Francisco de Asís Leon Bogislao de Greiff Haeuslerwas a Colombian poet known for his stylistic innovations and deliberately eclectic use of the obscure lexicon. Better known simply asGreiff Lion, I used to use different pseudonyms. The most popular wereLeo le GrayYGaspar de Nuit.By GreiffHe was one of the founders of Los Panidas, a literary and artistic group established in 1915 in the city of Medellín. He was a precursor of the modernist movement in Colombia.
By GreiffHe was born on July 22, 1895 in the city of Medellín, Colombia to Luis de Greiff Obregón and Amalia Haeusler Rincóna. His father was of Swedish descent and the grandson of Karl Sigismund Fromholt von Greiff, a Swedish engineer and geographer who moved to Colombia in 1825 and whose family had played an active role in the abdication of King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden. De Greiff’s mother was of German descent, the daughter of Heinrich Häuslera, a German mechanic and cabinetmaker who emigrated to Colombia in 1839.By GreiffHe was also the great-grandson of Francisco Antonio Obregón Muñoz, who had been governor of Antioquia between 1836 and 1841.
GreiffHe was baptized on August 11, 1895 in the Parish Church of Veracruz by Father Pedro Alejandrino Zuluaga with the names Francisco de Asís, in honor of San Francisco de Asís, and León, in honor of León Tolstoi.
Although of mixed Scandinavian-Germanic-Spanish-Creole heritage, the family ofGreiffhe had a strong Colombian identity and was part of mainstream Colombian society. His family origin influenced many of his later works.
His first book,Misrepresentations(1925), while showing the musicality common to Latin American modernist poets, was innovative in his invention of words, use of strange adjectives, and disruption of the flow of language in an attempt to portray a world loaded with symbolic meanings.Sign book(1930) uses the same stylistic devices; the predominant themes of this collection of poetry are loneliness, the boredom of existence and the past. There is a conscious effort for formal perfection in an attempt to create a union of the language of poetry with the sounds of music.Variations around nothing(1936) contains deeply confessional poems with philosophical speculations on the nature of love, the artistic ideal, and the poet’s sentiment of life as an adventure.
Complete works(1960) reveals the poet’s continuing interest in language and sound experimentation. Later poems deal with themes that show the paradoxical side of human nature. The poetry ofBy Greiffit is often ironic, humorous and satirical to the point of making fun of itself.
In his personal life,By Greiffhe married María Teresa Matilde Bernal Nicholls, a Colombian of English descent whom he met through her sister Leticia. They were married in a Roman Catholic ceremony at the Villanueva Cathedral. Together they had four children: Astrid, architect; Boris, a renowned chess player; Hjalmar, cellist and editor; and Axel, an architect who settled in Sweden.