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Access Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Hispanic Literatures & Linguistics

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Tradición, Ruptura, Poesía, Carlos de la Ossa, Imprimatur, Costa Rica


ABSTRACT TRADITION AND RUPTURE IN THE POETRY OF CARLOS DE LA OSSA FEBRUARY 2009 GUSTAVO ADOLFO CHAVES B.A., UNIVERSITY OF COSTA RICA M.A. UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS-AMHERST Directed by: Professor Márgara Russotto, Ph.D. The present thesis examines the seven poetry books by Costa Rican poet Carlos de la Ossa (San José, 1946) entitled Imprimatur. This author is of one of Costa Rica’s post avant-garde poets who most clearly expresses the coexistence of a traditional lyric style (centered around the themes of love, God and loneliness, for instance) and everyday language (through records of political facts and personal experience) in his poetry. The purpose of this work is to analyze the distinctive features of Carlos de la Ossa’s poetics considering his formal particularities, his aesthetic and ideological sources, and his historical context. We attempt to explain how his poetry presents a mixture of traditional and innovative poetic languages, as well as the importance of this mixture in his poetry. Furthermore, we discuss the relationship of these characteristics with similar literary processes within both the Costa Rican and Latin American poetries. The central hypothesis of this study is that, in the poetry of Carlos de la Ossa, it is possible to identify an organic coexistence of traditional poetic registers with constant appearances of rupture elements. The study identifies a connection between Carlos de la Ossa’s poetry, romantic and existentialist ideas, and modernista aesthetics. In order to meet these objectives, this thesis revisits the literary criticism on the poetry of Carlos de la Ossa, especially the labels applied to his work (such as metaphysical, mystical, difficult and existentialist), and connects it to other studies of the historical context in both Costa Rican and Latin American literature. Methodologically speaking, this thesis presents a theoretical and critical approach based on non-linear categories, and it studies the specific characteristics of the author’s poetry. The methodology consists mainly of a close reading of the poems of Carlos de la Ossa, and a theorization of the sequential character of the Imprimatur books, intended to underline both the traditional and the innovative elements in his poetry and its general significance in contemporary poetics.

First Advisor

Márgara Russotto

Second Advisor

Francisco Cota Fagundes