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José Zuleta Ortiz

José Zuleta Ortiz

José Zuleta Ortiz

(Colombia, 1960)
A poet and short story writer, José Zuleta Ortiz has published five books of poetry and one short story collection, and has been awarded several poetry prizes. He is co-director of the Revista de Poesía Clave and of the review Odradek, el Cuento. He is also director of the program ‘Parole’, which operates in ten Colombian prisons.
We perceive in the poetry of José Zuleta Ortiz an exploration of the underbelly of things, the flip side of customs and etiquette, the rediscovery of external and aspects of people. Words, cleansed of the detritus of centuries of use, misuse and obsolescence, reveal in his poems their primary, intact essence. The content of his work reveals a writer who stands out as one of the original authentic poetic voices of his generation in Colombia.

His is a simple language, shunning the rhetorical and the clamorous. He writes against the tide, in a natural manner. As the poet Elkin Restrepo has said, “Thanks to a priceless gift, José Zuleta has been allowed to work his own natural magic of things, without the deception, intellectualism, and rhetorical flourishes usual among us. [He thus offers us] poems that are clear, sensual, splendid, grasping small rituals and sudden perceptions.”

The collection Emprender la noche (To seize the night) is the poet’s appeal to us to search our dreams for the purpose and truth of every act, every fact, every circumstance.

José Zuleta Ortiz, a “hunter of instants”, has a unique sensibility that brings freshness to Colombian poetics, while at the same time delving into other areas of thought, investigating the land, its people and their language. José Zuleta Ortiz presents another way of looking at things, new possibilities in a country where blindness and withdrawal from reality are our daily bread.
© Hernando Guerra Tovar (Translated by Nicolás Suescún)


Las alas del súbdito, Premio Nacional de Poesía Carlos Trejos, Gobernación de Caldas, Manizales, 2002
La línea de menta, Programa editorial Universidad del Valle, Colección Escala de Jacob, Cali, 2002
Mirar otro mar, Hombre Nuevo Editores, Colección Cántaro de Luz, Medellín, 2006
Emprender la noche (Anthology), Hombre Nuevo Editores, Bogotá, 2008
Las manos de la noche, Departamento de Literatura, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, 2009

Short stories

La sonrisa trocada, Hombre Nuevo Editores, Medellín, 2008 


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Biography, poems and a short story in Spanish 

International Poetry Festival of Medellín
Biography and poems in Spanish 

José Zuleta’s blog

Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Gefinancierd door de Europese Unie
Elise Mathilde Fonds
Stichting Verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère