History of ZURGAI

From the split of the Aralar Poetic-Literary Society (1975) the group would be born that, after several dalliances and unsuccessful initiatives, began the preparation of a mural magazine of poetry that, week after week, in the years 1976-1977, is exhibited on the walls of Bilbao’s Gran Vía (between the English Court and the then Banco de Vizcaya) achieving a great impact among those who have the opportunity to approach it to read, and in many cases copy, the verses that move them and whose authors sign anonymously with the name of the collective: POETS FOR THEIR PEOPLE.

Encouraged by the popular expectation raised by the then members of the group: José Ramón Blázquez, Rafael Martínez, Karmele Larrabe, Toty de Naverán, Eduardo Rodrigálvarez, Roberto Albandoz, Gontzal Diez del Hoyo, Inmaculada Melchor, Elsa G. Belastegui, Araceli Vallarta, Nieves G. Ordoñez and Pablo Glez. from Langarika they undertake, at the end of 1977, the edition of Yambo; collection of poems composed of photocopied and stapled sheets that were sold at the price of 25 pesetas to be able to access the edition -a little more careful- of 3 numbers, the only numbered ones of Yambo, during 1978.

In the fall of this year (1978) the group, shaken in the first months by tremendous ups and downs in the number of its components, (they reach a number close to 50 in the spring and their gatherings become difficult to harmonize assemblies) it rearranges itself, serene and closes ranks. From that period of reflection and inactivity, Yambo emerged as a continuation, in the spring of 1979, number 1 of ZURGAI, under the title of Poetry and Ecology. This 24-page issue far exceeded the Yambo continent, was sold at a price of 60 pesetas, and included in its pages some of the recent additions to the group, such as Mikel Estankona and José Mª Castañares. It also had the collaborations of Gabriel Celaya, Antonio Gala and José Agustín Goytisolo. The latter would continue to collaborate with ZURGAI until his death in 1999.

At the beginning of the 1980s, Severino Calleja and Amalia Iglesias joined, and shortly after that of José Fernández de la Sota. The first would obtain the Ignacio Aldecoa Prize for short stories in 1981 and the Lizardi for Children’s Literature in 1985, Amalia Iglesias the Adonais in 1984. Before, in 1982, Roberto Albandoz had been awarded the Bahía, dying shortly after (February 1984) in the aviation accident on Mount Oiz, in Bizkaia. In 1985, Pablo Gléz. de Langarika would obtain the Alonso de Ercilla poetry award from the Basque Government and the “Imagínate Euskadi” prizes in 1992, 94 and 96. Gontzal Diez del Hoyo would also be awarded the Alonso de Ercilla award in 1986, just like Amalia Iglesias who he would obtain it in 1987. In 1988 this same award would go to José Fernández de la Sota who would also obtai