´s own state of mind at the time.

In 1931 his commitment to social problems really took hold as evidenced by the following quote: "before, my poetry was only accessible to a few but this is no longer the case. What urges me to write today is the same motivation that moves workmen and workers in the field, I am driven by reasons of revolution."

In 1932, he joined the Communist Party and after the Civil War in 1939 he was forced into exile. After the death of Franco in 1975, Alberti returned to Spain.

He was named Hijo Predilecto de Andalucía in 1983 and Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad de Cádiz in 1985.

He was also awarded Lenin Peace Prize for the year 1964 and Laureate Of The International Botev Prize in 1981. In 1983, he was awarded the Premio Cervantes, the Spanish literary world's highest honour. In 1998, he received the America Award for his lifetime contribution to international writing.

Rafael Alberti died on 28th October 1999 in Puerto de Santa Maria aged 96 years of age.

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