Pedro Gil Flores (Manta, May, 18, 1971 – January 22, 2022) was an Ecuadorian poet and short story writer. He published his first book of poems at the age of 17, Paren la Guerra que yo no juego (1988), followed by Delirium Tremens (1993), Con unas arrugas en la sangre (1997), He llevado una vida feliz (2001) Sano Juicio (2003), 17 Puñaladas no son nada (2010) and Crónico, Poemas del Siquiátrico Sagrado Corazón (2012). In 2014 Gil published a book of short stories titled El príncipe de los canallas (2o14). He has directed a writing workshop at the Eloy Alfaro Lay University of Manabí (ULEAM). He was called the “Ecuadorian Rimbaud” by the literary historian Hernán Rodríguez Castelo. He coordinated the poetry workshop of the Portoviejo branch of the House of Ecuadorian Culture.
Pedro Gil Flores, an Ecuadorian poet and short story writer, left an indelible mark on the literary landscape through his poignant and raw exploration of life’s struggles and adversities. In a life marked by hardships and setbacks, Pedro Gil Flores transformed his pain into poetic verses that immortalize his journey, making him a poignant figure in the realm of literary expression who fearlessly confronted uncomfortable truths.
Emergence of a Poetic Voice
Born on May 18, 1971, in the neighborhood of San José in Manta, Pedro Gil Flores grew up in a challenging environment that exposed him to the harsh realities of poverty, violence, and addiction. His upbringing in the neighborhood of “7 Puñaladas” provided a backdrop for his early understanding of the world’s brutality and the fragility of life. The son of an alcoholic father and a deeply troubled mother, Gil’s family represented a segment of Ecuadorian society grappling with poverty and its associated issues.
At a young age, Pedro Gil found solace and inspiration in literature, influenced by his older brother Ubaldo Gil, whom he deeply admired. At the age of ten, Pedro Gil Flores was introduced to the world of literature through a copy of “Crime and Punishment,” a book that ignited his passion for writing. During his adolescence, he became a workshop participant of Miguel Donoso Pareja, a prominent Ecuadorian writer. At a mere seventeen years old, he published his first poetry collection, “Paren la Guerra que yo no juego” (1988), which marked the beginning of his literary journey. He witnessed the struggles of his family, contributing to his understanding of human suffering, which he later channeled into his writings. His early exposure to the harsh realities of life fueled his determination to tell the untold stories of those marginalized by society.
A Literary Journey
At the age of ten, Pedro Gil Flores was introduced to the world of literature through a copy of “Crime and Punishment,” a book that ignited his passion for writing. During his adolescence, he became a workshop participant of Miguel Donoso Pareja, a prominent Ecuadorian writer. At a mere seventeen years old, he published his first poetry collection, “Paren la Guerra que yo no juego” (1988), which marked the beginning of his literary journey. This collection introduced readers to his unapologetically raw and honest style, embodying a thirst for authenticity. He followed this with titles like “Delirium Tremens” (1993) and “Con unas arrugas en la sangre” (With Wrinkles in the Blood) (1997), each echoing his distinct perspective on life’s adversities. By the time “Sano Juicio” (Sound Judgment) was released in 2003, Gil had firmly established his voice, one that spoke candidly of life’s challenges.
Gil’s writings bravely tackled themes of addiction, mental illness, and social inequality. Each piece, a mirror to his own life, sought to encapsulate the raw essence of human suffering, giving a platform to the often voiceless.
Throughout the turbulence of his personal experiences, Pedro’s literary brilliance was evident. His autobiographical poems delved deep into the worlds of criminals, drug addicts, lost lovers, and more, crafting narratives of despair, hope, and tenacity. Other remarkable titles in his repertoire include “He llevado una vida feliz,” “Los poetas duros no lloran,” “17 puñaladas no son nada,” and “Poemas del Psiquiátrico Sagrado Corazón.” Each of these works provides a profound insight into Pedro’s soul, allowing readers a glimpse of his complex and riveting life journey.
The Ecuadorian Rimbaud
Pedro Gil’s contributions to literature were so profound that he earned the nickname “the Ecuadorian Rimbaud” from literary historian Hernán Rodríguez Castelo. This moniker recognized his remarkable ability to channel pain, hardship, and societal disillusionment, drawing parallels with the French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Gil’s writings went beyond mere poetic expression; they delved deep into human emotion, unveiling the raw and often hidden realities of life.
His dedication to poetry and literature extended beyond his personal creative pursuits. Gil directed a writing workshop at the Eloy Alfaro Lay University of Manabí (ULEAM) and coordinated the poetry workshop at the Portoviejo branch of the House of Ecuadorian Culture. These roles showcased his commitment to nurturing the artistic talents of others and fostering a sense of community among aspiring writers.
Struggles and Triumphs
Upon entering university, Gil’s life took a tumultuous turn as he became entangled in drug addiction and alcoholism. By the age of 25, he found himself incarcerated in the penitentiary of Guayaquil. In 2008, he survived an attack that left him with seven stab wounds, an incident that inspired one of his later books. This life-altering experience did not deter him from his pursuit of creative expression.
Pedro Gil’s life was characterized by a continuous interplay between struggle and triumph. While he battled personal demons, including addiction and mental illness, his poetry served as both a coping mechanism and a form of rebellion against the constraints of his circumstances. His writings often reflected the complexities of his experiences, from his time as a bartender and gravedigger to his introspective moments in psychiatric facilities.
Gil’s willingness to confront his own vulnerabilities and share them through his poetry demonstrated his unwavering commitment to authenticity. His poems became a testament to the power of art as a means of survival, allowing him to navigate the darkest corners of his existence while offering a glimpse into the human condition.
Finality and Legacy
Tragically, Pedro Gil’s life was cut short when he was struck by a truck on the night of January 21, 2022. His body remained unidentified for five days, underscoring the sense of anonymity he often felt in life. While his physical presence was gone, his poetic legacy endured, a testament to his ability to immortalize his experiences and emotions through words.
Pedro Gil Flores’ life and works continue to resonate with readers, inspiring discussions about the intersections of art, suffering, and human resilience. His willingness to expose the wounds of society and reflect on his own struggles invites readers to question and engage with the complexities of existence. Despite the challenges he faced, Gil’s poetic journey serves as a reminder that even in the darkest of times, art has the power to transcend pain and offer solace to both creators and audiences alike. As we reflect on his contributions, Pedro Gil remains an Ecuadorian literary icon, forever etched into the annals of poetic history.
Documentary on Pedro Gil Flores
Latin American Dialogue – What do poets read?
A documentary on poet Pedro Gil Flores, who speaks about his drug addiction and living in a rehab center.
- Paren la guerra que yo no juego (1989)
- Delirium Tremens (1993)
- Con unas arrugas en la sangre (1997)
- He llevado una vida feliz (2001)
- Sano Juicio (2003)
- 17 Puñaladas no son nada (2010)
- Crónico, Poemas del Siquiátrico Sagrado Corazón (2012)
- Pánico en el bosque de las nulas (2015)
- Bukowski, te están jodiendo (2015)
- El príncipe de los canallas (2o14)