Manuel Maples Arce

John Dos Passos Biblioteca Nacional de España Arqueles Vela

Manuel Maples Arce (May 1, 1900 - June 26, 1981) was a Mexican poet, writer, art critic, lawyer and diplomat, especially known as the founder of the Stridentism movement.

The leader of the first Mexican avant-garde movement

After the first Stridentist manifesto, Comprimido estridentista, launched in 1921 in the n°1 of the broadsheet Actual, he published in 1922 his first avant-gardist book of poetry, Andamios interiores (Poemas radiograficos), that Jorge Luis Borges criticized the same year; in 1924, Urbe (Super-poema bolchevique en 5 cantos), which English version, made by John Dos Passos, was publisheded in 1929 in New York (this edition is perhaps the first poetry book of a Mexican, and the first of the Spanish language avant-garde, translated into English); in 1927, Poemas interdictos, his ultimate book of poetry for a long time, until the last one, Memorial de la sangre published in 1947.

During his stridentist period (from 1921 to 1927, first in Mexico City, then in Xalapa), he was responsible for the magazines Actual (3 issues in 1921 and 1922) and Irradiador (3 issues in 1923), followed by Horizonte (1926-1927) directed by his colleague German List Arzubide.

Around Maples Arce, poets such as German List Arzubide, Salvador Gallardo and Kyn Taniya (Luis Quintanilla's pen name), novelists such as Arqueles Vela, and artists such as Fermin Revueltas, the French native Jean Charlot, German Cueto, Leopoldo Méndez, Ramon Alva de la Canal, among others, can be referred to as the most important members of the Stridentist movement, which maintained good relations with the Mexican Muralism of Diego Rivera.

Maples Arce served as an ambassador to Norway in the 1960s.[1]


After the scandalous life of the Stridentist group, for a long time Maples Arce was relatively despised by Mexican criticism as a poet, and very few specialists were interested in the study of Stridentist art and literature, which are now better known.

So it was an almost completely forgotten writer that the young Roberto Bolaño interviewed in 1976. He is referred to as a former avant-gardist poet in Bolaño's novel Los detectives salvajes (1998), in which he appears as a character.


Spanish editions



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Critical references