From the very beginning, the poetry of Claudio Rodríguez has been carefully and fruitfully discussed by critics and poets who have succeeded in appreciating the special significance of its language and themes. Vicente Aleixandre’s predilection for Claudio Rodríguez is widely known, starting with the former’s early reading of the poems included in Gift of Inebriation. That was at the beginning of the 1950s, when social realism was the predominant current in Spanish poetry. Claudio’s voice sounded then clearly different from the rest in that unique, enthusiastic long poem, full of juvenile hubris, called Gift of Inebriation. A few years later, in 1959, Carlos Bousoño comments on the poet’s key concepts for the first time. In the 27-28 Issue of the journal Cuadernos de Ágora he publishes an article entitled “Before a new generation of poets”. In it, Bousoño describes the originality of a poetry that detaches itself from the patterns (without denying them) by which other fellow-poets abode (realism, intimacy, stylistic tension), according to the critic.

Mentioning Bousoño seems relevant here for his innovative contribution to the interpretive scene through the essay Theory of Poetic Expression (1952). Moreover, in 1971 he devoted an enlightening, full-length study to Claudio Rodríguez (“The Poetry of Claudio Rodríguez”) as an introduction to his collected works at that time: Gift of Inebriation, Conjurings and Alliance and Condemnation. This volume was published by Plaza & Janés in a catalog line focused on contemporary poets. In his detailed introduction to the poems, Bousoño locates the poetry of Claudio Rodríguez within the parameters of his generation, while giving reasons for the particular traits of a poetry style that he claims to be the most original one among the emerging ones: “In contrast, when we read Claudio Rodríguez’s poems –Bousoño affirms– it is difficult for us to regard it within the same current that carries those by other poets.”

Already in the 1960s, we find another subtle critic in José Olivio Jiménez. He defined the theoretical assumptions of the poets’ oeuvre in an essay about Alliance and Condemnation which is still the basis for further research today. Later, in 1984, when Rodríguez’s poetry prestige was consolidated, José Olivio Jiménez publishes “For an Essential Selection by Claudio Rodríguez” in the journal Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos. There he determines the essential, constant features of the poet’s extraordinary diction and thought.

Although other initial voices  –José Luis Cano, Guillermo Díaz-Plaja, Biruté Ciplijaukaisté- also paid attention to the importance of the poet’s decisive word, it was Bousoño and Jiménez, with whom Claudio held a life-long friendship, the critics who more accurately, and from an early moment, understood the enlightening reach of his work. In their opinion, the realistic appearance of Claudio’s poetry did not deny a constant, evident capacity of transcendence. Referring to the poems in Conjurings, though applicable to the rest, Bousoño speaks about a “realist and traditionalist quality that are transcended and transformed into their opposite: a universal concept that surpasses any concreteness”. A decade later, the barrage of studies and critical approaches grows without measure. Beyond academic production –dissertations, final degree projects, monographic issues, in foreign languages as well– , analysis about his poetry abound, always contagiously admirative. That is the time when the poetic group in which Claudio Rodríguez is included settles down. As a result, the first anthologies are published –sometimes pernicious in view of what they leave out–, among them, those by García Hortelano and Antonio Hernández in 1978. The name of Claudio Rodríguez is mentioned among the most relevant ones, thus surpassing the generational standard to gain unanimous consideration as one of the fundamental poets of the twentieth century in Spanish.

In the 1980s a younger group of critics, versed on structuralist and post-structuralist theories about the poetic language, focuses on Claudio Rodríguez. By that time, he had already reached his poetic maturity, having published The Flight of Celebration in 1976. In view of the new interpretations though based on the precedent studies, this renewed train of criticism –also nurtured by poets of varied trends such as Gimferrer, Jaime Siles, Aníbal Núñez, Miguel Casado, José-Miguel Ullán, Juan Carlos Suñén, Pedro Provencio…- keeps a rigorous interest in the work of Claudio Rodríguez. Four critics can be singled out for their systematizing of the poets’ trajectory: Philip W. Silver, who in his 1981 introduction to a selection of poems edited by Alianza, “Claudio Rodríguez or the Dreamless Vision”, suggests a firm surreal nuance in his poetry; Ángel Luis Prieto de Paula, who approaches the poet for the first time in the title based on his academic dissertation The Flame and the Ash (1989); Dionisio Cañas, who in the chapter “The Rising Vision: The Poetry of Claudio Rodríguez” included in  Poetry and Perception (again based on his dissertation) analyzes the poetry of Rodríguez in contrast with that of Brines and Valente from the frame of phenomenological assumptions. In addition, Cañas drafts a first biography of the poet in an endearing text (Claudio Rodríguez, 1989). Finally, Luis García Jambrina, whose main contributions date from the 1990s, begins offering detailed approaches to the rhythm and the role of orality in the poetry of the Zamoran writer.

This decade also sees the interest of North-American Hispanic scholars in the poetry of Claudio. C.A. Bradford, A.S. Bruflat, A.P. Debicki, M.J. Demel, I.B. Hodgson, N.B. Mandlove, M.L. Miller or M.H. Person, among others, devote a considerable number of critical studies to his poetry.

At the end of the 1990s takes place the unfortunate death of the poet. Yet the decade sees successive barrages of critical contributions: books, theses, monographic journals, anthologies… Apart from García Jambrina’s essays (From Inebriation to Legend: The Poetic Trajectory of Claudio Rodríguez and Claudio Rodríguez and the Literary Tradition, both published in 1999), and the new publications by Prieto de Paula (“The Solar Night of Claudio Rodríguez” in The Lyre of Arion and Claudio Rodríguez: Vision and Contemplation), new statements by critics and poets acknowledge the poetry of Claudio Rodríguez as one of the most solid and exciting ones in Spanish. Juan José Tarín, William Michael Mudrovic, Túa Blesa, Antonio García Berrio, Ángel Rupérez or Juan José Lanz have explained in different ways what has become a finished oeuvre since the publication of Almost a Legend in 1991.

After the death of the poet, his poetry has never ceased gaining prestige. Professor Teresa Hernández Fernández selects and edits The Vivid Contemplation: Critical Essays on Claudio Rodríguez; Luis García Jambrina publishes the facsimile edition of Adventure, the poet’s unfinished book; Fernando Yubero writes his study The Poetry of Claudio Rodríguez: The Construction of the Imaginary Sense; Luis Ramos de la Torre relates for his academic dissertation the poetry of Claudio Rodríguez and the philosophical thought of Ortega. Finally, further conferences and seminars are held.

The Claudio Rodríguez Permanent Seminar is established in Zamora, with the purpose of collecting all the available bibliographical, sound or audiovisual material in the poet’s archive, as well as of promoting research activities about his writing. Moreover, the Seminar has founded the journal Adventure, the only monographic publication about a poet in Spanish. The Seminar also attempts to divulge the poetry of Claudio Rodríguez in other languages and foster future translations. A first result has been the publication Five Poems in Hiperión, with translations into eight different languages.