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Reading: Gladys M. Ilarregui and the Post-Modern Poetics of Transparency


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Gladys M. Ilarregui and the Post-Modern Poetics of Transparency


Judy B. McInnis

University of Delaware
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Born in Argentina in 1958, Gladys M. Ilarregui emigrated with her husband to the United States in 1983. She was educated both in Argentina where she studied German and primary education and in the United States where she received her M.A. from George Mason University in Contemporary Latin American Literature and her Ph.D. in 1995 from Catholic University with a major in Colonial Literature and Historiography. As a Post Modern poet Ilarregui draws on both European and American traditions in her poetics; she alludes most often to Hispanic and Anglo sources. Gertrude Stein and T.S. Eliot figure along with Gabriela Mistral, Juan Ramón Jiménez, and Pablo Neruda among Ilarregui’s poetic ancestors. Well-versed in European literature, she also incorporates allusions to Heinrich Böll and such other European authors as René Char, Italo Calvino, and Tomas Tranströmer. English and German phrases sometimes appear in her poetry. The American landscape from Alaska to Argentina engages her imagination. She finds material as readily in a twelfth-century German monastery as in a New Mexican Indian reservation. To illustrate the Post Modern ethos of her poetry, I shall analyze two of her most important poems: both bear the title of “Transparencias.” The first is from Oficios y personas and the second from Guía para perplejos; the two books were published in a single volume in 1996. Both might be called “metapoems” for they treat the subject of writing poetry. In her description of this process Ilarregui occupies a position midway between Neruda and Jiménez. She is closer to Neruda in the description of the creative process, but closer to Jiménez in the tranquil assurance of its accomplishment. In the piercing intensity of her poetic epiphany, Ilarregui is the direct descendant, albeit a secular one, of Santa Teresa de Jesús and Gabriela Mistral. The texts of Ilarregui’s two poems as well as Neruda’s “Arte poética” and Jiménez’s “Seré yo solo” are reproduced at the conclusion of this essay. Before I undertake analysis of the poems, I shall diverge to define the term Post Modernism as I use it in relation to Ilarregui’s poetry.

How to Cite: McInnis, J.B., (2007). Gladys M. Ilarregui and the Post-Modern Poetics of Transparency. Middle Atlantic Review of Latin American Studies. 12(1), pp.83–96. DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 2007.
Peer Reviewed


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