Homero Aridjis [ Mexico ]
The youngest of five brothers, Homero Aridjis was born in 1940, in the village of Contepec, Michoacán, Mexico, to a Mexican mother and a Greek father. He began writing at the age of 11, after surviving an accident which nearly cost him his life. At the age of 19 he won a~scholarship from the Mexican Writers' Centre, and in 1964 was the youngest-ever recipient of the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize for best book of the year, for "Mirándola dormir", a classic of Mexican erotic poetry. After two years in Europe on a Guggenheim scholarship, he taught at American universities until entering the Mexican diplomatic service and serving as Ambassador to both Switzerland and then The Netherlands, all~while still in his thirties. Back in Mexico, in 1985 Aridjis and 99 other renowned artists and intellectuals founded the legendary "Grupo de los Cien", an activist organization based in Mexico which addresses national and international environmental and ethical issues. From 1997~to 2003 he served two terms as president of International PEN, where he strove to make PEN less Eurocentric. In addition to fourteen volumes of poetry and eleven novels, Aridjis has written children's books, essays and plays, and for the past ten years has been an editorial page columnist for the Mexican newspaper "Reforma". His work has been translated into a dozen languages and recognized with literary prizes such as the Grinzane Cavour in Italy, for "1492 Vida y tiempos de Juan Cabezón de Castilla" (1985). In 1997 he received the Prix Roger Caillois in France, and most recently, the Smederevo Golden Key poetry prize. "Eyes to See Otherwise: Selected Poems of Homero Aridjis", a wide-ranging bilingual anthology of his poetry, was published in England (2001) and the United States (2002). Kenneth Rexroth called Aridjis a "visionary poet of lyrical bliss, crystalline concentrations and infinite spaces". A champion of grey whales, monarch butterflies, sea turtles and rain forests, Aridjis has been termed the "green conscience" of his country, and for his passionate defence of the earth, he~has received numerous international awards, including the UNEP Global 500 Award, the Orion Society's John Hay Award, and the International Environmental Leadership Award given by Mikhail Gorbachev and Global Green. Aridjis and his wife Betty live in Mexico City, too far away from their daughters, the writer Chloe Aridjis, in Berlin, and the filmmaker Eva Aridjis, in New York.
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