Humberto Fierro Jarrín (Quito, June 17, 1890 – Quito, August 23, 1929) was an Ecuadorian poet of modernismo, a literary movement that took place primarily during the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth-century in the Spanish-speaking world. He was close friends with Arturo Borja, Ernesto Noboa, and other tormented poets of the early twentieth century who committed suicide and were thus dubbed the “Decapitated Generation.” This group was heavily influenced by Rubén Darío’s modernismo movement as well as 19th-century French romantic poetry. Fierro’s best known poems can be found in his poetry collections, “El Lad en el Valle,” published in 1919, and “La Velada Palatina,” published posthumously in 1949. He spent almost all of his working life as a clerk in a Public Ministry Office. He died at the age of 39 in 1929 from a mountain fall, which some believe was suicide.
Humberto Fierro Jarrín was the son of Enrique Fierro from Colombia and Amalia Jarrín from Ecuador.
After marrying his one and only love, Soledad Paz, in 1913, the author lost his family’s financial support. His first son was born in 1914 but died the same day. His only daughter, Aida, was born in 1917. Desperate due to his precarious economic situation, he succumbed to his family’s pressure and returned to his mother’s home, thus abandoning his family.
He was a second cousin of the poetess Luz Elisa Borja Martínez.
The Decapitated Generation
The Generación decapitada (Spanish for “Decapitated Generation“) was a literary group from the early twentieth century comprised of four young Ecuadorian poets. The group included two men from Guayaquil, Medardo Ángel Silva and Ernesto Noboa y Caamaño and two from Quito, Arturo Borja and Humberto Fierro. These four writers were heavily influenced by Rubén Darío’s modernismo movement and 19th-century French romantic poetry. They all read the poetry of Baudelaire, Hugo, Rimbaud, and Verlaine in the original French.
The group is known as “decapitada,” or “decapitated,” because each member committed suicide at a young age. Despite knowing each other and dedicating poems to one another, they never met to form a true literary group. The term “generación decapitada” was coined in the mid-twentieth century by writer Raúl Andrade and other journalists and historians who noticed similarities in the authors’ poetry.
On August 23, 1929, while out for a walk in the mountains, he died from a fall, he was 39 years old. Some believe it was a suicide.
- El Lad en el Valle (1919)
- La Velada Palatina (1949)
Humberto Fierro’s poems can also be found in the anthologies listed below:
- Indice de la poesía ecuatoriana contemporánea (Santiago de Chile, 1937)
- Antología de la moderna poesía ecuatoriana (Quito, 1949)
- Poetas parnasianos y modernistas (México, 1960)
- Otros modernistas (Guayaquil, s.f.)
- Poesía modernista (Quito, 1978)
- Poesía viva del Ecuador (Quito, 1990)
- La palabra perdurable (Quito, 1991)
- Poesía modernista ecuatoriana (Quito, 1991)
- Poesía modernista del Ecuador (Quito, 1992)