Hailing from Contepec, Michoacan, Aridjis was the president of PEN International for six years and is now president emeritus. He is also a former former Mexican Ambassador to Switzerland, The Netherlands, and, most recently, UNESCO.
Many of his forty-three books of poetry and prose have been translated into fifteen languages, and his writing has been recognized with important literary prizes in Mexico, Italy, France, the United States, and Serbia.
As founder (in 1985) and president of the Group of 100, an environmentalist association of writers, artists, and scientists, he has received awards from the United Nations (Global 500 Award), the Orion Society, Mikhail Gorbachev and Global Green USA and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Under his leadership the Group of 100 achieved protection, by official decree, for the forests where the migratory monarch butterfly overwinters. They have also achieved a permanent ban on the capture of all seven species of sea turtle in Mexico.
He has been a visiting professor at Indiana, New York, and Columbia universities and the University of California, (Irvine), where he held the Nichols Chair in Humanities and the Public Sphere.
Aridjis has contributed generously to the development of cultural institutions in Mexico. In the state of Michoacan, he founded an Institute of Culture, held an historic international poetry festival, established public libraries and founded Mexico’s first Museum of Mexican Masks. He has overseen the recovery and restoration of art, the restoration of historical buildings, and the protection and promotion of cultural heritage and diversity through traditional celebrations.
The recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships, since 1985 he has published regularly as an editorial page columnist for the principal Mexican newspapers, writing about politics, literature and the environment.
His most recent books are:
Esmirna en llamas (Fondo de Cultura Economica) – a novel
Noticias de la Tierra, (with Betty Ferber) – a collection of his writings and work on the environment (RandomHouse Mondadori)
Del cielo y sus maravillas, de la tierra y sus miserias (Fondo de Cultura Economica) – a collection of poetry
Tiempo ángeles/A Time of Angels, (Fondo de Cultura Económica and City Lights), Eyes to See Otherwise (New Directions), Solar Poems (City Lights) and 1492 The Life and Times of Juan Cabezon of Castile (University of New Mexico Press) are among books available in English.
Author approved source: www.wikipedia.com
SELF–PORTRAIT AT FIFTY–FOUR YEARS OLD
I am Homero Aridjis,
I was born in Contepec, Michoacan,
I am fifty-four,
with a wife and two daughters.
In the dining room of my house
I had my first loves:
Dickens, Cervantes, Shakespeare
and the other Homero.
One Sunday afternoon
Frankenstein came out of the town movie
house and on a stream’s bank
held out his hand to a boy, who was me.
The Prometheus pieced out of human remnants
went on his way, but since then,
out of that encounter with the monster,
the verb and the horror are mine.
Translated by George McWhirter