portrait of Blanca Varela

Blanca Varela

Blanca Varela was born in Lima, Peru, in 1926. The Mexican Nobel Laureate, Octavio Paz, praised her poetry and identified one of her gifts as knowing when to be silent if it is time not to write. It’s true that she has not published prolifically, but perhaps this could account for the dense precision of her poems: dense with meanings and precise in her choice of words. Varela’s poems often seem to be about the act of writing itself. To me, the first of the two poems we've translated, ‘Secreto de Familia’, explores precisely this. Other important aspects of her work are her use of irony; the affinity her poems have with painting; and her refusal to see herself as a 'social' poet.

Gwen MacKeith

Sadly, Blanca Varela died on 12th March, 2009.

Poems by Blanca Varela