Daniel Pedercini

Orlando Punzi y el lunfardo

e was one of the men who, silently, accomplished significant achievements that only those who intimately knew him, were able to ponder. A man with an admirable fortitude, time will recognize him as one of the unavoidable characters of the Argentine culture.

Orlando Punzi was born in Buenos Aires, to a family of Italian immigrants. At age twelve he entered the Escuela Normal de Profesores Mariano Acosta, where he graduated as grade school teacher.

In 1932 he entered the Colegio Militar de la Nación (National Military School) and was flag bearer in 1934. He graduated as lieutenant in 1936 with the following awards: Pro Patria, Círculo Militar and Institución Mitre. In 1942 he entered the Escuela Superior Técnica del Ejército Argentino (Technical School of the Argentine Army) and graduated as military engineer.

The Comisión Nacional de Cultura (National Committee of Culture) awarded him for his book Tiempo de soledad in 1945.

He was an expedition member to the Aconcagua mount in 1951, which he climbed and repeated that feat twice more in his life.

The great writer and poet, César Tiempo, said about him: «Orlando Mario Punzi is essentially a poet». Furthermore, he commented that «after 1956 Punzi was discharged from the army for having defended the constitutional government (of General Juan Perón). A photo of his, when addressing the troop to combat for the defense of the rule of law and brandishing an Argentine flag, was seen worldwide. Foreseeing he would be jobless in a near future, he entered the school of law; two years later he graduated as lawyer».

He graduated in 1958 and worked as professor and later in management positions in national schools of technical education.

He won a great number of literary awards, awards by the Military Circle for: Romance de los tres granaderos de Chacabuco, Canto épico del Ejército Argentino, Tetralogía para una muerte de amor, Canción para un soldado del desierto, Poema coral para Alfonsina Storni, Romance de Barranca Yaco and Poema del amor irremediable, among others.

In 1966 he published his first book of epic poems La crines de bronce, which was followed by other numerous works in poetry, prose and essay, among them: La rosa de cristal, Historia del desierto and Moreno periodista, and was awarded by Fundación Argentina para la Poesía, Sociedad Argentina de Escritores, Círculo de Legisladores de la Nación, Fondo Nacional de las Artes, Premio Municipal de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Círculo de la Prensa, Spanish Embassy, Acción Cultural Miguel de Cervantes of Barcelona, Ayuntamiento de la Cañada de Madrid (Spain), among other numerous cultural institutions.

In 1975 the constitutional government reinstated him to the Argentine Army with the rank of colonel.

He was member of the Academia Porteña del Lunfardo (1977) and has been Académico Numerario since October 10, 1995. He was also honored as Ciudadano Ilustre de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (Distinguished Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires).

His other passion was tango. For thirty years he was necessary participant as spectator and admirer of the Orquesta del Tango de Buenos Aires and joined one of the groups of followers of the circle led by Carlos García and Raúl Garello Las Aves del mismo Plumaje.

He died at age 101, and left us a legacy for having worked for his country, being one of the most important representatives of a great portion of the social and cultural history of the Argentine Republic.

Sources: y