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Ruiz-Pérez earns prestigious international award for poetry

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: awards, faculty, humanities, liberal arts

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A book of poetry by Ignacio Ruiz-Pérez, a UT Arlington associate professor of Spanish, has claimed a highly coveted international award.

Ignacio Ruiz-Pérez

“Notas manuscripts llenas de incógnitas,” or “Manuscript Notes Full of Questions,” won the Ninth Annual Luis Cardoza y Aragón Poetry Prize, an award sponsored by the Mexican Embassy in Guatemala, the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture and Fondo de Cultura Económica, a major Mexican publishing house.

“This prize celebrates one of the most important writers in Spanish-language literature, so it’s an immense honor to receive it,” said Ruiz-Pérez, who joined the UT Arlington Department of Modern Languages in 2005. “This very unexpected honor also reinforces my commitment to literature.”

Beth Wright, dean of the UT Arlington College of Liberal Arts, said the honor is well deserved and illustrates the international recognition University faculty have garnered in the arts and humanities.

“Dr. Ruiz-Pérez’s many international prizes for his poetry demonstrate the significance of his creative contribution to his field of scholarship, in which he is internationally respected.” Wright said. “We are fortunate to call him one of our own, and his insights into Mexican and Spanish literature help us to better understand the complexities of different cultures.”

The contest is open to poets from Mexico and all of Central America. Work is submitted anonymously, and a jury selects a winner. The winning work is published through Editorial Cultura, a Guatemalan publisher. Fondo de Cultura Económica, which distributes books throughout Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, is also a contest sponsor.

Ruiz-Pérez said the award is particularly surprising because “Notas manuscripts llenas de incógnitas” is a compilation of “B-sides” of his work: poems and fragments he decided not to include in a different book he is writing and in another that is due later this year. The format and numerous topics formed a unique product, he said, one with a particular unity coming from its fragmented condition. 

In a section of the book titled Revelations, he writes:

“God has come and did not tell me his name/ but I knew that it was he who went down to illuminate/ the darkness of my room.

God told me anything and everything you said in my ear/ I heard nothing but He spoke softly and said yes/ nonexistent and leaves of the poplars shivered in the night.

Then God revealed to me the secrets of the clouds, the murmur of rivers/ vocal sources and passages of old houses/ inhabited dwarf angels."

Ruiz-Pérez said the book is conceived from readings, reflections on literature, life and existence, in general.

In addition to his scholarly work in the field of Mexican literature, Ruiz-Pérez is a critically acclaimed poet in Mexico. There, he has won numerous national and regional poetry prizes, such as the José Gorostiza Poetry Prize (2004), the Rodulfo Figueroa Regional Poetry Prize (2005), the Salvador Gallardo Dávalos National Prize for Young Poets (2006). Such prizes have helped him publish three books of poetry in Mexico, with two more to be published by the Instituto Mexiquense de Cultura (Mexico) later this year.

The Ninth Annual Luis Cardoza y Aragón Poetry Prize will be officially awarded during a Jan. 30 ceremony at the Mexican Embassy in Guatemala.

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