SANTIAGO DE CHILE – Chilean writer Alfonso Calderon Squadritto, 1998 National Prize for Literature winner, died Saturday of a heart attack, according to the local press. He was 78.
A vigil for the remains of the critic and journalist, a member of the Chilean Academy of the Language since 1981, was to be held at Diego Portales University in Santiago beginning Saturday afternoon. His cremation will take place on Monday.
Calderon, father of the poet Teresa Calderon, worked as deputy director of the National Library in the mid-1990s, was editor of Mapocho magazine and a critic for the magazines Ercilla, Hoy and Apsi.
Born in 1930 in San Fernando, 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of Santiago, Calderon always kept to his custom of writing a diary, which he turned into a series of books, the first entitled “La Valija de Rimbaud” (Rimbaud’s Suitcase).
Among his best-known works are his books of poetry “Primer Consejo a los Arcangeles del Viento” (First Advice to the Archangels of the Wind) in 1949, “El Pais Jubiloso” (Jubilant Country) in 1958, “Isla de los Bienaventurados” (Island of the Blessed) in 1973 and “Poemas para Clavecin” (Poems for Harpsichord) in 1978, as well as the novel “Toca esa Rumba Don Azpiazu” (Play that Rumba, Don Azpiazu) in 1970.
Author of several anthologies, Calderon also developed a extensive work of memoirs gathered in volumes like “Memorial de Valparaiso” (Memories of Valparaiso) in 1968, “Memorial del Viejo Santiago” (Memories of Old Santiago) in 1984, “Imagenes Costumbristas” (Images of Local Customs) in 1984, “Cuando Chile Cumplio 100 Años” (When Chile Turned 100) in 1973 and “Una Invisible Comparsa” (An Invisible Observer) in 1988.