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Like a blow to the chin


I want to talk about Balam Rodrigo and his most recent book to actually talk about those moments in which reading and the aesthetic experience collide head-on with everyday life.

Unfortunately, dear reader, although the person in charge of this newsletter is a reader of poetry as habitual as narrative, he is also aware that habit is not always accompanied by the necessary knowledge to talk about certain topics.

That is why this space has limited itself, perhaps, to mentioning from time to time the names of some poets or to mentioning, also from time to time, a particular poem, as well as quoting a verse, inserted by there, in some previous installment, by way of illustration or mere cartoon.

This time, however, I want to talk about a poet and a book without, obviously, going into deep poetry or, rather, pointing to other territories.

So, I want to talk about Balam Rodrigo and his most recent book,

El tañedor de cadavers,

to actually talk about those moments in which reading and the aesthetic experience collide head-on, literally attack or run over the daily life.

Balam Rodrigo, in the bookcase

The first book I read by Balam Rodrigo, a poet born in Mexico, specifically, as he likes to write down, in Villa de Comaltitlán, Soconusco, Chiapas, in 1974, was



So, even though I wasn't looking for that book because, in reality, the one I was looking for, without much luck, was

The Central American Book of the Dead,

I was not only surprised, but I was traversed, shaken on the outside and shaken on the inside: that book, which I faced without having any idea of ​​what it would be, contained, distilled and exploded the odyssey of countless people in a circular and perpetual flight.

The urgency to find

The Central American Book of the Dead

, then, became an obsession, an obsession that, luckily, I was able to satisfy very soon.

The blow that the reading of Marabunta

had meant

multiplied, if something like this was possible: in my hands, in my pupils, in my entrails, not just the exodus of migrants, again, not just that language made of a thousand languages, again, not just that absolute testimony of an era, embroidered with endless testimonies;

not only, then, that bunch of poems that were literature in absolute terms, since they did not need more than the minimum to give rise to the greatest — “Reconstruct the faces of childhood, / those of those Central American migrants who lived, / They ate and dreamed between the posts of my house.

/ Their bodies and names have turned into mist, / drawn with lime in memory, / like the diffuse scribbles that I cut in this book”—.

From the common blow to the only one

It is clear that the form of the blow that the reading provides, for example, of the cited fragment is a blow that any reader who does not reach the book with the protective mask on receives on the chin.

These types of blows, capable of reaching consciousness and taking it to unconsciousness in a second, are sometimes, however, personal.

Blows that one feels, when they receive them, unique, as if they had been thrown exclusively for you, you tell yourself or think while you are reading.

That was what happened to me, in fact, when I came to the most recent book by Balam Rodrigo,

El tañedor de cadavers

—the poem from which the title of the anthology is derived,


which is part of the section

On the professions of science and technique,

It is about a man who, while carrying out autopsies on bodies destroyed by violence, imagines that he is composing symphonies: “To be exact, I work as a forensic doctor, / but I consider myself an artist, / perhaps the first expert in necromusicology: / I confess an indescribable thanatic melomania.

/ Let me explain: / my profession is in the morgue, / I work with bodies on the griddle, / but when it comes to necropsies / I reveal a secondary criminal interest: / I perform euphonies on any corpse, / I imagine hidden pieces for orchestra / in the human organs, / I discover thanatological music in the bones and tissues: / a beautiful score is each death”.

The blow that I felt as unique, as if launched for me, however, did not come from this other poem, but from the reading of

Cosedoras de balones de futbols,

which is part of the section

On the trades of air and sleep,

which, like the rest of the book, is woven by the echo of voices as everyday as they are common and which is also the poem with which the book opens: “And all my dreams go out without making any noise / just like all the people here disappear.

/ The women of this town no longer have breasts: / from our dry trunk sprouts a bunch of balloons, / a bunch of fat children of the wind / who do not seek the caress, / but the accurate kick that throws them away.

/ We nurse with innumerable breasts / those who have gone, / we quench the endless thirst of the disappeared.

/ Feeding ghosts with the dark milk of memory / and the hope of those who seek at least / a part of their own in any place: / segments of a balloon torn to pieces / by the insatiable pack / of the masters of fear”.

Explain the coup, that anticlimax

Why did I feel as mine, as written only or mainly for me this last poem?

Because life, due to chances that here are not more important than the importance of chance, made me spend most of the summers of my childhood in Chichihualco, a town in the Sierra de Guerrero that is the place where the seamstresses live and work. Balam Rodrigo balls.

That place, which in my memory was, until reading this poem, a space of naive and childish happiness, suddenly, suddenly, is that other place devastated by violence, specifically, that derived from drug trafficking associated with planting poppy.

That place, which in my memory clung to so as not to disappear suddenly, is another of the hearts of disappearance, which has gradually filled my country with holes.

Suddenly, the aesthetic experience of that marvelous book that is

El tañedor de cadavers,

in which the trades of those who have come into the world with nothing and who will also leave, in the center of my own life, are sung. only of the life that I share with all of you, that is, with everyone else, but also of the one that is only mine: in the center, then, of my deepest intimacy, exploding and exploding into pieces.

In the end, that is also what great literature and great poetry have: in addition to traversing us like insects on a Styrofoam board, they can, from time to time, disassemble us by tearing apart personal and shared memories.

And, of course, great literature and great poetry also have the ability to turn us into someone else, with a single blow.



was published by various publishers, including Praxis, Los perros románticos and Yaugurú.

The Central American Book of the Dead

was published by the FCE.

For its part,

El tañedor de cadavers

is in the Conarte edition.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-03-29

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