José Emilio Pacheco (1939-2014)

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El Departamento de Español y Portugués está de luto con la súbita muerte del poeta, novelista, ensayista, traductor, mentor y amigo José Emilio.

José Emilio Pacheco died on Sunday, January 26 in Mexico City, at the age of 74. Pacheco was a soaring figure in contemporary poetry. From a very young age he stood up as poet, novelist, essayist, short story writer and translator. He studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM), where he began his literary activities in the literary journal Medio Siglo. He taught at various institutions, including at UNAM’s Center of Historical Studies of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), our University of Maryland (College Park), and at universities in Canada and the United Kingdom. He was the winner of several prestigious awards, including the Premio Reina Sofía de Poesía Iberoamericana, and the Miguel de Cervantes Literature Prize in 2009, the highest award given to a Spanish-language writer. His collections of short stories, essays and poems were translated into English, French, German, Japanese and Russian. He translated works by Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams, Oscar Wilde, Harold Pinter, T. S. Eliot, Yevgeny Yevtuschenko and Albert Einstein into Spanish, among others. In our Department of Spanish and Portuguese, José Emilio was a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing, Mexican Literature and Culture and Latin American Modernismo.  His graduate courses were an oasis of knowledge, dialogue and generosity.

Among his works the following stand out: La sangre de Medusa y otros cuentos marginales (1959), Morirás lejos (1967), El principio del placer (1972), Las batallas en el desierto (1981), No me preguntes cómo pasa el tiempo (1969), Islas a la deriva (1976), Los trabajos del mar (1983), Miro la tierra (1987), Ciudad de la memoria (1989). 
Fondo de Cultura Económica published his collected poetry titled Tarde o temprano. Poemas 1958-2000 (1980, 1986, 2000 y 2009) y Elogio de la fugacidad. Antología poética 1958-2009 (2010).

It was always spring in College Park when José Emilio was among us.

Un abrazo ahora y siempre.

 

Decir adiós

Acércate y al oído te diré adiós.

Gracias porque te conocí, porque acompañaste

un inmenso minuto de la existencia.

Todo se olvidará en poco tiempo.

 

Nunca hubo nada y lo que fue nada

tiene por tumba

el espacio infinito de la nada.

Pero no todo es nada,

siempre queda algo.

Quedarán unas horas, una ciudad,

el brillo cada vez más lejano de este maltiempo.

 

Acércate y al oído te diré adiós. Me voy

pero me llevo estas horas.

José Emilio Pacheco

Latin American Studies Center, news-archive-spanish