He won the National Prize for Literature in 1974 and, as an independent, closed the list of Vox por Sevilla to the Congress of Deputies.
Aquilino Duque died this Saturday in Seville at the age of 90. He dedicated his long life to literature, in which he shone as a poet, essayist, novelist, memorialist, columnist, and translator, despite the fact that recognition was stolen from him not infrequently for his political positions.
The Minister of Culture and Historical Heritage, Patricia del Pozo, has lamented the death of the Sevillian poet and writer Aquilino Duque at the age of 90. “The letters and the culture are mourning the loss of Aquilino Duque, one of the references of the poetry of our time “, has indicated the counselor.
Born in Seville on January 6, 1931, Aquilino Duque Gimeno lived his childhood and adolescence in Zufre and Higuera de la Sierra, in the province of Huelva. He graduated in Law from the University of Seville, and then he expanded his studies in the United Kingdom, at Trinity Hall in Cambridge, and in the USA, in Dallas. During his literary career, he won awards such as the Washington Irving for short stories, the Leopoldo Panero, and the Fastenrath for poetry, in addition to the National Literature Prize for his novel El mono Azul . Likewise, it was part of the Real Academia Sevillana de Buenas Letras .
The also poet Enrique García-Máiquez not a week ago, when recalling in a press article that Duque belongs to the Generation of 50, he said:
“It is impressive to see the Prince of Asturias Awards for Letters or Cervantes Awards that have been distributed among the members of his generation: Caballero Bonald, Claudio Rodríguez, Francisco Umbral, Carmen Martín Gaite, Ana María Matute, Francisco Nieva, Marsé, Goytisolo, Brines, Valente, Gamoneda … and I quote those that I know by heart. How is it possible that being a more brilliant, funnier, more cultured, and wise Duke, a better writer, and a higher poet than most of them, none of them won? ”
Translator from Osip Mandelstam’s Russian, Aquilino Duque, worked as an international civil servant because he spoke with several languages: German, French, English, Italian and Portuguese – he translated “Os Lusiadas” in the seventies.
Precisely one of his latest publications has been his translation of the poem “Requiem”, by Anna Ajmatova, in an exquisite edition sewn with blue thread from the publishing house Los Papeles del Sitio, an independent publisher, a qualifier that perhaps should be used with its own Duque if only one had to define it – as an independent he closed the Vox list for Seville to the Congress of Deputies.
In the same editorial he had published these days “My holy Russia”, a set of texts about that country, its culture and its writers, and the collection of poems “Fires and games” (Renaissance).
Proof of the calm with which he took things and the reservations that the cultural and publishing world had with him is that his first novel, “Palos de Ciego” (Renaissance), which he wrote in the United States when he was 25 years old, is not posted up to five years ago.
Duque could be the opposite of a typical ecologist but he lived in an isolated house in the countryside, heated himself with firewood, cultivated a garden for pleasure, and was the author of a “Natural Guide to Andalusia” and the pioneering “The myth of Doñana” A national park where he could wander in his tweed jacket and woolen tie as if elegance were another attribute of his nature.
Despite his political positions -very critical of the state of the autonomies and the defects of the democratic system-, he always maintained a friendship with the poet Rafael Alberti, in whom he recognized “the only poetic prodigy” he had ever known.
In one of his last articles in the press, Duque confessed astonished that someone could break a friendship due to ideological differences, which shows his liberal character no matter how much the friends of the labels insisted on placing him at any extreme of the right.
With his book “Extravagant Chronicles” he starred in a national controversy in 1996 because it was published by the University of Seville and contained statements such as that “democracy is the religion of a world without religion, which is to say that it is a false religion “.
As a poet, he had his roots well sunk in tradition and his “Incomplete Poetry”, which groups it completely together in a Pre-Texts edition, is proof that he has left school, as the poets of later generations who claim to be disciples also attest. his.