Rubén Darío was born Félix Rubén García Sarmiento on January 18, 1867, in Metapa, Nicaragua. He began publishing poems under the name Rubén Darío at an early age. He left Nicaragua in his late teens and moved to El Salvador and later Chile, where he published Azul, a collection of poems and short stories, in 1888. This book is often considered to mark the beginning of the Spanish-American modernist movement.
Darío left Chile the following year and returned to Central America, where he married his first wife in 1890. After her death in 1893, he married again but divorced soon after. Later in 1893, he was appointed the Colombian Consul to Buenos Aires, where he became increasingly active in the literary community and the modernist movement. He published his second poetry collection, Prosas profanas y otros poemas (Imprenta Pablo E. Coni), in 1896.
In 1898, Darío left Buenos Aires for Europe, where he served as a correspondent for the Argentinian newspaper La Nación. He spent the next several years traveling around the continent, and he published many books of poetry and prose during this time, including Cantos de vida y esperanza (Tipografía de Revista de Archivos y Bibliotecas, 1905) and Poema del otoño y otros poemas.
Of his work, Octavio Paz writes, “Darío was not only the richest and most ample of the Modernist poets: he was one of the great modrern poets. At times, he reminds us of Poe; at other times, of Whitman. Of the first, in that portion of his work in which he scorns the world of the Americas to seek an otherworldly music; of the second, in that portion in which he expresses his vitalist affirmations, his pantheism, and his belief that he was, in his own right, the bard of Latin America as Whitman was of Anglo-America.”
Darío left Europe in 1914, at the beginning of World War I. After a brief period in New York City, he returned to Nicaragua, where he died on February 6, 1916.