Here Was Born Luis Cardoza y Aragón

Plaque at Luis Cardoza y Aragón's House in La Antigua

And in front of the door that I hadn’t crossed in so many years,
I remembered the small key, short and round, and how to turn it to open; the tiny hand of the door knocker, the mail box, the wood, the cord to open the door without knocking. At the end of the street, the perfect triangle of Volcán de Agua, enormous, serene and blue. —Luis Cardoza y Aragón

Luis Cardoza y Aragón was born in La Antigua Guatemala in June 21st, 1901. He was one of the best writers of Latin America and the World. He’s considered to be as good as Miguel Ángel Asturias (1967 Nobel Prize in literature) if not better. He is quite possibly the greatest mind of the last century born in La Antigua Guatemala. He was a brilliant essayist, novelist and poet. His essays in art rival those written by Octavio Paz, and some considered them better. He’s even listed as a philosopher by some professors. Luis Cardoza y Aragón bibliography is quite extensive (browse it if you want to get an overall idea of his works). You can also browse the page dedicated to him in the website and read some of his poems and works, if you can understand Spanish.

So, how come I only show you a plaque pointing to Luis Cardoza y Aragón’s birthplace and home in La Antigua Guatemala. Why don’t I go and photograph the monument, or park, or building named after him? After all, it doesn’t take much to get a road name after a person like Walter Williams who got a monument and road named after him just because he was present at the moment they inaugurated the road.

To commemorate and to honor Luis Cardoza y Aragón as one of the brightest minds of La Antigua Guatemala there are only two pieces: today’s plaque placed in the façade of his former house by his own family and another plaque in the Colegio Santo Tomás building which was posted here as Why do We Love Our Land?! For sure, La Antigua Guatemala is malinchista and ungrateful.

I leave you with another fragment of one his poems about Guatemala:

We don’t love our land because of its great size and power,
because of its weakness or tiny size,
because of its snow and white nights or its solar rain,
We love it, simply because is ours.
— Luis Cardoza y Aragón

Translation side note: Please forgive the rough translations which I do on the fly and very freely and to the best of my abilities. For sure, a better translation exists or if one of you can do a better job, please leave that in the comments. Thanks.

© 2007 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • that is a nice poem and now i am going to search and read about this person. needless to say i have never heard of him but i think i have read about the other fellow and read some of his works.
    the one i read
    no matter who wrote it was about his family and how they lived thro’ a great eart quake. very good book.

  • I beg to differ Rudy. Gabriel García Márquez is the best writer in Latin America.

  • Gracias Rudy por recordar al Maestro.

    Saludos secos y calurosos hasta la empedrada y humeda Antigua Guatemala.

  • ale

    thanks man, I enjoy reading Cardoza’s, you saw the post to my “viejita”.
    thanks again.

  • An interesting narrative and nice photo.

    I am back from my self-imposed vacation.

    Abraham Lincoln
    Brookville Daily Photo

  • I like this image a lot. Interesting to read about it too.

    Hope you’ll take a moment to visit my photo blog: here.

  • Patsy, I am sorry to throw all those unknown names up in the air.

    Scott, welcome back. I thought I had scared you away. I forgot to mention I really enjoy your challenges. Now, I never said he was the best Latin American writer, although I am glad you brought it up. He could easily be. But, best is such a word that depends on the likes and dislikes of the reader. I could state that Borges is the best Latin American writer, and then many people would come forward and tell me I am wrong because indeed Cortazar is the best, or Neruda, or Octavio Paz, or Asturias, or Monterroso… and on and on. For sure, we are blessed to have so many fabulous pens and the most Nobel-prize winners in literature.

    You know the only way to live more than once is through literature, so it is understandable that we like to live many lives through our awesome writers. We have to! 🙁

    Edgar, de nada. Es un placer. Pues vieras que no ha llovido tanto.

    Ale, sí mano, ese poema que le dedico a su viejecita es genial. Hasta me saco una lagrima de cocodrilo.

    Abe, thanks for regular visits. I’m sorry I haven’t got the chance to stop by all your latest work. I promise I will do so this weekend.

    Pepd, well it is not a very interesting image, except for a few Guatemalans who care about Cardoza y Aragón. Thanks for the visit and comment. I will check your site up as soon as I get a chance.

  • Coltrane_lives

    I enjoy the short stories of Octavio Paz, but now I’m curious about Luis Cardoza y Aragon. I appreciate your efforts in sharing this literary artist’s bio and look to reading some of his works. Reace and a good weekend to you.

  • Coltrane_lives

    “Peace” not “Reace”…Argh!

  • Antonio Palomo

    quizas se deba agregar. humildemente, que la placa fue hecha y donada por mi y la alfareria el Angel, a peticion del Piky Diaz, director del centro cultural universitario, Colegio Santo Tomas.
    solo para que no se crea que solo la familia recuerda al maestro.

  • Scott


    I certainly wouldn’t leave just because of a little controversy. I, like patsy poor, like controversy and debate (as long as it isn’t personal). I also like your web page too much to leave. I thoroughly enjoy your photos and reading your narratives.

    You are truly a good photographer and I thank you for all that you do to keep your website Irresistible to visit.

    – Scott

  • Antonio, muchas gracias por la información adicional.

    Scott, thanks for all your wonderful feedback. This site is as much yours as it is mine. It is an open forum to exchange points of views and interests for things about Guatemala. Everyone’s feedback and comments are always welcome, so long we respect each other.

  • Manolo

    Pues Luis Cardoza y Aragón is the best poet, period. This notable Antigueño was a citizen of the world. However he was stubornly (if the word exists and is a proper translation of tercamente) Guatemalteco, as he says in the poem SIEMPRE dedicated to M.A. Asturias…
    He vivido casi toda mi vida lejos de mis cielos.
    Pero mis pies están marcados en los códices,
    en la voz profunda de mi pueblo.

    Roughly… “I have lived almost all my life away from my skies.// But my feet are marked by the codices, //in the deep voice of my people”.

  • Hello

    Great book. I just want to say what a fantastic thing you are doing! Good luck!


  • pablo

    “La poesia es la unica prueba de la existencia del hombre”
    Yo considero la versatilidad, riqueza y profundidad de Luis Cardoza y Aragon, suficiente para junto con Cesar Vallejo nombrarlos los mejores escritores de Latinoamerica. He estudiado extensa e intensamente sus obras y las obras de los otros grandes. Me alegra ver que al menos hay un blog sobre el tema. Cuando residia en Guatemala en los noventas a penas empezaban a aparecer los libros de Cardoza, estaban censurados antes de los acuerdos de paz, y fue muy interesante exponer su obra a los “guacamayos polares” de la intelectualidad guatemalteca en guatemala, lo rechazaban totalmente.