Luis Rosales



uis Rosales was born in Granada in 1910. As a poet he belongs to the so-called Generation of 1936, whose lives were deeply marked by the Spanish Civil War. In Rosales's case, this meant above all the loss of many close friends, and a false accusation of having played a part in the murder of one of them, namely Federico García Lorca (an accusation that would haunt Rosales, and the reception of his work at home and abroad, for years to come).

Settling in Madrid after the conflict, Rosales worked as an editor at various literary journals and published over ten collections of poetry. A ceaseless experimenter, his style ranged from traditional forms to Andalusian folk songs to an inimitable blend of surrealism, story-telling, startling aphorisms and free verse. He wrote several volumes of criticism (on Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote, Pablo Neruda's poetry and the Spanish Golden Age), philosophy (on time, freedom and memory) and literary and art reviews. Among his awards were the National Poetry Prize in 1951 and the Cervantes Prize in 1982.


"Autobiography" (from the Times Literary Supplement)

From The Content of the Heart (1969)

"The Trap-Net" (from Modern Poetry in Translation)

From Songs (1973)

"What Is Not Remembered" (from Poetry Review)

"The Name That Creates Us" (from Poetry London)

"Growing Towards the Earth", "The Secret" and "Transfiguration" (links to Asymptote)


Selected Prose on Language, Freedom and Memory (in progress)

A collection of aphorisms (in progress)


"Luis Rosales: A Promise Fulfilled" (profile in the Times Literary Supplement, pay-walled)


Luis Rosales's main collections of poetry and prose


In Spanish:

Vicente Gallego, "Los procedimientos de expresión poética en Luis Rosales" (within PDF of Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 557), one of the best analyses,  by a contemporary poet, of Rosales's use of language.

Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 257-258, devoted in its entirety to Rosales (essays by Dámaso Alonso, Julián Marías, José Hierro and other poets and critics).

Special 2012 online issue of Espéculo, with articles on Rosales's life, poetry, criticism and relationships.

Carmen Díaz de Alda Heikkilä, Una mirada sobre Luis Rosales, excellent biographical article.

Enrique García-Máiquez, El contenido del corazón y el poema en prosa, on Rosales's prose poems.


Luis Rosales reading "Autobiografía" (and other poems) at


In the late 1970s, TV presenter and journalist Joaquín Soler Serrano interviewed Luis Rosales for his program A fondo (other guests included Jorge Luis Borges, Salvador Dalí and Octavio Paz). The 90-min interview, touching on everything from Rosales's childhood to the Civil War to his latest poems, is online for free at (late-'70s musical intro included).


Grateful acknowledgment is made to the heirs of Luis Rosales for permission to translate and publish his work.