b. 1907, Lima, Peru; d. 1985, Lima
Poet and novelist
Martin Adan was the pen name of Rafael de la Fuente Benavides. He published his first poems in Amauta, the influential cultural and literary magazine founded by Jose´ Carlos Maria´ tegui, who remarked on the innovative format of Adan’s modern sonnets as ‘anti-sonnets’. Adan’s Itinerario de primavera (Springtime Itinerary) (1928) is endowed with an anti-traditional tone that signals his affinity with the generation of writers who claimed that poets could aspire to the divine power of creation by the alchemy of the word. Equally innovative in prose, his Casa de carton (Cardboard Shack) (1928) is a vanguardist novel much admired for the linguistic experimentation that foregrounded the centrality of language. With a thin plot and undetermined characterization, it is a dynamic stylistic adventure of the first order. His major work is Travesia de extramares (Voyage beyond the Seas) (1950), where the poet is the explorer of the other side of life. It is a voyage into the unknown nourished by the yearning to break down boundaries, a quest powerfully reflected in its expressive system of lexical and syntactic experimentation, alluded to in the title of the collection.
The volume consists of sonnets, and his strict adherence to traditional versification allows him to confine the maximum of emotion within the most prestigious of classical forms. The nautical metaphor of the title is one of the central images of the book. Ada´n shared with other poets, for example Ce´sar Moro, the idea that poetry’s reality is elsewhere, unreachable even for the poet him- or herself. He skilfully constructed a poetic system based on the Romantic music of Fre´de´ric Chopin and the language of French symbolist poetry, hence its subtitle Sonetos a Chopin (Sonnets to Chopin). His other two important works are La mano desasida: Canto a Macchu Picchu (The Unclutched Hand: A Song to Macchu Picchu) (1964) and Diario de un poeta (Diary of a Poet) (1975).
Adan, M. (1980) Obra poe´tica, ed. R. Silva
Santisteban, Lima: Edubanco.
—— (1982) Obra en prosa, ed. R. Silva Santisteban,
Bendezu´ , E. (1969) La poe´tica de Martı´n Ada´n, Lima:
Higgins, J. (1982) The Poet in Peru: Alienation and the
Quest for a Super-Reality, Liverpool: Francis Cairns.
Kinsella, J.M. (1997) ‘Martı´n Ada´n’, in V. Smith
(ed.), Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature,
London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 3–4.
Lauer, M. (1983) Los exilios interiores: Una introduccio´n
a Martı´n Ada´n, Lima: Hueso Hu´mero.
MAGDALENA GARCI´A PINTO