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The University of Alicante will hold a wide range of activities to celebrate Raúl Zurita on the occassion of his appointment as Doctor Honoris Causa


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Alicante, 12 February 2015

On the occasion of the appointment of Raúl Zurita as Doctor Honoris Causa, the University of Alicante has organised a wide cultural and academic programme, similar to the activities held in 1998 as a tribute to Mario Benedetti. The celebrations will take place between 3 and 5 March in several spots in the city of Alicante. 

The award ceremony will be held on 5 March, at noon, in the Auditorium. Zurita, who the National Literature Award of Chile in 2000, is regarded as the best worldwide known Chilean poet after Pablo Neruda. For this reason, as the President of the University said during the presentation of the activities programme, "prominent Chilean figures will attend the ceremony, including the Presidents of four universities (Austral University of Chile, Federico Santa María Technical University, Diego Portales University and Viña del Mar University), Francisco Marambio, Ambassador of Chile in Spain, and Mariano Fernández, Ambassador of Chile in Germany.

The programme, entitled "Tribute to Zurita", has been organised by the Mario Benedetti Centre for Latin American Studies (CEMAB), with the collaboration of the Faculty of Arts.

During the presentation at the University building of Calle San Fernando, 40, the Director of the Mario Benedetti Centre for Latin American Studies, Eva Valero, highlighted that Zurita's collaboration with Benedetti Centre started back in 2000 and included a wide range of joint activities with the poet, who is greatly admired at the University of Alicante both from a personal and a professional point of view.

Special attention should be paid to the upcoming International Colloquium Alegoría de la desolación y la esperanza: Raúl Zurita y la poesía latinoamericana contemporánea, which will be held from 3 to 5 March at the CEMAB and at the Faculty of Arts and is organised by Latin American Literature Professors José Carlos Rovira and Carmen Alemany. This is the first time that such an international congress is held to analyse the work of Zurita, with the participation of more than 50 specialists from all over the world. José Carlos Rovira, director of the congress, stressed "how important this new line of research on the work of Zurita is, especially among younger researchers", for it will provide us with a new perspective on the poet. 

According to Rovira, Zurita "has created a poetic language of his own where nature, geography, love and the acknowledgement of the poet's most intimate side are the key elements". The congress director has also mentioned how symbolic Zurita's work is, and its great importance in Chilean historical memory, "since he was a victim of dictatorship himself". 

Participants in the colloquium will include experts from Chile, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Belgium and Perú, together with experts from several Spanish universities and eleven well-known international poets, including Chilean poet Leonel Lienlaf. A poetry reading by Lienlaf can be enjoyed on Friday 6 March at the Miguel Hernández Museum House, in Orihuela. The colloquium is sponsored by Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library and Chilean Universities Diego Portales and Viña del Mar. 

Also, the exhibition Escritura Material on Zurita's work will open to the public at the Museum of the University of Alicante (MUA) on Tuesday, 3 March, at 1:15 pm. Tuesday is also the day when the International Colloquium will begin. Exhibition commissioner Ramón Castillo describes it as a mixture of phonetics, visuals and texts that takes viewers on a trip from the subtlety of a sheet written in Braille, a dry seal on paper or an original first printed edition, to the ephemeral smoke writing on the New York sky (1982), the monumental hieroglyphic in the Atacama desert (1993) and the writing project Verás un mar de Piedras, which the poet intends to carry out in the cliffs of the North of Chile. The project also includes some of the poet's original drawings, texts on photographs of the cliffs and new photographs taken in 2014.

Documentaries Raúl Zurita: escribir en el desierto, by Colin Silly William Rowe (sponsored by Diego Portales University) and Zurita, el Purgatorio chileno, by Manuel Alcides Jofre (sponsored by Viña del Mar University) will be screened on 4 March at 7 pm in the CEMAB, also as part of the activities of the International Colloquium.

As the coda to the "Tribute to Zurita" activities, Raúl Zurita will be awarded UA's Doctor Honoris Causa Degree in the Auditorium on Thursday, 5 March, at noon. On the same day, in the afternoon, eleven poets will celebrate the Chilean poet with poetry readings in several spots in the Alicante city centre:

- Pynchon& Co bookshop (calle Poeta Quintana, 37), from 5:30 to 6:30 pm

- Alicante City University Venue (Avda. Ramón y Cajal,4), from 7 pm to 8 pm

- UA Venue in Calle San Fernando 40, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm

- The last reading will be carried out by the celebrated author himself: Raúl Zurita will read a selection of his poems at Clan Cabaret pub (calle Capitán Segarra 16) at 11 pm. 


José Carlos Rovira's statement



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