Poetry is everything, including the Creator of everything. Poetry is God," said Ernesto Cardenal on Thursday after receiving from the hands of Spain's queen the Queen Sofia Ibero-American Poetry Award at a ceremony held at the Royal Palace.

The 87-year-old poet, Catholic priest and theologian who served as Nicaragua's culture minister following the ouster of the Somoza dictatorship also said: "For poetry to be promoted by a queen is something that other leaders should imitate."

In his acceptance speech, Cardenal discussed the meaning of the word Sofia, spelled Sophia in English, which means wisdom in Greek, to evoke that "very mysterious and very attractive" biblical figure that Christian tradition interprets as "an attribute of God, like God in its creation and also like Christ, wisdom of God, and creative Word of God."

Therefore, he said, "It's like saying that Sophia is the Poetry of God."

The choice of Cardenal for this year's Queen Sofia Prize broke the institution's unwritten rule that the award should alternate between Spanish and Latin American poets.

The 2011 prize went to Cuba's Fina Garcia Marruz. EFE