Juan Ramón Jiménez

Juan Ramón won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1956 and his masterpiece about an old man and his donkey, Platero y yo (1914), is widely considered the greatest work of poetic prose in the Spanish language.  Jiménez was born in Moguer (1881), but moved to Madrid in 1898.   Jiménez met his future wife, Zenobia Camprubí, in Madrid and they traveled to the U.S. in 1916 to get married.  One of his best collection's, Diario de un Poeta Recién Casado (Diary of a Newly Wed Poet, 1917), was written during this period and marked a significant change in his style.   This style rejected ornamentation and end-rhyme's in favor of an emphasis on simplicity and rhythm.  The result is a collection of later poems which are succinct, delicate, and yet intensely emotional.

At the start of the Civil War, Juan Ramón fled Spain to live in the U.S., Cuba and Puerto Rico, where he died.  Jiménez and his wife were intensely devoted to each other and many of his poems were written for her, including "I Took Off Petal After Petal".  Indeed, he was awarded the Nobel Prize while his wife was on her deathbed and refused to travel to Stockholm to receive the prize, stating that his wife should have received it and that he had no interest in it now.  Juan Ramón was always a frail man, both physically and emotionally, and he suffered from severe depression before passing away just over a year after his wife's death.

Read "I Took Off Petal After Petal"

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