5 jun 2006

MotínPoeta en la visión de Mónica de la Torre, poeta en Nueva York

Hace unos días, Mónica de la Torre - poeta 50% mex 50% eua - nos envió esta misiva, alertándonos sobre su participación en el periódico virtual de la Poetry Foundation. Aquí reproducimos algunas de sus reflexiones sobre la cultura contemporánea y el quehacer de los artistas. Sus alusiones a MotínPoeta están resaltadas en rojo. Creemos que la aguda visión de Mónica dice mucho sobre el terreno que todos pisamos y además nos da una luz sobre cómo el colectivo está llamado a responder a las necesidades de lo invisible que quiere ser visible, que debe ser visible, que puede ser visible...

¡Gracias Mónica!

Dear friends,I’ve been invited to post daily entries onto the Poetry Foundation’s online journal this week. If you care to read some of my musings, go to:
(If you received this e-mail there’s a big chance that I either mentioned you or think there’s something in there that you might find of interest, although I can’t guarantee it!)

Mónica de la Torre is co-author of the artist book Appendices, Illustrations & Notes (Smart Art Press). She edited and translated a volume of selected poems by Gerardo Deniz, one of Mexico’s leading neo-Baroque poets, published by Lost Roads/Taller Ditoria. With Michael Wiegers she edited the anthology Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry (Copper Canyon Press). Acúfenos, a collection of poems in Spanish is forthcoming from Editorial Ditoria in Mexico City, where she was born and raised. Since 1993 she has lived in New York, where she is the poetry editor of The Brooklyn Rail and a graduate student at Columbia University. Switchback Books will publish Talk Shows, her first collection of poems in English, in early 2007.

Esta es una sección del texto de Mónica que apareció en el portal de la Poetry Foundation:

"One way to understand why often culture thrives in times of adversity is that artists are forced to acknowledge that complacency might bring about their demise and hence have no alternative but to take matters into their own hands. When there is a system in place to secure artistic opportunities, it’s easier to succumb to the temptations of navel-gazing. In the Mexico of the ‘90s, for instance, despite the turbulence of the post-Salina years; the appalling rise of crime and kidnappings, partially due to generalized corruption, the ever-wider gap between the have and have-nots, and to the drug trade; and the emergence of indigenous movements and the uprising of the neo-Zapatista army, it was hard to find poetry that addressed any of these issues either directly or indirectly. One would have thought the time was ripe for a new type of socially-committed work, yet what might have hindered this possibility was that writers of all stripes then had the possibility of requesting grants and publishing funds from the National Fund for Art & Culture (FONCA), and that a vast majority, at some point or another, received some kind of support. Nowadays Mexico might be one of the few countries where there are more writers than readers. It might sound like an exaggeration, but it is not unlikely to be under 35 and have 3 or 4 published books to one’s credit. Although the first democratic elections in over 75 years took place six years ago, since Vicente Fox was elected, things have slowly gone downhill in terms of governmental support for the arts. A lot of the people that were appointed to major positions at cultural institutions lacked experience and had little credibility amongst intellectuals and artists. President Fox’s most memorable faux pas was getting the first name wrong and mispronouncing the last name of the über-Latin American writer of all times: “José Luis Borgues,” he said, putting on airs. Luckily the long-standing tradition of not having to worry about whether writing and publishing poetry is financially viable continues. What has changed is the way people fund their projects.

A noteworthy group of mostly women poets, led by Carla Faesler and Rocío Cerón, have greatly contributed to redefine poetic practice among a younger generation of poets in Mexico. Under the collective Motín Poeta (which, by the way, sounds better in Spanish than Poets Mutiny, its English translation) they have consistently aimed at pushing the boundaries of what poetic activity might constitute, acknowledging that being forced to operate under an alternative, even informal, economy can prove incredibly invigorating.

They have embraced a new economy and have devised strategies to thrive in it. If distribution of books of contemporary poetry is not optimal, why not organize parties/ art exhibitions / book fairs/ electronic music extravaganzas every so often in order to give exposure to new titles? (A year ago I attended one of these all-day parties on the rooftop of a museum in Mexico City: many books I had been looking for in bookstores to no avail were there.) The scene is ultimately small, so it’s not impossible to congregate a vast number of the city’s musicians, artists, poets, and filmmakers at once.

If Motín Poeta had a founding manifesto (perhaps they do, but I’m not aware of it), I imagine some of its exhortations would be of the following ilk:

* Away with the victim’s rhetoric and the constant whining about the fact that people don’t read poetry!* Away with the solipsism that characterizes so much poetic production today!

* Away with poetry’s inferiority complex! If poetry isn’t dance music, if poetry isn’t cutting-edge contemporary art, force poets to join the party and engage in cross-pollination experiments!

So far, Motín Poeta has put out the CD Urbe Probeta pairing electronic musicians with poets in order to explore the mammoth city’s soundscape, and is working on another CD in which poets and New Music composers collaborate on pieces based on the different stages of life. Although there’s great energy behind the first CD, some of the pieces it features feel a little too much like superimpositions of musical tracks and recordings of poets reading in a conventional way. The second project seems much tighter in the sense that music and voice are integrated to the point that they become indistinguishable. Another project they are currently working on is the commissioning of collaborations between visual artists and poets for an art exhibition and book to be released next year."

No dejen de visitar la página y de leer lo que sus invitados escriben a manera de diario durante una semana.


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