Juan Antonio Villacañas: Selected Poems
Published September 2009
Paperback, 168pp, 9x6ins, £10.95 / $18.50
Born in Toledo, the city where he spent most of his life and one to which he felt deeply attached, Juan Antonio Villacañas was a prolific poet whose work was very favourably received and anthologized during his lifetime. Although a profoundly spiritual man, he always stayed in touch with the mundanities of ordinary human life. His poetry was neglected during his later years, and now an almost complete silence has descended on it, at least so far as the present Spanish literary establishment is concerned. This silence has a great deal to do with the Spanish literary politics and with the general cultural changes that have taken place since the Franco era. In their hunger to compensate for their past poverty and enforced religiosity, Spaniards in general seem to haveabandoned their spiritual and idealistic preoccupations in favour of consumerism and the acquisition of wealth. Thus a poetry such as that of Juan Antonio Villacañas, which has as its primary concern the possibility of transcendence and is permeated with metaphysical ponderings, runs against current poetic trends in Spain. Nevertheless, in being just that—spiritual and idealistic—it is a poetry with deep roots in Spanish literature. A revival of interest in his poetry is long overdue. The poetry of Juan Antonio Villacañas shows a profound originality and is remarkably innovative. He resolutely refused to follow trends or fit easily into groups or generations beloved of Spanish criticism, and he paid the price of neglect for this courage.
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