The renowned Peruvian poet Enrique Verastegui Pelaez has died at the age of 68, prompting his fellow luminaries in Latin American literature to mourn his passing.
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Verastegui was best known for his poetry, but he also produced remarkable incursions in narrative, essays, theater, mathematics, painting and critique. He is considered one of the finest contemporary poets in Latin America.
He died on the same day as one of his fellow Peruvian authors, Marco Aurelio Denegri.
"Today the poet Enrique Verastegui passed away. Two regrettable losses in the same day."
Verastegui was born in Lima on April 24, 1950, but grew up in the nearby city of Cañete before returning to the capital for his university studies in 1969.
Still young, he founded the ‘Hora Zero’ (Zero Hour) literary movement along with poets Enriqueta Belevan, Carmen Olle, Jorge Pimentel, Juan Ramirez Ruiz and Jorge Najar. The Hora Zero was a rebel literary movement, critical of the increasingly bourgeois Peruvian intellectuals and government-sponsored authors and artists.
He published his first poetry book, ‘En Los Extramuros Del Mundo’ (In The Outside Walls Of The World), when he was only 21. It became the most representative creation of the Hora Zero and has left a permanent mark on Peruvian and Latin American literature.
The book was written between the streets of Peru and San Marcos University’s Economics Faculty, as Verastegui himself used to say. It was then given to editor Carlos Milla Bartres, who wrote a memorable foreword to it.
"From the intellectual protest of manifests and aggressive pamphlets against the commodification in congresses, Verastegui has crossed to the creative insurrection, as testified by this valuable revolutionary book of a peculiar vitality due its original contribution to Peruvian and Latin American poetry," wrote Milla Bartres at the time.
Verastegui received numerous literary, culture and academic awards during his life. He passed away in the Edgardo Rebagliati Hospital in Lima following a heart attack on June 27, 2018.