Q: Vicente Huidobro* said that the Poem’s worst enemy is Poetry. Do you agree? What do you read in this statement?
A: Poets have to say original things, even if completely silly. One could say the exact opposite: Poetry is the Poem’s worst enemy. I understand the idea: Huidobro may have meant Poetry in the sense of something artificial, beauty without substance. Can it be it so? Since he is not here to enlighten us, I don’t know what he meant by this sentence, except that it leaves an open question which would demand an answer if we weren’t fully aware that there are plenty of good answers in Hell…
Q: Both the pulsation of quite a visual eroticism and a fascination with death – which is a recurrent theme – seem to co-exist in your poetry. Is poetry a space of collision between these two forces, like Eros and Thanatos? How do they relate to each other?
A: Death may have been a recurrent theme in my poetry in the first decades of my writing, and if that was the case it is because that theme contained a problem I perceived as real. Like all problems, it runs the risk of becoming an obsession, and as an obsession, it is somewhat unhealthy – unless you are a Ângelo de Lima or a António Granjo** – I embarked on other themes in more recent books. This doesn’t mean that, during that first stage, death was a dominant aspect: there are many other things, and death still features sometimes when the poem leads me in that direction.
As for the clash between Eros and Thanatos, it was something which was happening during the era of the Romanticism that staged a conflict between these two entities. I belong to the Oxymoron era which, on top of that, is also dialectical, and therefore this confrontation is nowadays something normal and logical.
Q: Your book ‘Poesia Reunida de 2000’ (‘Collected Poetry in 2000’) reveals to us a poet who has been writing for three decades and is preoccupied by a set of recurrent themes, although increasingly addressing them through a more contained and, perhaps, more chiselled style. What has changed since this last volume, how do you see your poetry’s route in the beginning of this century?
A: I’m not in the habit of re-reading myself. If there are recurrent themes I leave the task of finding them to the critics. As far as change is concerned, I look upon my poetry as a long poem which may have started at the end of the sixties and hasn’t yet reached its end. As far as changes go, there is nothing worse than wanting to change. I write, re-write, erase: this is my job.
*Chilean poet Vicente García-Huidobro Fernández (1893 – 1948)
** Portuguese poets: Ângelo de Lima (1872-1921);António Granjo (1881-1921)