Juan Sánchez Peláez

Photo of Juan Sánchez Peláez in Paris, France by Ednodio Quintero.

Juan Sánchez Peláez (Altagracia de Orituco, Guárico, September 25, 1922 – Caracas, November 20, 2003) was a Venezuelan poet and National Prize winner for Literature in 1975.[1]


Juan Sánchez Peláez was born in Altagracia de Orituco but his family soon moved to Caracas, where he attended primary and secondary schools. He attended university in Santiago, Chile where he befriended the poets of the surrealist group Mandrágora. He published his first poems in their magazine and it was through this encounter that his lifelong interest in surrealism began. Upon returning to Caracas, he published Elena y los elementos in 1951. Elena y los elementos had a profound effect on Venezuelan poetry, outlining a distinctly Venezuelan form of surrealism that influenced the generation of avant-garde poets who emerged in the 1960s. This book was published in a fiftieth anniversary edition by Monte Ávila Editores after he was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from the Universidad de los Andes in Mérida in 2001.[2]

He worked as a teacher in Maturín, Maracaibo and the state of Sucre. He was cultural attache to the Embassy of Venezuela in Colombia. He also lived in Paris[2] and Madrid.[2] In 1969 he was a Fellow at The University of Iowa's International Writing Program, after which he lived in New York City for two years. Sánchez Peláez was a contributor to numerous periodicals: Papel Literario (El Nacional), Zona Franca, Eco (Colombia) Revista Poesia (Valencia), Señal (Paris), Tabla Redonda, among others.

He also translated the works of American poet laureate Mark Strand from English to Spanish.[3][4]

The outstanding feature of his poetry is the tension between mysticism and eroticism.[2] Sánchez Peláez always looked at his erotic objects as distant entities, separate from the mundane through the metaphysical veil. Ludovico Silva, in his "Juan Sanchez Pelaez, The real and illusionary" states:

Juan Sánchez Peláez was the first Venezuelan poet who introduced into our poetry, consciousness of the secrecy of man in the world and his distressing certainty of being thrown into time as a foreigner, without his consent (...) His existential rebellion is a discerning attitude, a lyrical excitement, a ritual of introspection. Silent. He accepts the world but does not understand it and his flexible language, capable of expressing nuances of a visionary and deeply artistic sensibility, constitutes a renewal.[5]

Juan Sánchez Peláez in the Alta Mira neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela. Photo by Raquel Sanchez.

Juan Liscano, in his Panorama de la Literatura actual (Overview of Current Literature), 1973, states: "Sánchez Peláez through his open writing and his existential attitude created a new path in our poetry." Juan Sanchez Pelaez is the father of two daughters, Tamar Meisel[6] (medical coach) and Raquel Sanchez (artist, licensed social worker).[7][8] His former wife Ellen Lapidus Stern[9] (painter, sculptor), his daughters and his grandchildren live in Israel. He later married Malena Coelho (editor) who currently lives in Argentina.[10]


  • Elena y los elementos (English: Helen and the Elements), Caracas, Tipografía Garrido, 1951, 46 pages.
  • Animal de costumbre (English: Creature of Habit), Editorial Suma, 1959, 30 pages.
  • Filiación oscura (English: Dark Affiliation), Caracas, Editorial Arte, 1966, 41 pages.
  • Un día sea (English: May It Be One Day), Caracas, Monte Ávila Editores, 1969, 142 pages.
  • Rasgos comunes (English: Common Features), Caracas, Monte Ávila Editores, 1975, 72 pages.
  • Por cuál causa o nostalgia (English: For What Cause or Nostalgia), Caracas, Fondo Editorial Fundarte, 1981, 69 pages.
  • Aire sobre el aire (English: Air Over the Air), Caracas, Tierra de Gracia Editores, 1989, 35 pages.
  • Obra poética (English: Poetic Work), Barcelona, Editorial Lumen, 2004, 260 pages.


External linksEdit


  1. ^ Letralia (22 November 2003). "Murió el poeta venezolano Juan Sánchez Peláez". Letralia: Tierra de letras. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Montejo, Eugenio (February 2004). "Adiós a Juan Sánchez Peláez". Letras Libres. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  3. ^ "KALATHOS". kalathos.com. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  4. ^ http://andreasviklund.com, Ainslie Johnson / Original design by Andreas Viklund -. "» Juan Sánchez Peláez: El extravío del mundo en el lenguaje La ciudad literaria de Julio Ortega". blogs.brown.edu. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  5. ^ Escritura, Numero 01, Caracas, Junio 1976, pp.78
  6. ^ "About Me - Tamar Meisel Life and Medical Coaching". Tamar Meisel Life and Medical Coaching. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  7. ^ MEDIACREED.COM. "Home | Raquel Sanchez's Art". raquelsanchezart.com. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  8. ^ "Raquel Sanchez Art". facebook.com. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  9. ^ "artistlapidot". artistlapidot.com. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  10. ^ Coelho, Malena Coelho. "ME MIRAN A LA CARA - Juan Sánchez Peláez" (PDF). xn--pequeodios-x9a.cl/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/SanchezPelaez-Poesia-para-web.pdf.
  11. ^ Air On The Air. Black Square Editions. 2016-02-15. ISBN 9780989810326.