Claribel Alegría, born in Estelí, Nicaragua, in 1924, is one of the great voices in twentieth-century Latin American poetry. She left her family's Nicaraguan coffee plantation to spend her childhood in exile in El Salvador. Her writing of the 1950s and 1960s reflects the views of the "Committed Generation" of Central America, seeking social and political justice for its citizens. She shared the Casas de las Americas poetry prize in 1978 with Nicaraguan poet Gioconda Belli. In 1979, when the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza regime, she returned to Nicaragua to help it rebuild. While both countries claim her, she credits the 1980 assassination of Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero as the pivotal event of her revolutionary commitment.
Alegría's mature work reflects her anger and sense of loss over the murdered and "disappeared" throughout Latin America. "Because of them I called myself a cemetery," she notes. She praises women poets giving voice to the victims of state terror. Her major works include I Survive (1978), Flowers from the Volcano (1981), Sorrow (1999), and Casting Off (2003). In this volume, published in Madrid as Otredad in 2011, she separates her writing from her daily existence: "She who writes is the other one."