(Hagan click aquí para leer este artículo en español)
I would like to share with you the speech that Fabián Severo gave at the launch event for my book, “Once”. Fabián is a literature teacher and a writer. He has recently been involved in the launch of a book written with secondary school children named “Fruto Del Desierto” [The Fruit Of The Desert], and a second volume named “Huellas de viento en la arena” [Traces Of The Wind In The Sand] has just been completed.
I thank him warmly for being there that day, and for the speech he gave.
His blog is found here:
“It is a great joy to take part of the launch of a book of poems because I feel that poetry is the one literary genre that gives readers the biggest interpretative freedom. It brings us the maximum of feelings, emotions and ideas in a minimum of words.
Those who teach at institutes of education have always tried to make us believe language is noting but an instrument, and they taught us its functions. Ivonne Bordelois once wrote “we are forgetting that a language is above all a pleasure – a sacred pleasure – and probably the highest form of love and knowledge”. Language itself is free, democratic, sympathetic and revolutionary. Free and democratic because it reaches everybody at no cost. Sympathetic because it us a meeting point – a whole community shares it. And revolutionary because through it norms are trespassed and innovations arise. “And it is poets – along with children –the ones who notice the ample and secret possibilities that a language brings, and they either toy with it or become its toys.”
Emilio Pérez Miguel defines in a beautiful line one of the roles a poet plays out: “dar vos a lo que otro siente” [voice what other feels]. When one reads “Once”, in some of his poems, verses and quotes one is bound to find a feeling, a reflection or an idea that belongs to him.
Emilio Pérez has managed to surprise with this book. He has managed to trespass some frontiers. He has modified the conventional structure of books – there is no foreword, there is no index, after the introduction we go straight into the second chapter and we stay there, strolling through poems that change from one day to the other, that combine two titles, that pose questions that are answers. We read definitions, concepts, footnotes.
Mayas used to say that language was something comparable to other senses like sight or hearing, and in the poems featured in “Once” these senses are combined perfectly through words. It is a poetry that you can watch and look at as well as read. In many compositions like “Paralelo” [Parallel] and “Te Apagarás Como Los Cielos” [You Will Go Out Like The Skies] the poet draws using words, and he creates beautiful examples of pattern poetry.
One of the epigraphs that is featured mentions time that repeats itself over and over again. And one ponders on that phrase when he reads certain verses and words that repeat themselves, probably in order to emphasize certain themes. I would like to name some titles: “Demasiado Demasiado” [Too Much Too Much], “Ella Se Parece A Ella” [She Resembles Her], “Dos Idiotas Y Un Idiota” [Two Idiots And One Idiot], “Dos Veces Dos Veces” [Twice Twice].
The revolutionary character of a poet lies in his ability to innovate, to come up with expressions we could not think of. Borges once said that someone should come up with an anthology of isolated lines. These are some lines included in “Once” that I would like to treasure in my memory.
In the poem “La Segunda Vez” [The Second Time] the poet writes “La primera vez que me falles la culpa será tuya, la segunda vez la culpa será mía” [The first time you let me down it will be my fault, the second time it will be yours]. One can’t help but think about all these second times, about the second chances we have given to others. The poem “Él Está” [He Is] reads: “Y no soy tan débil porque no soy tan fuerte” [And I am not that weak because I am not that strong]. It makes me think about temperance, in the risk that extremes always hold. Then, the poem “Ella Siempre Me Sorprende” [She Always Surprises Me] reads “Y ella si yo quiero me entiende” [And she understands me if I want her to]. The problem seems to lie in the fact of not wanting to be understood, and we ponder again on the power that words have.
I treasure the beauty of these lines “el silencio es una batalla parecida a un parlamento” [silence is a battle that resembles a discourse], “y cada día es como un mes que no está en el calendario” [and each day is like a month that is not in the calendar], “y aunque creo que no creo yo no creo” [and though I don’t belive that I believe I don’t believe] and “Fabián y Omar siguen la vía que conduce de muertos a viejos” [Fabián and Omar go through the pathway that leads from dead ones to old ones].
There is a verse that I think defines the human condition very aptly: “Soy como un arma descargada / que apunta hacia ambos lados / con enemigos que son aliados / en una guerra imaginada”. [I am like an unloaded gun / that is aimed at both sides / with enemies that are allies / in a war that is imagined]
And should the reader feel at sea when confronted with so many transgressions, should he feel that complexity casts a shadows on these poems from start to finish, should he fail to extract the meaning from some expressions, then he should listen to what the poet says in the final composition: “Siempre las cosas son más sencillas” [Things are always easier].
I wish you a nice journey through the pages of “Once”. Many will not find a single thing I have mentioned. Many will see and feel other emotions. And that is where the true charm of poetry lies – each reader will interpret “Once” in his own way. I want to bring to mind and reaffirm what I wrote on the back cover: poetry, if young, original and innovative, then all the better for it. “Once” by Emilio Pérez Miguel has met these three conditions.”