Pedro Mir

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Pedro Mir
Pedro mir.jpg
Pedro Mir
Pedro Julio Mir Valentín

3 June 1913
San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic
Died11 July 2000 (aged 87)
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Nationality Dominican
Alma mater Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo
Occupationlawyer, writer, poet
AwardsPoet Laureate (1984)

Pedro Julio Mir Valentín (3 June 1913, San Pedro de Macorís – 11 July 2000, Santo Domingo) was Dominican poet and writer, named Poet Laureate of the Dominican Republic by Congress in 1984, and a member of the generation of "Independent poets of the 1940s" in Dominican poetry.

San Pedro de Macorís Place in Dominican Republic

San Pedro de Macorís is a municipality (municipio) in the Dominican Republic and the capital of the San Pedro de Macorís province in the south-eastern region of the country; it is among the 10 largest cities of the Dominican Republic. The city has approximately 195,000 inhabitants, when including the metro area. As a provincial capital, it houses the Universidad Central del Este university.

Santo Domingo City in National District, Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo, officially Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic and the largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean by population. In 2010, its population was counted as 965,040, rising to 2,908,607 when its surrounding metropolitan area was included. The city is coterminous with the boundaries of the Distrito Nacional, itself bordered on three sides by Santo Domingo Province.

Dominican Republic Country in the Caribbean

The Dominican Republic is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of only two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two sovereign states. The Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area at 48,671 square kilometers (18,792 sq mi), and third by population with approximately 10,299,000 people, of whom approximately three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city.


His father, a Cuban mechanical engineer, migrated from Cuba to the Dominican Republic in the early years of the Twentieth Century to be hired as Chief of Engineers of the Cristóbal Colón Sugar Refinery. Soon he married a young Puerto Rican girl and had a son whom he named Pedro Julio.

Cuba Country in the Caribbean

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometers (42,800 sq mi). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometers (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

Life and career

Pedro Julio Mir spent his youth in the sugar refinery, which was located near the city of San Pedro de Macorís. His mother died prematurely, in 1917, which impressed upon him a profound sense of loss which he would later consider the root of his poetical vocation.

In the early years of the 1930s, Pedro Julio Mir started writing and publishing his poems in Dominican newspapers (under the full name "Pedro Julio Mir"), as well as showing them to his friends. One of those friends, without his consent, took some verses to Juan Bosch, a prominent Dominican writer of the time. Bosch noticed the natural poetic fiber of the young author, but dismissed the verses saying that the poet, though talented, should "turn his eyes to his country". When Mir was informed of Bosch's reaction, he decided then to write his first social poems and this time, he sent them to Bosch himself. Bosch made no immediate remark, however he had the verses published very soon in his column of the Listín Diario , the most important Dominican newspaper of the time. The verses appeared under the name Pedro Mir (for some reason Bosch chose to drop the "Julio" middle name) and what later became a prophecy: "Is this young man the social poet we’ve been long waiting for?" [1]

Juan Bosch (politician) President of the Dominican Republic

Juan Emilio Bosch Gaviño was a Dominican politician, historian, short story writer, essayist, educator, and the first democratically elected president of the Dominican Republic for a brief time in 1963. Previously, he had been the leader of the Dominican opposition in exile to the dictatorial regime of Rafael Trujillo for over 25 years. To this day he is remembered as an honest politician and regarded as one of the most prominent writers in Dominican literature. He founded both the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) in 1939 and the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) in 1973.

Listín Diario is one of the leading newspapers in the Dominican Republic, and the oldest still being published.

The next years Mir kept writing and studying, obtaining a Doctor Degree in Law from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) State University in 1941 and starting a practice in an office of the Dominican capital, Santo Domingo. However, the pressure of the Trujillo dictatorship became unbearable, especially for anybody with social concerns. His poems were putting him up against the regime, so after receiving threats and feeling his life in danger, he fled to Cuba in 1947. The exile would last sixteen years, until the regime fell in 1963. During the exile he traveled to many countries, but spent most of the time in Cuba.

See also Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino

It was while living precariously in Cuba that he wrote his famous poem "Hay un país en el mundo" (There is a country in the world). Originally published in Spanish in 1949, it has been translated to dozens of languages.

In 1952, Mir published in Guatemala his Contracanto a Walt Whitman (canto a nosotros mismos) (Countersong to Walt Whitman (Song of Ourselves)), considered one of his most accomplished works. (Its title references Whitman's "Song of Myself".) Translated to many languages, the poem has been the subject of many studies in the United States and other countries.

Song of Myself poem by Walt Whitman

"Song of Myself" is a poem by Walt Whitman (1819-1892) that is included in his work Leaves of Grass. It has been credited as "representing the core of Whitman’s poetic vision."

Mir returned to the Dominican Republic in 1963, during the democratic government of President Juan Bosch. After Bosch's government was overthrown the same year, Mir, seriously ill, traveled again for a while, though he finally settled with his family in the Dominican capital in 1968, winning the Chair of Aesthetics at the UASD.

Mir also committed himself to historical research. His essay Las raíces dominicanas de la doctrina Monroe (The Dominican Roots of the Monroe Doctrine) (1974) won the Annual History Award given by the Secretary of Education of the Dominican Republic.

In 1975, his poem El huracán Neruda (The Hurricane Neruda) also won the Annual Poetry Award given by the Secretary of Education of the Dominican Republic.

His only novel Cuando amaban las tierras comuneras (When They Loved the Communal Land) was published in Mexico in 1978 and has been highly regarded in the Dominican Republic as well as internationally.

In 1984, the Dominican Congress named him "Poet Laureate of the Dominican Republic".

In 1991, Mir traveled to New York to receive an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, honoris causa , from the Hunter College of the City University of New York.

In 1993, Mir was awarded the Dominican National Literature Award for his lifetime achievements.

Pedro Mir died peacefully on 11 July 2000 surrounded by his family, after a long pulmonary illness.

In 2017 Ediciones Cielonaranja has published his "Poesía Completa".

A metro station in Santo Domingo is named after him.

List of works

"Letras dispersas (2013)

See also

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  1. Fernandez, Leonel (2014). "Leonel Fernandez – evoking Pedro Mir". Fundacion Global.