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Jose Manuel Caballero Bonald Receives the Cervantes Prize “Disobedience is what has made me who I am today”, he says

PressReleaseLeader - April 23, 2013 - Madrid, Spain - “Disobedience is what has made me who I am today”, he says José Manuel Caballero Bonald, 86, the writer and poet from Cadiz, was recently awarded the Cervantes Prize by Spain’s King Juan Carlos in the great hall of the University of Alcalá de Henares. This award recognises a lifetime of dedication to literature and 65 years of immersion, body and soul, in the world of poetry as a member of the so-called Generation of the 1950s. He has always been characterised by his independent and rebellious spirit, leading him to say a few days ago that “disobedience is what has made me who I am today”.

During his speech, he referred to Cervantes’ poetry and his links with freedom. He also devoted some comments to the consoling power of poetry, saying how he knew, from his own experience, that it “helps you to protect yourself against the hardships that life throws at you”. The author of poetry compilations such as "Laberinto de fortuna", "Diario de Argónida" and "La noche no tiene paredes", said that this literary style “helps to stop you being disillusioned by everything, to be ableto make your way through the anxieties of a world such as the one we live in, so full of misery and corruption”. Talking about his own work, Caballero Bonald said: “A set of words suddenly come together in my head, opening up a special world. They break a seal, and you can look out through these words onto an unknown world, a newly-discovered reality. That is what poetry is”. The poet, who was accompanied at the award ceremony by his wife, two of his five children and three of his grandchildren, also referred in his speech to today’s degradation of social and political life. “I feel morally obliged to say something about it”, he commented a few days before being presented with the award.


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Jose Manuel Caballero Bonald Receives the Cervantes Prize