Ernesto Cardenal (1925– ) was born in Nicaragua. He attended the University of Mexico and Columbia University and has been a political figure in Nicaragua since the 60s. Cardenal began writing in his student days and has written several volumes of poetry in Spanish and English. He is a Catholic priest and studied under Thomas Merton. From 1979 to 1988 he served as the Minister of Culture in Nicaragua. Among his awards are the Christopher Book Award, Premio de la Paz grant, and Orden Rubén Darío.