Author: Jorge Eduardo Eielson

Jorge Eduardo Eielson was born in Lima in 1924 to a Peruvian mother and a Swedish father. At the end of his secondary studies he met the writer and anthropologist José María Arguedas, who introduced him to Lima's artistic and literary circles, and to a wealth of knowledge about the ancient civilizations of Peru. Three years later, at the age of 21, he won the National Poetry Award. He went on to receive the National Drama Award in 1948, the same year that the prestigious Lima Gallery hosted a well received exhibition of his visual art. In 1951, he traveled to Italy for a summer vacation and decided to settle in Rome, where he met his life partner, Michele Mulas. During this period he wrote his masterpiece Habitación en Roma (Room in Rome), and the two novels El cuerpo de Giulia-No (The body of Giulia-No) and Primera muerte de María (The first death of María). In the late 1950s, he began to texturize his works on canvas with organic materials such as earth, sand, and clay. In 1963 he began work on what would become his first quipu, reinventing this ancient Andean form with fabrics in brilliant colors, knotted and tied on canvas. Eielson's quipus were exhibited to wide acclaim at the 1964 Venice Biennale. In the mid-1970s, he returned to Peru to study pre-Columbian art more deeply; during this period, the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (National Institute of Culture) published the bulk of his poetry under the title Poesía escrita (Written poetry). Later in that decade, he moved to Milan, where he would spend the rest of his life writing, studying Zen, and producing his art, which was exhibited around the world. After the death of his partner in 2002, Eielson's own health deteriorated significantly, though his life was brightened by the discovery of several relatives previously unknown to him, including his sister Olivia. The poet died on March 8, 2006, and his ashes were laid to rest beside his partner's in the small cemetery in Bari Sardo.

Room in Rome
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Room in Rome

Cardboard House Press

Poetry. Latinx Studies. Art. Translated by David Shook. "As a person, Eielson always kept something secret, an intimacy he preserved even beyond the reach of his closest friends. This mysterious depth intrigued and fascinated those who knew him and ...

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