Josefina Plá: the Muse of Wolves

Josefina Plá, born on November 9, 1909 on Isla de Lobos, Fuerteventura, stands as an distinguished and multifaceted figure in the Paraguayan and Canarian cultural universe, whose resonance extends beyond geographical and temporal borders.

Her life and her work are the mirror of her unconditional dedication to art, literature and culture, constituting a palpable testimony of her passion for artistic expression and cultural wealth and diversity.

Isla de Lobos

Isla de Lobos, birthplace of Josefina Plá, is a small islet located between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, in the Canary archipelago. This area, characterized by its natural beauty and rich biodiversity, has been declared a Natural Park. The island, with its volcanic landscape and its crystal-clear sea, is a symbol of the primeval and wild nature of the Canary Islands. Josefina’s connection with this paradisiacal corner is reflected in her work, where nature and the sea are recurring motifs, symbolizing freedom, beauty and the strength of life.

Roots and Childhood:

Josefina Plá Guerra Galvany comes from a family with a deep seafaring vocation; Her father and her paternal grandfather were lighthouse keepers. Despite her early departure from the Canary Islands, her Canarian and Majorera essence endured in her being and in her work.

The Plá family, originally from Alicante, moved through their father’s job as a lighthouse keeper, residing in different corners of Spain such as Guipúzcoa, Almería, Murcia, Alicante and Valencia.

The diversity of landscapes and cultures she experienced in her childhood profoundly influenced her perception of the world and her later work, enriching her perspective and her artistic expression.

Literary development and first steps:

From her earliest childhood, Josefina manifested a clear literary inclination, writing her first verses at the age of six and seeing her first poems published at the age of 14.

Her father, Leopoldo Plá, a man of letters, collaborated in newspapers and had a rich library.

Josefina, immersed in readings of Homer, Rousseau, Balzac, Flaubert and Galdós, developed an early and deep admiration for literature.

This literary and cultural environment in which Josefina grew up marked the beginning of her path as a writer and artist, being the foundation of her prolific career in the world of letters and the arts.

Life and work in Paraguay:

In 1923, at the age of 14, Josefina joined her life with that of the artist Andrés Campos Cervera (Julián de la Herrería, Paraguayan painter and ceramist) and in 1927 she undertook her trip to Paraguay.

In Paraguayan lands, Josefina and Andrés initially explored the world of ceramics.

Josefina collaborated in various newspapers and was a correspondent in Paraguay for the Argentina Orientación magazine.

At the age of 18 she premiered her first theatrical work and her theatrical production includes about 30 plays and about 150 radio theater pieces.

In 1934, the El Liberal publishing house published his first book of poems “The Price of Dreams.”

This work, which is classified within the dramatic genre, has as its main focus narrating the living conditions of women in Paraguay, revealing, through moving stories, the situation of women oppressed by an ethically and morally disoriented society. It reflects the situation of the Iglesias family, evidencing a woman’s interest in men and the importance of a woman’s desire to find a good man. Likewise, family conflicts caused by criticism and the acceptance of guilt by some characters are discussed. Josefina Plá, furthermore, exposes how the mere thought of procreating, having children and being subjugated or subjected to male desire, represents happiness for them, since they consider that it is the only thing they can aspire to. The work is made up of dialogues and is organized into sections and scenes.

Her life in Paraguay was a period of intense artistic creation and exploration, where Josefina immersed herself in various disciplines, contributing significantly to Paraguayan culture and leaving an indelible mark on the country’s art and literature.

Recognitions and Contributions:

Josefina Plá was a full member of the Paraguayan Academy of the Spanish Language and the Paraguayan Academy of History. She received the Jefferson Medal, the Lady’s Ribbon of Isabel la Católica, the Medal of Merit from the Ministry of Culture of Sao Paulo, and was named an Honorary Doctor by the University of Asunción.

These recognitions are a reflection of her immense contribution to culture and the arts, and also of the admiration and respect that her work has aroused internationally.

Incomprehensible legacy:

Josefina Plá left an immense legacy in Paraguayan poetry, introducing an innovative air. Her poetry is intimate and nostalgic, evoking the past and the changes that occur over time.

She also wrote children’s stories full of humor