The Spanish Riveter: A Snapshot of Poetry in Spain by Lawrence Schimel

It is far easier to introduce and review Spanish poetry already published in English translation, as my colleague Anna Blasiak is doing, than to try and cover everything not yet in English translation produced by a country with long histories and vibrant poetry scenes in multiple languages – and especially to do so in just a few pages. This impossible (or at least Herculean) task is further compounded by my own limitations – both in terms of which of the languages of Spain I can read and otherwise keep up with, and also in terms of which poets or books are actually available in translation (or whose publication is in the works) without my being aware of them.

So, rather than pretending to be comprehensive, I will instead provide a run-down of poetry anthologies, recent poetry awards, and finally poetry publishers – aiming for highlights that might make interesting points of discovery for those looking to explore more.


• La cuarta persona del plural, edited by Vicente Luis Mora (Vaso Roto) collects the work of twenty-two Spanish poets born between 1960 and 1980, covering a broad array of aesthetics and styles.

• Sombras di-versas, edited by Amalia Iglesias Serna (Vaso Roto) collects the work of eighteen contemporary Spanish women poets born between 1970 and 1991.

• 13, antología da poesía gallega próxima, edited by María Xesús Nogueira Pereira (Chán de Pólvora/Papeles Mínimos) is a bilingual Galician/Castilian anthology of new voices in Galician poetry.

• For Basque, one might look to the online anthology (available in Basque with translations into various languages, including English):

• The majority of recent anthologies of Catalan poetry have been thematic (a volume of women poets writing about trees, for instance), rather than overviews like the above-mentioned. But of particular note is Amors sense casa, edited by Sebastià Portell i Clar (Angle Editorial), an anthology of Catalan LGBTQ poetry.

• Campo de plumas, edited by Jesús Castro Yáñez (Sushi Books) is an anthology of LGBTQ poetry in Galician from antiquity to today, from Sappho to Mary Jean Chan, although the majority of the poets are in translation.


• The National Poetry Prize, awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture, has been won by women poets over the past five years: Aurora Luque in 2022 for Un número finito de veranos (Castilian), Miren Agur Meabe in 2021 for Nola gorde erratusak kolkoan (Basque), Olga Novo in 2020 for Feliz Idade (Galician), Pilar Pallarès in 2019 for Tempo fósil(Castilian), and Antònia Vicens in 2018 for Tots els cavalls (Catalan).

• Ismael Ramos won the Miguel Hernández National Prize for Young Poets for his work Lixeiro (Galician).

• The Premio Adonáis, founded in 1943, for poets under thirty-five, was won in 2022 by Luis Escavy, with Lola Tórtola and Irene Domínguez as the runners-up. In 2021 the winner was Nuria Ortega Riba, with Andrés María García Cuevas and Félix Moyano Casiano as the runners-up.

• Non-binary poet Ángelo Néstore (who long-time readers might remember from The Queer Riveter) won the fifth Espasa Poetry Prize for their collection Deseo de ser árbol (Castillian).


The veteran houses, such as Visor, Hiperión, Pre-Textos and Tusquets, continue to publish regularly, even if usually only prize-winners (often subsidised by an external funder) or established poets, especially volumes of their selected or collected poems. There are also established mid-sized houses, such as Renacimiento, Valparaíso, La Bella Varsovia, Huerga y Fierro and Isla de Siltolá, with active poetry catalogues of new volumes by new and mid-list voices.

Vaso Roto is one of these mid-sized publishing projects, founded in 2005 in Barcelona, although now based in Madrid, with a strong catalogue of poetry written in Spanish (from Spain as well as Latin America) as well as works in translation (Anne Carson, Elizabeth Bishop, Charles Simic, etc.). Their Spanish poets include Julieta Varela, Clara Janés, Chantal Maillard, and María Ángeles Pérez López, who is included in this magazine.

Performance poetry is the bailiwick of Ya lo dijo Casimiro Parker and sister publishing house Harpo Libros, and also of Arrebato Libros, which in addition to publishing is also a bookstore and organises an annual poetry festival, Poetas, which is part of the Versopolis European Poetry Festival platform.

Letraversal is a young project, headed by the poets Ángelo Néstore and María Eloy-García, with a strong focus on marginalised (queer, racialised, etc.) and experimental voices, primarily in Spanish, although with a few recent translations of work by poets like Billy-Ray Belcourt, Matilda Södergran and Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto. Their Spanish poets include Paloma Chen, Cristian Alcaraz and Elizabeth Duval.

Bala Perdida publishes poetry, fiction and essays. They publish both anthologies (including an annual series of poets from across the Mediterranean) and individual collections from a mix of new voices, like Be Gómez, to established poets, like Esther Ramón or José Manuel Lucía Megías, as well as an Iraqi poet writing in Castilian, Abdul Hadi Sadoun, included here.

Sonámbulos is another newish house, based in Granada, devoted to works of poetry and art/photography. Their Spanish poets include Javier Bozalongo, Rosa Ortega Sánchez, and Dalia Alonso.

Torremozas is a publishing house founded in 1982 devoted to women writers, now with over a thousand titles published, the vast majority of which are poetry (or prose by/related to women poets).

EME (Escritura de Mujeres en Español) is a more-recent imprint, founded in 2019 and edited by the poet Nuria Ruiz de Viñaspre, which publishes women poets.

Most of the Galician imprints of the major commercial publishers, like Galaxia and Xerais, have poetry collections. Independent Espiral Maior, founded in 1991, is not exclusively devoted to poetry but is best-known for its poetry collections and publishes many of the prize-winners of various poetry competitions sponsored by Galician associations or town councils. 

Positivas, founded thirty-three years ago, is another well-established independent, whose imprint Di-Versos offers a strong catalogue of Galician poets (Suso Díaz, María Reimóndez, Paula Carballeira) and international poets in Galician translation (Wisława Szymborska, Walt Whitman).

Chan de Pólvora is a young Galician publisher founded in 2016, publishing poets like veterans María do Cebreiro and Fran Alonso, as well as new voices. 

I believe Asturian, Basque and Catalan publishing are being covered in greater depth elsewhere within this issue, so I’ll just briefly mention a few Catalan publishers (large and small) with poetry lists: Proa, 3 i 4, Quaderns Crema, Eumo, Viena, Labreu, Grup62, Godall/Cadup, SD Edicions, Bromera and Cossetania. 

Lawrence Schimel

Read The Spanish Riveter here or order your paper copy from here.

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