José María Álvarez (born 31 May 1942, in Cartagena, Spain), is a Spanish poet and novelist.
He studied Philosophy and Letters in the University of Murcia, Philosophy in the Sorbonne and subsequently both History and Geography in Spanish universities.
The principal work of Álvarez is Museo de cera (Wax Museum) which was a work in progress for many years due the author's endeavouring to complete a unique and all-encompassing book (un libro único y totalizador). In the most recent edition, Álvarez has finally brought the cycle to a conclusion.
He has also translated into Spanish the work of, among others, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe, Jack London, T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare, François Villon, the complete works of Constantine P. Cavafy, and the poems from the years of madness of Friedrich Hölderlin.
José María Álvarez has followed a number of the trends in contemporary Spanish poetry, passing from socially aware poetry to a culturalism deriving from his life experience. His protagonist is no revolutionary wishing to change lives, but a bon vivant, a disdainer of vulgarity, and a lover of lost causes.
His poems are often bipartite, consisting of:An introductory quote (allusions to cinema mythography, theatrical dialogues, fragments of novels, poems, essays, song lyrics, etc.) and
The poem as such, which attempts to organise chaos, to explain an incomprehensible world.