Ulalume González de León

Ulalume González de León Ulalume González de León was a poet, essayist, and translator of remarkable intelligence and invention. She was born in 1932 in Montevideo, Uruguay, the daughter of Roberto Ibáñez and Sara de Ibáñez. Her parents gave her the incantatory name Ulalume, inspired by the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe and the musical names of African-Caribbean ocean deities. At an early age, she was introduced to many poets and intellectuals who were guests in her parents’ home, among them Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, Gabriela Mistral, and Juan Ramón Jiménez. She studied at a French lycée, and, by the time she was fifteen, had earned a government scholarship to study literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, finishing her studies at the University of Mexico. In the 1960’s and 70’s in Latin America, she was an inspirational leader of a generation of women writers experimenting with language and challenging the traditional identities of women, marriage, and relationships. She published essays, stories, and poems, and worked on the editorial boards of the journals Plural and Vuelta, under the direction of Octavio Paz. She also translated the work of Elizabeth Bishop, Ted Hughes, Lewis Carroll, and e.e. cummings.