Clara Janés was born in Barcelona in 1940, daughter of Ester Nadal and the famous editor and poet Josep Janés (l’Hospitalet de Llobregat, 1913 – Monós, Alto Penedés, 1959). She was brought up in Pedralbes, on the outskirts of Barcelona. Her love for literature, especially poetry, started at an early age after reading Saint Teresa.
She studied philosophy at the University of Barcelona, with a focus on the literature of San Juan de la Cruz and Francisco de Quevedo, among other traditional Spanish poets. After the death of her father in 1960 she moved to Pamplona, and then to Paris, where she complete her degree in comparative literature. At the age of 23, he poetry was discovered by author Gerardo Diego, who became instrumental in the publication of her first book, Las estrellas vencidas, in 1964. That same year she decided to move to Madrid, where she currently resides.
Janés’ poetry has been translated into twenty languages. The most notable of her books are Las estrellas vencidas (1964), Límite humano (1974), En busca de Cordelia and Poemas rumanos (1975), Antología personal (1979), Libro de alienaciones (1980), Eros (1981), Kampa (1986), Fósiles (1987), Rosas de fuego and Divan of the Opal of Fire (1996), La indetenible quietud (1998), El libro de los pájaros (1999) and Paralajes (2002).
She directs the Collection Poesía del Oriente y del Mediterráneo, where she has published works of poets such as Yunus Emre, Sohrab Sepehri, Adonis, Halas, Vladimir Holan, Nezval, Orten, Jaroslav Seifert, Ilhan Berk, Rumi, Odysseas Elitis, António Ramos Rosa, Wang Wei, Nazim Hikmet, Nichita Stănescu, Du Fu, Johannes Bobrowski, Hafez of Shiraz, Halladch Mansur Mahmud Darwish, Sujata Bhatt, Forough Farrokhzad, Ahmad Shamloo, Abbas Kiarostami, Al-Mutanabbi, Sappho, Rilke …
Since 2015 she has held a chair at the Royal Spanish Academy.
Janés has written poetry, novel, biography and essays. She is also a prolific translator, particularly of the Czech language and the poetry of Vladimir Holan and Jaroslav Seifert. She has translated into Spanish the works of Marguerite Duras, Nathalie Sarraute, Katherine Mansfield and William Golding and, in collaboration with native people of Turkish and Persian descent, she has translated both modern and ancient myths.
Often referred to as a mediator between the Eastern and Western world. “The intention of the poet to break down barriers between the Eastern and Western cultures is reflected in the historical context of the Islamic presence in Spain and the present arrival of Muslim immigrants in Spain and other countries of the European Union” (Kafee Sharon Ugalde, 2012).