"Peruvian expatriate Cesar Vallejo was a major poet, known for the authenticity and originality of his work. Deeply rooted in his mixed European and Peruvian Indian heritage, his poetry expressed universal themes related to the human condition. Sometimes called a surrealist poet, "Vallejo created a wrenching poetic language for Spanish that radically altered the shape of its imagery and the nature of its rhythms. No facile trend setter, Vallejo forged a new discourse in order to express his own visceral compassion for human suffering," Edith Grossman writes in Los Angeles Times Book Review. "A constant feature of his poetry is a compassionate awareness of and a guilt-ridden sense of responsibility for the suffering of others," observes James Higgins in The Poet in Peru: Alienation and the Quest for a Super-Reality. His compassion was informed by his own painful experience as an inmate in a Trujillo prison, as an expatriate political activist, and as a witness of the devastating Spanish Civil War. He also endured poverty and a chronic illness of which he died in 1938. Grossman relates, "He saw the world in piercing flashes of outrage and anguish, terror and pity. . . . A passionate, tragic poet, he mourned our loss of moral innocence and despaired of the injustice that moves the world.""