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Cesar Vallejo was born in 1892 in the small town of Santiago de Chuco in northern Peru. He was able to attend Trujillo University and the University of San Marcos in Lima, although his parents were poor. In 1920 he was arrested while in his home town and accused of being involved in some political disturbances. Although he appears to have been innocent, he was imprisoned for several months and many of the poems in Trilce, his second book (1922), refer to this period, which was to have a decisive impact upon both his life and his poetry. In 1923 Vallejo went to Paris and in 1928 and 1929 he made two short trips to the USSR, which were to have a profound effect upon him. In the 1930s he became a militant communist, and was expelled from France, whereupon he moved to Spain. In 1933 he returned to Paris but again left for Spain at the outbreak of the Civil War, first to visit Republican territory and later to attend the International Writers' Congress. He died in 1938. His poetry written after Trilce only appeared in book form after his death.

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