Luis Bravo

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Luis Bravo (Montevideo, Uruguay, 1957) is a prominent Uruguayan poet, performer and literary critic who teaches Iberoamerican and world literature at the University of Montevideo, and at the public Instituto de Profesores Artigas. The author of twelve books of poetry and numerous multimedia poetry performances, he belongs to Uruguay’s “Generation of ’80,” known for its iconoclastic search to reinvent what it saw as hidebound and defunct cultural models. Uruguay’s military dictatorship began while Bravo was still a teenager, in 1973, and ended in 1985. In his early years, he was strongly influenced by jazz and rock music, the Beat poets, the avant-gardes, psychedelia, surrealism, and the cultural experimentation of the 1960s. 

As an emerging writer, he became associated with the interdisciplinary activist work of the poets and artists known as “Grupo Uno” (1982-1994), which was fundamental to his emergence as a public intellectual. In the waning years of the dictatorship, Grupo Uno was largely involved in counter-cultural resistance work. After 1985, in the artistic and political ferment of the transition to democracy, it became among other things a publishing house that brought out over one hundred volumes by both Uruguayan and foreign writers, including two books and two chapbooks by Bravo himself.

For a number of years, he hosted “La Luna”, a radio show on literary and cultural issues in Montevideo. He co-directed the first Iberoamerican Poetry Festival in Uruguay in 1993 and the Second International Poetry Festival in 2006. He has performed his poems in Latin America, the United States and Europe. His essays on literary history and criticism have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies, journals and other publications in Uruguay and other countries. 

He was the 2012 Resident Author at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. During that year, he was the featured author at a graduate poetry workshop at the University of Notre Dame, and he traveled to other U.S. universities to read. He was invited back to read his work at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the International Writing Program in October 2017. He recently completed a Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame and has returned to Uruguay.

His poetry collections include Puesto encima el corazón en llamas (1984), Claraboya sos la luna (text 1985, cassette tape, 1986), Lluvia (1988), Gabardina a la sombra del laúd (1989), Naturaleza fugitiva (1994), La sombra es el arco (1996), Árbol veloz (book and CD-Rom, 1998, DVD, 2007); En el contorno del espejo (2000), Liquen (2003), Tarja (2004), Algo pasa por la voz (2008), Tamudando (DVD, 2010), Areñal: ene topos bilingües and other sounds (CD, 2013, with John Bennett), Lumbre (2017), El Roce de las Voces (CD, 2019 with Orquesta de Poetas and J.A. Italiano). He has also published four volumes of literary interviews and criticism, including a study of Uruguayan poetry entitled Voz y palabra: Historia transversal de la poesía uruguaya, 1950-1973 (2012).


Interview at Sampsonia Way

Three poems translated by Catherine Jagoe at Tupelo Quarterly




Performance, multimedia: