Jorge Enrique Adoum

On the 3rd of July 2009, the news that Jorge Enrique Adoum had passed away rocked the people of Ecuador. He was not only a Politian and Diplomat, but hailed as one of the best poets in the history of Ecuador. His work has inspired many and his words have left a legacy of a full and colorful life. His passing has left many citizens of Ecuador at a loss and his absence will most definitely be felt in literary circles. Jorge Enrique Adoum carved his name into the history of the country and will always be fondly remembered.

Born in Ambato, Ecuador, on 29 June 1926, this magnificent writer and poet took the literary world of the country and international community by storm. His privileged life included being the personal secretary of Pablo Neruda, another respected poet in Ecuador, at the tender age of nineteen. His published poetry and novels are not only available to Latin American communities, but to the world, as all his work was translated into English.

Some of the awards won by Jorge Enrique Adoum include the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize, the Eugenio Espejo Prize (National Prize of Culture in Ecuador) and a Cervantes Prize nomination. Some of his most famous works are the Story of the Foreigner (1953), Between Marx and a Woman Undresses (1979), The Fleeting Loves (1997), Bitter Ecuador (1949), City without Angel (1995) and Notes of the Prodigal Son (1953). Adoum also translated many famous works to Spanish, which included well known authors such as Lanston Hughes, T.S. Elliot, Seamus Heaney and Yannis Ritsos. One of the most unusual collaborations in the career of Jorge Enrique Adoum, was between painter Jaime Valencia and fellow writers, Hugo Aleman and Jorge Carrera. The work is called The Mud Vessel and was interpreted into an audio and visual display, which to many Ecuadorians, is the cultural anthem of the country, and so fittingly ends in: “I was born from you and I return to you; clay vessel of mud; with my death I return to you; in love to your dust.” The legacy of Jorge Enrique Adoum will live on in the hearts of every Ecuadorian and in the pages of his work.