Best of Nicaraguan Writing – Rubén Darío

Rubén Darío is by far Nicaragua’s most famous and influential writer.  He was born on April 26, 1866 and Darío and by the age of three he learned how to read.  His childhood was spent in the city of León where he was raised by his mother’s aunt and uncle.  At an early age his gift with words was evident.  His poetry was unique and unparalleled to anyone close to him.  

Best of Nicaraguan Writing Ruben Dario

Beginning in 1882 he started to travel around Central America and even made a trip down to Chile in 1886.  During these years he honed his trade by meeting and getting mentored by other well known poets of the time.  In El Salvador he trained under Joaquín Mendez and met Francisco Gavidia.  Gavidia had a strong French influence in his writings and may have rubbed off on Darío.  He also traveled to Chile where he worked with Eduardo de la Barra and they even co-authored a novel together called Emelina. 

Darío helped jump start the modernist literary movement in Latin America.  His view on modernism was summed up with this statement he made, “Modernism is nothing more than Spanish verse and prose passed through the fine sieve of the good French verse and the good French prose.”   One of his works titled Azul which is a compilation of poems is one of the most well regarded literary works for the modernist movement.  His writings would lead him on trips to Argentina, Brazil, Spain, France and Mexico.  In Spain he was able to serve as an ambassador for Nicaragua.  Shortly before his death Darío even made a trip to the United States in 1915.  While in the United States he read some of his poetry at Columbia University in New York.  He returned to Nicaragua by the end 1915 where he remained until his death on February 6, 1916.  He was buried in the historic cathedral in León.  In León, Managua and other cities around Nicaragua there are museums and historical sites commemorating his life.

Darío experienced a lot of success through his writing but his personal life was completely dysfunctional.  He married Rafaela Contreras from El Salvador but she ended up dying a few years later.  In his depression he turned to alcohol for his problems.  He then was reunited with his former girlfriend Rosario Murillo (Yes that is the same name as the wife of current Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega).  Her brother forced them to get married after catching them in bed together.  Darío agreed but that did not stop him from continuing with his mistresses.  He was separated a few occasions from Murillo and even tried to divorce her while he was in overseas to pursue other lovers.  She refused to sign the papers without sufficient compensation. 

Rubén Darío is not someone who was just famous in Nicaragua during his time.  Darío is one of the most famous poets of his time.  There are streets in Mexico City named after him.  Many countries including Argentina have tried to claim that Darío was actually from Argentina.  In Miami there is a middle school named after him for his influence in Latin American writing.

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