Poetry Corner: Masses by César Vallejo

César Abraham Vallejo Mendoza was a Peruvian poet, writer, playwright, and journalist. Born the 11th child to parents who were both of mixed Spanish and Quechua Native origins, Vallejo as a child witnessed at first hand hunger and poverty and the injustices done to the indigenous peoples of the region.

Vallejo attended the University of Trujillo, where he studied both law and literature, writing a thesis entitled El romanticismo en la poesía castellana (“Romanticism in Castilian Poetry”; published 1954).

Although he published only three books of poetry during his lifetime, he is considered one of the great poetic innovators of the 20th century in any language. He was always a step ahead of literary currents, and each of his books was distinct from the others, and, in its own sense, revolutionary.