“wise and philosophical. It owns an inimitable cadence, uncommon good sense, and a smoldering depth—for there is fire in Ambroggio’s blueness, an earthy eroticism in his lyric register.”
His critically acclaimed poems have been translated into English, French, Italian, Rumanian, Mandarin, Korean, Catalan, Hebrew, Portuguese, Japanese, Turkish and are recorded in the Archives of the Hispanic-American Literature of the U.S. Library of Congress.
Born in Rio Tercero (Ctalamochita, its Indian name), between the Pampas and the mountains of the province of Cordoba, Argentina, a village, river and reservoir that had been researched by Charles Darwin 100 years ago, Luis Alberto Ambroggio is the son of Dr. Ernesto Pedro Ambroggio, dentist, founder of one of the first institutes of Orthodontics in Cordoba and Perla Lutereau de Ambroggio, philosophy professor at the National and Catholic Universities of Cordoba, a "recognized and feared teacher, anti-dictatorship, who was expelled from the campus by mounted police, a woman of deep faith and at the same time admirer of Nietzsche, she certainly has had a decisive influence on the personality and calling of her son.” He attended primary school in Cordoba and high school in Rosario. From an early age he felt a great attraction to books such as those written by Salgari and Verne which he would later leave for the study of classical Greek philosophers and his great revelation, Erasmus. Before the age of fifteen he had written poems and won poetry contests. His mother, noticing this ability, gave him an anthology of César Vallejo; this would mark the beginning of his important history in the world of poetry.
During his college years he continued his interest in Plato, Aristotle, Augustine of Hippo and then he was attracted by the writings of Racine, Voltaire, Kant, and Nietzsche. Hence, his first publication was a philosophical textbook of epistemology written in collaboration with his mother. Today his philosophical readings are more inclined to the thoughts of Ricoeur and Wittgenstein. In Argentina, he received his doctoral degree in philosophy and completed other doctoral studies in social science at The Catholic University of America. He also has a MBA from Virginia Tech.
He came to the United States in 1967. Under the Leadership Program of the United Nations, he served as an intern in the U.S. Congress and then on the White House Cabinet Committee for the advancement of the Hispanic population during the Nixon administration. He also worked at the Pan American Development Foundation and at the Embassy of Argentina in Washington, DC.
In 1976 Ambroggio founded a successful company, Aerospace International Marketing (AIM), which he sold in 2001 and would continue as the Chief Advisor to the Board until 2008. Due to the successful international outreach of his company by trading in different continents, he took advantage of his travels to various countries to increase his knowledge in their poetic leading figures and events. Throughout his life he attended meetings and participated in recitals to exchange ideas and friendship with the likes of Jorge Luis Borges, Ernesto Cardenal, Claribel Alegría, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, José Saramago, Robert Pinsky, among many others.
Classified as one of the most important poets amongst the Hispanic writers in the United States 1, Ambroggio has given recitals and lectures at over 30 universities including the University of Salamanca, Wake Forest, Hofstra, New York, Virginia, Georgetown, Jerusalem, the National Universities of Córdoba, Tucumán, Mar del Plata, UNAN Nicaragua, UNAM Mexico, Austral de Chile and the National Libraries of Madrid, Buenos Aires, Santiago, El Salvador, Ottawa and the Library of Congress. As a member of the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Florida Gulf Coast University, Ambroggio has taught seminars and lectured on various topics including the art of writing poetry. He has translated poems by William Carlos Williams, DH Lawrence, Dylan Thomas and Robert Pinsky. He has published twenty books of poetry, four of which are bilingual, a book on the art of writing poetry, a collection of short stories, and a book of essays:
• Todos somos Whitman/We are all Whitman. Arte Público Press, Univ. Of Houson, 2016.
• Tribute to the Road/Homenaje al Camino (Bilingual version). México-Barcelona, Vaso Roto Ed.: 2015.
• Estados Unidos Hispano (Hispanic United States). Nueva York, Colección Dorada, Long Island al Día Ed.: 2015.
• Antología Poética de Luis Alberto Ambroggio (Poetic Anthology of Luis Alberto Ambroggio) Madrid, Lord Byron Ed.: 2015.
• En el jardín de los vientos. Obra poética 1974-2014 (In the Garden of the Winds. Poetic Corpus 1974-2014). Critical edition published by the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, New York: 2014, elected by Infobae as one of the best books of the year.
• Todos somos Whitman. España-México, Vaso Roto Ed.:2014.
• Cuentos de viaje para siete cuerdas y otras metafísicas (Travel stories for seven strings and other metaphysics). Indianapolis: Palibrio Ed.: 2013.
• Homenaje al camino (Tribute to the Road). Córdoba: Alción Editora, 2012.
• Arqueología del viento / The Wind's Archeology. Barcelona-Mexico: El Vaso roto Ediciones Broken, 2011. (Winner of the 2013 International Latino Best Book Award for its bilingual version).
• Difficult Beauty. Selected Poems 1987-2006. Yvette Neisser-Moreno, ed. New York: Cross-Cultural Communications, 2009.
• La desnudez del asombro (The Nakedness of Wonder). Madrid: Ediciones Lord Byron, 2009.
• El Arte de escribir poemas. Apuntes para no llevar necesariamente el apunte (The art of Writing Poems. Notes to Not Necessarily Take Notes for the Record). New York: Urpi Editors, 2009.
• Los tres esposos de la noche (The Night’s Three Husbands). San Jose, Costa Rica: La Casa de la poesía, 2005.
• Laberintos de Humo (Labyrinths of Smoke). Buenos Aires: Ed Tierra Firme, 2005.
• El testigo se desnuda (The Witness Bares His Soul). Madrid: Asociación Prometeo de Poesía, 2002.
• Por si amanece: cantos de Guerra (If Dawn Comes: War Songs). Washington D.C: Horizonte21 Publishers, 1997.
• Los habitantes del poeta (The Inhabitants of the Poet). Washington DC: Horizonte 21 Publishers, 1997.
• Poemas desterrados (Exiled Poems). Buenos Aires: Ibero-American Academy of Poetry, 1995.
• Oda Ensimismada (Ode in and of Myself). Buenos Aires: Alicia Gallegos, 1994.
• Hombre del Aire (Air Man). Sevilla: Gallo de Vidrio, 1992.
• Poemas de amor y vida (Poems of Loving and Living). Los Angeles: Puerta Press, 1987.
Among the anthologies that he has compiled are:
• Knocking on the Door of the White House: Latina and Latino Poets in Washington, D.C., Luis Alberto Ambroggio, Carlos Parada and José Ballesteros, Zozobra Publishing, 2017.
• Labios de Arena (Lips of sand). Embajada de los Estados Unidos de América Managua, Nicaragua: 2014.
• Antología. Festival Latinoamericano de Poesía. Ciudad de Nueva York 2012. Carlos Aguasaco, Luis Alberto Ambroggio, Karla Coreas, eds. Nueva York: Urpi Editores, 2012.
• De azul a rojo (From Blue to Red). Nicaraguan Poetic Voices of the XXI century. Managua: Embassy of the United States and Nicaraguan Writers Center, 2011.
• Al pie de la Casa Blanca (At the Footsteps of the White House). Hispanic Poets from Washington, DC., Luis Alberto Ambroggio and Carlos Parada Ayala, eds. New York: North-American Academy of the Spanish Language, 2010.
He has several unpublished books: three books of essays: Filosofía, poesía y memoria (Philosophy, Poetry and Memory) and Whithman, Borges, Darío, Vallejo y otras literaturas (Whitman, Borges, Dario, Vallejo and Other Literatures), Revolución Religion y Cultura; análisis antropológico de las ideologías de la liberación de América Latina en los 60’ (Revolution, Religion and Culture; anthropological analysis of the Liberation ideologies of Latin America of the 60s) and three books of short stories: Cuentos perdidos (Lost Tales). Ficciones en el Museo de la Risa (Fictions in the Museum of Laughter) and La felicidad de las sombras (The happiness of shadows). And one book of poems: Principios póstumos (Posthumous Beginnings).
As a critic and essayist he has specialized in the poetry of the United States written in Spanish on issues related to bilingualism, identity and critical studies of renowned poets such as Borges, Vallejo, Gabriela Mistral and Dario that have contributed to his appointment as Honorary Member of Ruben Dario Cultural Heritage Institute. The following are some of his most representative essays:
• “Ruben Dario and Walt Whitman”. New York: North-American Academy of the Spanish Language, 2017.
• “Thomas Jefferson and the Spanish Language: Praxis, vision, and political philosophy”, en https://www.academia.edu/7435568/THOMAS_JEFFERSON_AND_THE_SPANISH_LANGUAGE_PRAXIS_VISION_AND_POLITICAL_PHILOSOPHY
• “Spanish is my land.” La Tolteca (Otoño 2014): 54-55 https://issuu.com/latolteca/docs/latolteca_fall_2014-70pgs-final3
• “Anti-olvido”, Homenaje a Nicanor Parra, en Decenio, Revista Centroamericana de Cultura, No. 15, Diciembre 2015, 11-13.
• Memoria poética hispana de EE.UU.: historia y contexto teórico. (U.S. Hispanic Poetic Memory: History and Theoretical Context), New York: North-American Academy of the Spanish Language, 2012.
• “La filosofía de la memoria poética” ("The Philosophy of Poetic Memory.") Alba de America 31.59 (2011): 274-86.
• “Gabriela Mistral, La extranjera: complejidad poética de su desarraigo y pertenencia” ("Gabriela Mistral, the Foreigner: Poetic Complexity of Her Rootlessness and Belonging") in Gabriela Mistral y los Estados Unidos (Gabriela Mistral and the United States), Gerardo Piña-Rosales et al., Eds. New York: North-American Academy of the Spanish Language, 2011.
• “Representantes de los movimientos literarios: en la poesía escrita en español en los Estados Unidos: Modernismo, Pre/Post/Neo y otros ismos.” ("Representatives of Literary Movements: The Poetry Written in Spanish in the United States: Modernism, Pre/Post/Neo and Other Isms.") Alba de América 30.57-58 (2011): 214-27.
• “Rubén Darío y Antonio Machado: dos poetas, dos continentes, tres poemas y un camino” ("Ruben Dario and Antonio Machado: Two Poets, Two Continents, Three Poems and a Road") in Fondo Documental de Prometeo: http://www.prometeodigital.org/FD_LISTATOTAL.htm
• “Rubén Darío y César Vallejo: unidos en un poema ‘El Retablo’.” ("Ruben Dario and Cesar Vallejo: United in a Poem 'The Manger'.") Revista Carátula http://www.caratula.net/archivo/N28-0209/Secciones/critica/luis%20ambroggio%20-%20vallejos%20y%20dario%20unidos.html
• “Esperanza en la piedra del silencio: la poesía de César Vallejo y Paul Celan.” ("Hope in Stone of Silence: The Poetry of Paul Celan and Cesar Vallejo.") Essay read at Hofstra University. Fondo Documental de Prometeo, 2008 http://www.infolizer.com/prom5et5eod4i7git1ala1or7g/Cesar-vallejo-y-paul-celan.html
• “Borges y Rubén Darío.” ("Borges and Ruben Dario.") Fondo Documental de Prometeo, 2007 http://www.infolizer.com/prom5et5eod4i7git1ala1or7g/Borges-y-dario.html
• “Convergencias y divergencias: Rubén Darío y Pablo Antonio Cuadra.” ("Convergence and Divergence: Ruben Dario and Pablo Antonio Cuadra.") Fondo Documental de Prometeo: http://www.prometeodigital.org/FD_LISTATOTAL.htm
• “Bilingüismo e identidad.” (Bilingualism and Identity). Key note speech read at Toronto’s City Hall, Canadá: http://revistadebate.ca/portal/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=566
• “La poesía puertorriqueña.” (“Puerto Rican Poetry”), Enciclopedia del Español en los Estados Unidos. New York: Instituto Cervantes y Editorial Santillana, 2008. 672-77.
• “El teatro puertorriqueño.” (“Puerto Rican Theater”), Enciclopedia del Español en los Estados Unidos. New York: Instituto Cervantes y Editorial Santillana, 2008. 738-42.
• “La poesía de Estados Unidos en español.” ‘’Hispanos en los Estados Unidos: Tercer pilar de la Hispanidad’’. ("Spanish Poetry in the United States" Hispanics in the United States: Third Pillar of the Hispanic World). Gerardo Piña-Rosales et al., eds. Nueva York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 2004. 197-213. http://www.ildialogo.org/poesia/islanegra128especialeupoen.pdf
• “The Latin American Man and his Revolution.” Conscientization for Liberation. Louis Colonnese, ed. Washington, DC: Division for Latin America United States Catholic Conference Washington, DC. 1971. pp. 3–22.
Ambroggio writes several poems and in various genres at the same time: poetry, essays, stories that he keeps in notebooks. In some of his poems he reflects different stages of his life: agnostic, socially committed, loving, a period of exile. In If Dawn Comes: War Songs (Por si amanece: cantos de Guerra) he interprets the theme of violence in war while at the same time emphasizing the culture of peace. In Poems of Loving and Living (Poemas de amor y vida) he incorporates what he calls "a multifaceted love" of son, father, husband. Amateur aviator in Air Man (Hombre del Aire), from an airplane, he meditates on the volatility and the contradictions of existence. The theory of Exiled Poems (Poemas desterrados) is that "we are all exiles, we all come from a lost paradise." However, in almost all of his books, his word strays from the central issues and generates unexpected adventures, as seen in The Wind’s Archaeology (La arqueología del viento) or Ode in and of Myself (Oda ensimismada): "If I give myself to the sky / and its score of stars /I do not need weight / I will be part of a growing place/ to the light of my dreams. / I will have weighted my abyss / and the extent of my summit "(50). His quest for knowledge has been so relentless that his poetry moves between the perplexities and certainties of life with great expressive control and outstanding beauty (Introduction to El exilio y la palabra/ Exile and the Word).
According to Gerardo Piña-Rosales, Director of the North-American Academy of the Spanish Language, "in the poetry of Luis Alberto Ambroggio sometimes we hear the mournful voice of César Vallejo, the cryptic voice of Jorge Luis Borges, the tormented voice of Luis Cernuda, the loving voice of Pedro Salinas, the manly voice of José Hierro, the muted voice of Rilke, the ventriloquist voice of Fernando Pessoa". For Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky “the essential quality of Luis Alberto Ambroggio's poetry is immediacy: the vividness of images that feel unmediated, though we know they are, profoundly, the products of art. Here is a philosophical mind that insists always on the unfathomable primacy of encounter”.
According to Oscar Hijuelos, Ambroggio has an inimitable expression: "one savors the shadows of his words.” To Moraima Semprúm de Donahue, “he is a wordsmith, a defender of the oppressed by the policies of the First World and a poet of the heavens"; the one of the blue space and its derivatives (...) sky, blue, air, flight, space, clouds, universe, stars, the Pleiades, Scorpio and Sagittarius with its many metaphors that represent parallels: starships, Sputnik, birds, space stations, and Dario’s forms of mythological and historical symbols (...) He calls himself “pilot of the winds, pilot of the immense and microscopic, pilot of the punished bones" ("The Witness Bares Its Soul/El testigo se desnuda", 9-16). Adriana Corda states "Luis Alberto Ambroggio chooses an invisible power, without land nor identity, as a symbol of a deep cultural malaise at a collective level and responsible for refracting the dantesque domaines at the individual level; he parodizes, he shows the irony, he accuses, he limits ... " Miguel Fajardo Korea indicates that the epigraphs are crucial because Ambroggio reflects “a kind of archive of the soul of the writer”. Not only the titles of Ambroggio’s books but "the subtitles are a unique universe that seduces, which propels the imagination to be caught in them, as seen in the poems 'The dry lantern' or 'The time of Death’ from The Witness Bares Its Soul (El testigo se desnuda), in ‘Evaporated Rites' from the The Inhabitants of the Poet (Los habitantes del poeta) or 'Playing with Smoke in Labyrinths of Smoke (Laberintos de Humo) ... Ambroggio has a relentless intellectual curiosity that is screened in the verse as a consistent desire to understand human existence without ever losing the tragic dignity ... All his books are literary gems as well as metaphysical treatises in miniature” (Introduction to El exilio y la palabra/ Exile and the Word).
• Tezanos-Pinto, Rosa, ed. El exilio y la palabra. La trashumancia de un escritor argentino-estadounidense (Exile and the Word. Trashumance of an Argentine-U.S. Writer). Buenos Aires: Editorial Vinciguerra, 2012.
• Zeleny, Mayra, ed. El cuerpo y la letra. Poética de Luis Alberto Ambroggio (The Body and the Letter. The Poetry of Luis Alberto Ambroggio). New York: North-American Academy of Spanish Language: 2008.
• Corda, Adriana. “Poética del retorno en ‘Azahares de la Memoria’ de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” ("Poetics of Return in ‘Azahares de la Memoria’ by Luis Alberto Ambroggio.") XLVII Congress Hispanists Canadian Association of Hispanists, ACH-CAH. University of New Brunswick and Saint Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, May 2011.
• Palacios, Conny. “Arte poética y palabra en ‘’Los Habitantes del Poeta’’ de Luis Alberto Ambroggio. ” ("The Word and Poetic Art in Luis Alberto Ambroggio’s “The Inhabitants of the Poet”). XLVII Canadian Association Congress Hispanists ACH-CAH, University of New Brunswick and Saint Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, May 2011.
• “Dos poemas migrantes: “La lengua materna” de Eduardo Espina y “Otredad” de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” ("Two Migrant Poems:" Mother Tongue" by Eduardo Espina and “Otherness" by Luis Alberto Ambroggio."). XXXIV International Symposium of the Hispanic Cultural Literal Institute, Tribute to Ernesto Sábato, Buenos Aires, Argentina. October 2010.
• Pozzi, Edna. “Bilingüe, un verdadero desafío.” ("Bilingual, a Real Challenge.") XXXIII International Symposium of the Hispanic Cultural Literary Institute, University of Jujuy, Argentina, August 2008.
• Corda, Adriana. “El discurso del poder, la memoria y el exilio en los textos poéticos de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” ("The Discourse of Power, Memory and Exile in the Poetic Texts of Luis Alberto Ambroggio."), Universität zu Köln, Faculty of Philosophy, January, 2006.
• Corda, Adriana “Identidad y memoria en la lírica de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” ("Identity and Memory in the Poetry of Luis Alberto Ambroggio."), First International Conference on Literature, Buenos Aires, October, 2006.
• Corda, Adriana. “El Discurso de la Identidad en Los habitantes del poeta de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” ("The Discourse of Identity in The Inhabitants of the Poet by Luis Alberto Ambroggio."), X National Congress of Linguistics, Catholic University of Salta, July 2005.
• Corda, Adriana. Disociación del signo poético en Laberintos de Humo de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” ("Dissociation of the Poetic Sign in Laberintos de Humo by Luis Alberto Ambroggio."), XXVI International Symposium on Present and Future of American Literature University of Los Lagos, Puerto Montt, Chile. August, 2005.
He is a member of the North-American Academy of Spanish Language and of the Royal Spanish Academy, Chairman of the Delegation of the American Academy of the Spanish Language in Washington DC, Director of the Ibero-American Academy of Poetry, State Department Cultural Envoy to Nicaragua and El Salvador, Curator of the Smithsonian Institution for literary events, Member Emeritus of the Venezuelan Writers Circle, Deputy Chairman Founder and Honorary Member of the United Nations of the Letters, President of the Poetry and Policy Committee, Vice President of the World Council of Spanish-American Union of Writers, Consul at the World Poets Movement in Washington DC and a member of institutions such as the Academy of American Poets, Canadian Association of Spanish scholars, PEN, Hispanic Literary Cultural Institute; Board member of the Plaza Institute, Washington DC. He has received special recognition from the Embassy of Argentina in Washington, DC; the Matias Delgado University of El Salvador; the Board of Culture of Andalusia, the IES, Alcalá de Guadaíra, Seville, Spain; from the Guanajuato State, Mexico; from the Argentine Society of Arts, Sciences and Letters in the Legislature of Cordoba, Argentina and numerous diplomas and awards, including the first prize of the Spanish TV (TVE) for its Poetic Contest on poems about solitude in 2004; Recognition of Excellence by the Prometheus Poetry Association, Madrid; the International Prize in poetry "Simon Bolivar, the Liberator" 2010 and the Fulbright-Hays scholarship for the anthology from Blue to Red as well as his literary activities in Nicaragua. His poetry has been selected for the permanent archives of Latin American Literature at the U.S.Library of Congress and is part of virtual anthologies, magazines, cultural supplements and texts in literature, among them: Passages, Bridges to Literature, Breaking Down Barriers, Keystone and Encuentros. Other notable awards include: Trilce Medal, Universidad de Trujillo, Peru (2016). Named Adopted Son of Vallejo’s Native city (2017). Doctor Honoris Causa (2011), Tel Aviv, Israel.