Josefina Pla

Josefina Pla (1903 in Isla de Lobos, Canarias, España - 1999 in Asunción, Paraguay) was a poet, playwright, narrator, rehearser, potter, art critic, painter and journalist.

She wrote poetry, stories, novels and essays. She had a great childhood among a generation of future intellectuals in Paraguay. During her life, she received numerous awards and distinctions for her literary work, for defending the human rights and the equality between men and woman.

Living the other one that I am that wasn’t what would have been.
Living what would have been dying which I am still not.
Sleeping all was I, another waking I go.

  • Nos habremos deseado tanto/ que el beso habrá muerto. Desnudo día, 1936

We wanted each other so bad/ that the kiss would have died. Naked day, 1936

Childhood and Youth

It is well known that she was born in Isla de Lobos, Canarias, Spain, and she is the daughter of Leopoldo Plá and Rafaela Guerra Galvani. The date of her birth is not known, yet members of her family indicate that she was born in 1903. The teacher Raúl Amaral, one of his most connoted biographer assures that she was born on the 9th of November in 1903. She spent her childhood and youth in diverse cities of Spain with her father, a functionary of provinces.

In 1924, she met the Paraguayan artist Andres Campos Cervera in Villajoyosa, Alicante, Spain which his artistic eudemon of Julián de la Herrería has forced his immortality, whom she married two years later.

First Steps

In 1925, she went to Paraguay and first established herself in Villa Aurelia, and then in Asunción, the capital of the country. In that same year, her first incursions in the artistic environment started when she presented her writings in the youth magazine, "Speaker of the Writers' Generation of Paraguayan Postmodernism". From there until 1938, she travelled twice to Spain with her husband, in the meanwhile, he collaborated with poems, articles and other literary texts to Paraguayan newspapers and magazines.


Her husband died in 1937. When she came back to Paraguay a year later, she turned in one of the capital figure of the renovated literary movement, especially in poetry. She headlined with Hérib Campos Cervera, nephew of her husband. From then on, she became an intense journalist, writer and sculptor, which lasted until late in her life.

Throughout her life, she received several awards, gabardines and nominations. To numérate them will be overwhelming. Nevertheless, the most outstanding are the condition of the Lady of Honour of the Order of Isabel la Católica (1977); the member of the International Ceramic Academy in Ginebra, Switzerland, the founder member of the PEN Paraguayan Club, the “Ollantay” trophy to the theatre investigation of Venezuela (1984), the “woman of the year” in (1977), the Bicentenary Medal of the United States of America (1976), the condition of Counsel of the Vice Minister of the Paraguayan Culture, the National Order of Merit in the commendatory grade of the Paraguayan Government in (1994), her Human Rights defence recognition given by the International Society of Jurist, the Beautiful Arts Gold Medal of Spain (1995), the Johann Gottfried von Herder Medal, member of the Paraguayan Linguistic Academy of Paraguayan and Spanish history, finalist of the Merit Contest for the “Príncipe de Asturias” award (1981), the postulation for the “Cervantes award”, top recognition for the Hispanic letters in the years 1989 and 1994, the “Ciudadanía Honoraria” given by the Paraguayan Parliament in 1998, among others.

She was the founder, at the beginning of the 1950s with the Brazilians Joao Rossi and Olga Blinder of the “New Art Group”, motor nerve of the most rotund innovation of the plastic arts in Paraguay.

Lasts Years

Surrounded by the consideration and respect of artists and intellectuals of Paraguay, Spain and from all over the World, died the 20 January of 1999 in Asuncion.


Her work covers the field of literary creation – more than forty titles in poetry, narrative and theatre, the social and cultural history of Paraguay, the ceramic, painting and critic, by which, with justice is considered the highest, fundamental referent in the Paraguayan Cultural Subject in the last century.

Year Works
1934 “The price of dreams”
1960 “The rooth and dawn”
1965 “Faces in the water” “Death invention”
1966 “Dark Satelites”
1968 “The dust in love” “Naked day”
1975 “Black light”
1927-1977 “Poetic Antology”
1982 “Time foliage”, “Time and darkness”
1984 “Changing dreams for shadows”.
1985 “The flame and sand”. “The thirty thousand absents”.
1996 “The imposible absent”

Her dramatic production includes, since 1927 until 1974, “Víctima propiciatoria”, “Episodios chaqueños” (with Roque Centurión Miranda), “Porasy” (opera script with music of Otakar Platal), “Desheredado”, “La hora de Caín”, “Aquí no ha pasado nada”, “Un sobre en blanco”, “María inmaculada”, “Pater familias” (all with Roque Centurión Miranda), “La humana impaciente”, “Fiesta en el río”, “El edificio”, “De mí que no del tiempo”, “El pretendiente inesperado”, “Historia de un número”, “Esta es la casa que Juana construyó”, “La cocina de las sombras”, “El profesor”, “El pan del avaro”, “El rey que rabió” y “El hombre de oro” (the last three, are children pieces), “La tercera huella dactilar”, “Media docena de grotescos brevísimos”, “Las ocho sobre el mar”, “Hermano Francisco”, “Momentos estelares de la mujer (short pieces series)”, “Don Quijote y los Galeotes”, “El hombre en la cruz”, “El empleo” y “Alcestes”.

Her piece about Cultural and Social Paraguayan History includes the following titles: “La cultura paraguaya y el libro”, “Literatura paraguaya del Siglo XX”, “Apuntes para una historia de la cultura paraguaya”, “Arte actual en el Paraguay”, “Cuatro siglos de teatro en el Paraguay”, “Impacto de la cultura de las Reducciones en lo Nacional”, “Apuntes para una aproximación a la Imaginería Paraguaya”, “El Templo de Yaguarón”, “El barroco hispano-guaraní”, “Las artesanías en el Paraguay”, “Ñandutí. Encrucijada de dos mundos”, “El espíritu del fuego”, “El libro en la época colonial”, “Bilingüismo y tercera lengua en el Paraguay”, “Españoles en la cultura del Paraguay”, “La mujer en la plástica paraguaya” and "The British in Paraguay, 1850 - 1870" (translated by B.C. McDermot).


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