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Spanish Poet Rodriguez Dies At 65

July 22, 1999

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Spanish poet Claudio Rodriguez, known for his down-to-earth themes and deeply symbolic language, died in a Madrid hospital today. He was 65.

Rodriguez was born two years before the devastating 1936-39 Spanish Civil War _ the hardship of which inspired a simple poetic style and a concern with the details of everyday life.

He published the first of his five books of poetry in 1953, calling it ``Don de Ebriedad,″ _ which held a double meaning of both Gift, or Master, of Drunkenness.

Reacting to his death, the director of Spain’s prestigious Cervantes Institute, Fernando Rodriguez Lafuente, described the poet’s work as, ``Intense and piercing, with a verbal purity and a unique internal melancholy.″

Rodriguez also translated T.S. Eliot’s poetry into Spanish, taught in the British universities of Cambridge and Nottingham and was a member of the Royal Spanish Academy, which watches over the use of the Spanish language.

He was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for the Arts in 1993.

The poet, who died of colon cancer, was due to be buried Friday in his native province of Zamora, 120 miles northwest of Madrid, the state-owned news agency Efe reported. He is survived by his wife.

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