Dario, Rubenpseudonym of Felix Ruben Garcia Sarmiento(b. Jan. 18, 1867, Metapa, Nic.--d. Feb. 6, 1916, Leon)
Influential Nicaraguan poet, journalist, and diplomat. As a leader of the literary movement known as Modernismo, which flourished in Latin America at the end of the 19th century, he revivified and modernized poetry in Spanish.
Precocious and prolific, from the age of 14 he signed the name Ruben Dario to his poems and stories. He left Nicaragua in 1886 and settled for a time in Chile, where in 1888 he published his first major work, Azul ("Blue"). This collection of short stories, descriptive sketches, and verse was an attempt to apply the tenets of French Parnassian poetry to Spanish writing.
After his return to Central America, Dario took up an appointment (1893) as Colombian consul in Buenos Aires, Arg. Young writers there hailed him as their leader, and the Modernismo movement was organized around him. Dario's next significant collection of poems, Prosas profanas y otros poemas (1896; "Profane Hymns and Other Poems"), treated its exotic scenes and personages in a manner influenced by the contemporary French Symbolist poets.
Dario went to Europe in 1898 as a correspondent for La nacion. By this time, world events and his own advancing age had brought about a profound change in his outlook on life. He became vitally concerned with several political issues: the threat of North American imperialism, the future of Spanish America after Spain's defeat in the Spanish-American war of 1898, and the solidarity of Spanish-speaking peoples. The collection generally considered to be his masterpiece, Cantos de vida y esperanza (1905; "Songs of Life and Hope"), reflects these concerns and is the culmination of his technical experimentation and his artistic resourcefulness.
On the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Dario left Europe, physically ill and on the brink of poverty. He began a lecture tour of North America, but he developed pneumonia in New York and died shortly after his return to his homeland.
In addition to the three major collections on which his greatest fame rests and his journalistic work, Dario wrote approximately 100 short stories and tales, as well as several additional volumes of poetry and penetrating literary criticism.