Ultraísmo By Vanderbosch, Dagmar
Ultraísmo is an early twentieth-century art movement which developed in Spain around 1920 and was introduced to Argentina by Jorge Luis Borges in 1921. It was strongly influenced by European avant-garde movements, particularly Cubism and Dadaism, and by the Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro’s Creationism. The poets of Ultraísmo rejected the fin de siècle aesthetics of Spanish and Spanish-American modernism and experimented with the graphic and acoustic dimensions of poetry, emphasising rhythm over rhyme.
The origins of Ultraísmo go back to late 1918, when Vicente Huidobro visited Madrid for a short period, and Rafael Cansinos Assens, host of a literary circle in the Café Colonial, wrote the first Ultraist Manifesto, published in the magazine Grecia in January 1919 (Videla 1963: p. 27). Other founding texts of the movement are El movimiento ultraísta español and Manifiesto Vertical, both written by Guillermo de Torre in 1920. The movement of Ultraísmo was oriented both toward Europe and Spanish America. Ultraísmo adopted ideas from different European avant-garde movements in an effort to reduce the cultural distance between Spain and the rest of Europe, rather than develop an original programme. Their poetry gives importance to images and metaphors, experiments with typography and calligrams, rejects punctuation and often rhyme, and focuses on poetic rhythm. Ultraísmo developed in Spanish America when Jorge Luis Borges, who had spent several years in Spain and had published poems in Ultraist magazines, introduced the movement in the literary circles of Buenos Aires upon his return to Argentina in 1921.