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About this poet

Ángel González was born in Oviedo, Spain, on September 6, 1925. In 1944, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent three years in a sanatorium in northwest Spain. During this time, he began reading and writing poetry.

A member of Spain’s “Generation of the 1950s” literary movement, he published his first poetry collection, Áspero mundo (Ediciones Rialp), in 1956, followed by his second collection, Sin esperanza, con convencimiento (Literaturasa), in 1961, for which he gained wider literary recognition. In 2007, Wing Press published, in a bilingual edition, Almost All the Music: Casi Toda la Música. His poetry is known both for its political aspects and for its lyric observations on humanity.

During his lifetime, González also edited several anthologies and collections of literary criticism. From 1974 to 1993 he taught contemporary Spanish literature at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, dividing his time between Spain and the United States.

He was a member of the Royal Spanish Academy and the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the inaugural Federico García Lorca International Poetry Prize, a Prince of Asturias Award for Letters, and a Reina Sofía Award for Spanish and Latin-American Poetry. He died on January 12, 2008, in Madrid.


Selected Bibliography

Almost All the Music: Casi Toda la Música (Wings Press, 2007)
Astonishing World: The Selected Poems of Ángel González, 1956–1986 (Milkweed Editions, 1993)

Death in the Afternoon

Of the hundreds of deaths that inhabit me,
this one today bleeds the least.
It's the death that comes with the afternoons,
when the pale shadows grow longer,
and contours collapse
and the  mountains show themselves.

Then someone passes hawking
his merchandise under my window,
where I lean out to see
those streetlamps that are still unlit.

Shadows cross the ashes of the streets
without leaving tracks, men that pass
who do not come to me and do not stay
with their lonely soul on their backs.

The daylight escapes toward the west.
The night air comes in before time,
and a bitter, confused fear, almost
pain, hardly hope, reaches me.

Everything that tied me to life
becomes untied, becomes distance,
goes farther off, disappears at last,
and I'm a dead man,
      ...and no one raises me.

Copyright © 2005 by Ángel González and David Ignatow. From Roots and Wings: Poetry from Spain 1900-1975. Used with permission of White Pine Press.

Copyright © 2005 by Ángel González and David Ignatow. From Roots and Wings: Poetry from Spain 1900-1975. Used with permission of White Pine Press.

Ángel González

Ángel González was born in Oviedo, Spain, on September 6, 1925.