Unnecessary thoughts about poetry written in Ecuador in the 20th century: influences of Jara Idrovo’s work

        Ecuadorian poetry can be stated as that, according to Xavier Troncoso,[1] starting at the 20th century. In Ecuador, before that period, as it happened in many countries of South America, the most influential writers and philosophers were heavily influenced by patriotism, independence movement and, especially, by French literature; and the expressivity of their work and the variety of themes they reflected on were limited compared to what happened during 20th century.[2]

       In the final decade of the 19th century, the last generation of modernist poets was born. They are known as the “Generación decapitada”. Their most important exponents, four prolific writers who were strongly connected, killed themselves at a young age between 1912 and 1929.[3] After their sudden deaths, writers who looked up to them grieved for their influences and local poetry remained stuck in modernism for a period of time. Yet their work directly influenced the upcoming vanguards and social protest and political poetry, which gradually evolved into a more personal and powerful expression. An important influence for Efraín Jara Idrovo’s work was the poet César Dávila Andrade, born in Cuenca in 1918.[4] His work initiated an important shift in Ecuadorian poetry.[5] It is well known that Dávila Andrade addressed social topics, especially well known in his poem Boletín y elegía de las mitas (1959), that reflects on oppression of indigenous communities in Andean highlands during Spanish colonial era, but, unlike other writers during this period of time, he did not align to any political or social movement, therefore remaining genuine and true to his journey as an artist as and a poet.[6] His “social” poetry was a reaction to human pain and inequality not a political or nationalistic statement, as is the work of many well-known Ecuadorian poets. I am making this differentiation and analysis because Dávila’s artistic freedom could have been a source of inspiration for Jara Idrovo to write unattached to the intention of making a political statement with his poetry.


     Jara Idrovo is a very special case of his generation because in his work he does not refer to a social, cultural or historical community he considers his own and therefore his reflections are intimate, subjective and his poetry emerged in a praise of linguistics and form.[7] sollozo por pedro jara is, in my perspective, a poem that could only be created in that type of mental frame because of it expressiveness and because of how playful and it goes around semantics and phonetics/sound, characteristics that made me choose this piece for my M.Mus. thesis project.

[1] Xavier Oquendo Troncoso, “Estudio: Poetas Siglo XX Ecuador", Ómnibus, Revista Intercultural N. 43 (2013): n.p., accesed June 2016, http://www.omni-bus.com/n43/sites.google.com/site/omnibusrevistainterculturaln43/poesia-siglo-xx/poetas-siglo-xx.html

[2] Ibid.

[3] Antonella Calarota, “Modernismo en Ecuador: la generación decapitada”, A contra corriente, Vol. 11, No. 3, Spring 2014, 248-274, accesed June 2016, http://acontracorriente.chass.ncsu.edu/index.php/acontracorriente/article/viewFile/761/1512

[4]  Jorge Dávila Vásquez, César Dávila Andrade, Combate poético y suicidio: ensayo, (Cuenca: Universidad de Cuenca, 1998), 50.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] María Augusta Vintimilla, Magia, erotismo y lenguaje: las zonas sagradas en la poética de Efraín Jara Idrovo, (Quito: Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, 1996), 24.

© 2020 tomás proaño