Colombian children’s poet Rafael Pombo will appear on an edition of national stamps.
The limited edition stamps were unveiled in a ceremony in the National Museum of Bogota Wednesday in the year of the centenary of his death, the year of Rafael Pombo.
Pombo, “the children’s poet,” was born into an aristocratic family in 1833, his father was Lino de Pombo O’Donnell of Irish and Spanish descent.
The writer lived in the U.S. for 17 years during which time he worked for publisher Appleton & Co. where he bagan to make translations of children’s nursery rhymes and experimenting with writing his own, many of which often have a dark and ghastly flavor.
One of Pombo’s best-known poems is “The Tadpole Walker” which tells the grim tale of a plump little tadpole who ignored his mother’s pleas not to go carousing in town on a night that ends with everyone getting eaten up.
When the poet returned to Bogota he worked as a writer and a journalist, founded several newspapers and even worked on the liberetto of an opera, “Esther”.
In 1905 Pombo was honoured as the National Poet of Colombia and in 1912 he was appointed permanent secretary of the Colombian Academy of Language. Straight after receiving this title, according to literary critic Antonio Restrepo, the poet retired to his bed until his death. “Locked in his room full of books and pictures he spent his days reading, writing verses on tiny pieces of paper, and keeping up an active corresspondence with his friends.”
Less well-known than his children’s work but still highy acclaimed is Pombo’s existentialist poetry. “The Hour of Darkness” was severely criticized by the Church because of the disparaging concepts of God and religion.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos decreed 2012 to be the year of Rafael Pombo for the “significance of his work which has left its mark on the cultural history of the country and Latin America.”
For his human qualities, his remarkable life and splendid work “Colombia expresses her immense gratitude and his memory will live as just recognition for his wonderful creative feat,” wrote the president.