| Nicaraguan poet, journalist,
and diplomat, whose innovative literary style was important in the development
of modern poetry in both Spain and Latin America. Born in San Pedro de
Metapa, Darío began using his pen name while still a teenager.
His professional writing career began in the mid-1880s, when he traveled
widely, living for various amounts of time in Chile, the United States,
France, and Argentina. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the early 1890s
he established a Spanish-American literary movement known as modernismo,
or modernist movement, characterized by simplified style and imagery.
Much of Darío's work, and Latin American modernism in general,
can be seen as influenced by three European movements: romanticism, Parnassianism
(see Parnassians), and the symbolist movement.
Darío's first collection of poetry, Azul (Blue), was published
in 1888 while he was living in Chile; eight years later he completed his
next important collection, Prosas profanas y otros poemas (1896; Prosas
Profanas and Other Poems, 1922), noted for its exotic imagery. Darío
returned to Europe in 1898 as a journalist and beginning in 1908 served
as Nicaragua's minister to Spain. In part as a result of Spain's defeat
by America in the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the threat of American
imperialism, Darío concerned himself with the future of Spanish
culture in Cantos de vida y esperanza (Songs of Life and Hope, 1905),
as well as the perennial problems facing humankind in El canto errante
(The Wandering Song, 1907). Poema del otoño (Poem of Autumn), written
in 1910, is often considered Darío's finest piece. The Selected
Poems of Rubén Darío (1965) is an English language collection
of his poetry.