House of the Poet López Velarde, Mexico City, Mexico

The Museum of the House of the Poet Ramón López Velarde is located in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, Mexico. The museum is named after the Zacatecan poet Ramón López Velarde who lived in that house for the last 3 years of his life.

This museum meets the objectives of social interest of the foundation that manages it: to host the Museum of the House of the Poet Ramón López Velarde, who inhabited it from 1918 until his death on June 19, 1921, and protects the Efraín Huerta libraries (5,154 volumes) and Salvador Novo (6,200 volumes), in addition to being a meeting place for poets and writers in order to promote culture through the dissemination of literature, visual and performing arts.

The building has the poet’s museum house, two libraries dedicated to the poets Efrain Huerta and Salvador Novo, a multipurpose room with capacity for 80 people, a café-bar called “Las Hormigas” with a capacity of 10 tables for 50 people, a unit of seminars and workshops with capacity for 40 people, and a gallery.

Ramón López Velarde (June 15, 1888 – June 19, 1921) was a Mexican poet. His work was a reaction against French-influenced modernismo which, as an expression of a purely Mexican subject matter and emotional experience, is unique. He achieved great fame in his native land, to the point of being considered Mexico’s national poet.

López Velarde was given great honors, and held up as the national poet. His work, especially “La suave patria”, was presented as the ultimate expression of post-revolutionary Mexican culture. This official appropriation did not preclude others from championing his work. The poets known as the Contemporáneos saw Velarde, together with Tablada, as the beginning of modern Mexican poetry. Xavier Villaurrutia, in particular, insisted on the centrality of Velarde in the history of Mexican poetry, and compared him to Charles Baudelaire.

The first complete study of Velarde was made by American author Allen W. Phillips in 1961. This formed the basis for a subsequent study by Octavio Paz, included in his book Cuadrivio (1963), in which he argued the modernity of López Velarde, comparing him to Jules Laforgue, Leopoldo Lugones and Julio Herrera.

Other critics, such as Gabriel Zaid, centered their analysis on Velarde’s formative years and his strong Catholicism. On 1989, on Velarde’s one hundredth birthday, Mexican author Guillermo Sheridan published a new biography of the poet, titled Un corazón adicto: la vida de Ramón López Velarde, which remains the most complete biography of Velarde to date.

Velarde’s oeuvre marks a moment of transition between modernism and the avant-garde. His work was marked by a novel approach to poetic language. At the same time, it was framed by duality, whether it be the Mexican struggle between rural traditions and the new culture of the cities, or his own struggle between asceticism and pagan sensuality.

Despite his importance, he remains virtually unknown outside his own country.

The property was built in times of Porfiriato. Although the date of construction of the property is unknown, its characteristics make us clearly place it as a work built in the Porfiriato. Made with the concept of nascent apartment buildings, it was inhabited by middle-income families in an area of the city that was growing.

In this building lived the poet Ramón López Velarde the last three years of his life, from 1919 to 1921. Over the years the building deteriorated. At the end of the eighties he was in a situation of total abandonment, as he had as settlers a series of invaders and some workshops that completed the destruction. The subdivisions and alterations made the old building totally unrecognizable, which, although never luxurious, did not lack any dignity.

The poet Ramón López Velarde habituated the building during the last 3 years of his life from 1918 to 1921. After this period the building began to be inhabited by invaders and in it workshops were installed which caused part of its deterioration and changed so Drastic structure.

50 years after the poet’s death, the Government of the State of Zacatecas placed a plaque on the façade for historical recognition purposes, later the National Institute of Anthropology and History declared the building a historical and artistic monument and with it, is protected by the Federal Law

Acknowledgments to the poet’s last home had already been a few: in 1981, the Government of the State of Zacatecas put a plaque on the facade of the building to commemorate the 50 years of the death of López Velarde, and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) later declared it a historical and artistic monument, with what was protected by the corresponding federal law.

However, it was until 1989 when the then Federal District Department (DDF) acquired the property and made a complete rescue of the building. The works initiated in that year included the release of aggregates and a complete restoration, from floors to ceilings, of the three parts that make up the building. The patios were roofed with skylights, in order to increase the available area and ensure better conservation of the property.

The museum opened on 28 November 1991.

The House of the Poet was conceived to pay tribute to the memory of Ramón López Velarde with the installation of a small site museum in what could have been his bedroom and his study. Although there was very little data on how the poet lived, Guillermo Sheridan and the museographers tried to rescue an environment that, although poor, corresponded to a family that had known better times in their original Jerez, Zacatecas. It is very probable that López Velarde developed in a similar environment where furniture and articles dignified by the presence of the mother and the sisters are located, who wove and embroidered the objects of personal use that were in the room of the family support.

A recreation was carried out by Guillermo Sheridan of what is believed to have been the poet’s bedroom, along with his study in these spaces are elements that evoke the time and family situation that the poet lived.

The layout of the museum invites you to complete the tribute with the tour of the metaphorical museum, created by Hugo Hiriart, which through the closet, takes us from reality to an example of inventive museum rarely seen. The “toy”, as its author defines it, aims to stimulate fantasy, but above all to teach that poetry – and museums – can and should be enjoyed without having to give them concrete meanings.

Hugo Hiriat, completed the tribute with the creation of a metaphorical tour through the closet located in the poet’s bedroom, which when crossing it leads to a space with mirrors where the tour begins where different works of the author images are shown, figures, and sculptures accompanied by themes related to his poems and small fragments of these.

In the words of its creator, “our museum is metaphorical not only because it keeps metaphors of López Velarde, a great teacher in the art of coining them, but because the organized space is metaphorical: the disarticulated things of their natural context refer to another order, they assume another meaning; it is, basically, a game about the games of the young Jerez master “.

The museum was made with interactive objects for the user.

The Casa del Poeta completes its attractions with two libraries, both of two characters that honored Mexico City with their pen: Efraín Huerta and Salvador Novo. With just over eleven thousand volumes, this cultural space becomes an obligatory reference point for those concerned with national literature and a place of specialized studies in poetry.

Inside the building there are two libraries honoring two characters, likewise writers from Mexico: Efraín Huerta and Salvador Novo.

They have just over eleven thousand volumes, with literary content specialized in poetry.

The service is only for consultation within the room.

Multipurpose room
Multipurpose room with capacity for 80 people comfortably seated, presidium, podium, sound and service area.

Café-Bar “Las Hormigas” with a capacity of 10 tables for 50 people, presidium and sound.

Seminars and workshops unit, classroom with capacity for 40 people.

Meeting room
Room for 40 people comfortably seated in auditorium type.

House of the Poet López Velarde encourage a taste for poetry. Conduct the actions for the integration and consolidation of the activities of the Casa del Poeta Foundation, IAP, in order to give congruence to the Cultural Program of the Government of the Federal District.

House of the Poet López Velarde offers many activities in the field of culture: poetry workshops, narrative, meetings between writers, dialogues between poets and storytellers. In addition, book presentations, courses and seminars are organized with guests of recognized national and international prestige.

The House of the Poet López Velarde are also interested in promoting literature in native languages. Thus, readings and seminars are organized in indigenous languages, where people from all over the Republic participate. Painting exhibitions of renowned exponents of current art are also prepared.