Letter from David Escobar Galindo to López Vallecillos, 27 August 1973

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Letter from David Escobar Galindo to López Vallecillos, 27 August 1973


Born in 1943, David Escobar Galindo began publishing poems in his twenties and soon became one of El Salvador's most recognizable poetic voices. While others experimented with radical forms and unconventional subject matter, Escobar Galindo stuck to a more traditional, lyrical style that many critics saw as out of step with Central America's rapidly changing cultural and political tastes. He and López Vallecillos, who at the time of this letter was living in exile in Costa Rica, corresponded often about publications and literary opinions.

In this letter, Escobar Galindo complains bitterly that, as a writer of a more conservative tone and inherited wealth, he has been attacked and excluded by revolutionary poets and critics. The letter attests to the sharp crosscurrents in El Salvador's 1970s cultural milieu that both reflected and catalyzed political divisions between right and left.

Escobar Galindo later served as a government negotiator in the 1992 peace agreement that ended El Salvador's long civil war. He remains a prolific poet, political commentator, and cultural figure to this day.


David Escobar Galindo


López Vallecillos Family Archive


27 August 1973






Personal letter

Text Item Type Metadata



Last Saturday I sent you, via TACA, 75 copies of my book. Thank you for your constant demonstrations of friendship. I have continued to receive, from overseas, favorable opinions about this work, all of them published, of course.

I picked up a few copies of UNA GRIETA EN EL AGUA [A Crack in the Water, one of Escobar Galindo's poetry books]. What you told me about the judgments of certain people was not news to me. You know that I have no standing among left-wing circles, on the contrary. They consider me reactionary, ivory-tower, that I look like a gringo, and that, to top it off, I'm rich. Except for the third one of those accusations, the rest are totally gratuitous. I know you can never win in a fight against people's prejudices and grudges, and I also know that the only thing that saves a writer is his work. To refuse to follow certain dictates these days means to be marginalized by those who, with an enormous inquisitorial finger, decide what is modern, advanced, useful, and honest. I am absolutely convinced that we need drastic changes in our [Central American] societies, but I am also convinced that those least able to carry them out are those who spend their lives obsessed with illusory power that will compensate them for all their "sufferings." I know that you, with your characteristic clarity and integrity, share to a great degree my views.

You offered me a list of writers but you did not enclose it. Sorry to be such a pain.

Best wishes to Silvia and to the poets who are my friends. A warm embrace from

David Escobar Galindo


Escobar Galindo to ILV.pdf



David Escobar Galindo, “Letter from David Escobar Galindo to López Vallecillos, 27 August 1973,” Italo López Vallecillos, Editor to the Revolution, accessed June 15, 2024, https://rogeratwood.georgetown.domains/items/show/10.

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