On China and other niceties
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Poetry

The Poet

By | Hay Festival, Poetry | No Comments

 

The incredible story of Andrés Mirón and how in an irony of fate, right before being killed in a road accident, he won the Villa de Aoiz International Poetry Competition in 2004 with the poem When nothing matters any more.

Most of the time in the IE China Center’s blog On China and Other Niceties I write about China, but just as we can’t eat our favorite dish every day, to hell with China this time, and instead here’s a nicety as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary: “the small details or points of difference, especially concerning the correct way of behaving or of doing things.”

On June 14, while enjoying a coffee together, my colleague Soledad Mirón told me the story of the renowned poet Andrés Mirón, who was killed in a road accident two days before winning the Villa de Aoiz International Poetry Competition in 2004. In an irony of fate, the poem that earned him the prize was called When nothing matters any more. His death brought an illustrious career to an end, with more than 30 collections of poetry published, along with numerous prizes. Soledad collected the Villa de Aoiz prize on behalf of her father.

This October will be the 15th anniversary of Andres Mirón’s death and Soledad wants to pay tribute by reading one of her father’s poems on September 22 in the Jardín del Romeral at 11 am during the Segovia Hay Festival.

P.S.: We are grateful to the Segovia Hay Festival Director Sheila Chremaschi and the Managing Director of IE Fund Geoffroy Gerard for their help on this matter.

andres-miron-pinturas

Watercolours by Painter Manuel Chaves, a friend of the poet Andrés Mirón

 

THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF FORGETTING, a sonnet from the book AUTUMN IN BENALIXA

You ask me to forget you and what I forget
is to do just what you ask me.
In the ice of my life, you decide.
I decide in the honey of what’s been lived.

Forget you, why? What hurt you so
that you say goodbye to me with such indifference?
If perhaps my fire doesn’t suit you,
then neither does your ice suit me.

I fear hurting you by saying that I still kiss
the silk of your voice and am enraptured
remembering the brilliance of our story.

and this is how I forget to forget you.
Now, while I live, I will live to love you,
because you live forever in my memory.

distance

Distance

By | China, Poetry

Zhou Dunyi & the lotus flower

 

The other day I showed my colleague Jaime Pascual, who claims to dislike poetry, a bad poem of mine (see below), called Distance, which vaguely (distantly) echoes the comments of eleventh century Chinese philosopher Zhou Dunyi (周敦頤) about Tao Yuanming’s (陶渊明) love of lotus flowers, writing seven hundred years earlier: “The lotus flower can be only appreciated from a distance, touching one is blasphemy” (可远观而不可亵玩焉)…The lotus flower emerges from the mud unsoiled (出淤泥而不染).

Perhaps we too should learn to keep our distance as we go about our daily lives, the better to remain unsoiled, like lotus flowers, oblivious to the mud around us. Jaime said he liked the idea of my poem and I was glad he had grasped it through poetry. I am convinced that poetry alone can express things in such a way as to make us believe there is still a chance of emerging from the mud unsoiled!

 

tao yuanming

The Poet Tao Yuanming (陶渊明)

 

DISTANCE (1)

You wander through space.

Distance annoys. Distance intrigues.

You leave one place to get to another.

And when you get there…

It’s clear you don’t like what you find.

It could have been different.

In any event, where there’s distance you want to reduce distance.

Distance is stronger than taste.

You only want to conquer distance.

That’s why you travel from origin to destination.

Distance annoys, distance intrigues.

You only want to conquer distance.

 

 

dibugrafia distancia


(1).

This poem was not included in my book Dibugrafías

Revolver verses

By | Poetry | No Comments

I’ve been invited to take part in Versos al paso, set up by Madrid City Hall and urban artists Boa mistura. This literary initiative presents pedestrians with fragments of poetry at some 1,100 zebra crossings throughout the Spanish capital’s 21 districts. Below, photos of the two verses I contributed. 

¡No hay quien dé con su destino!!! (not a literal translation, but something like: There’s no chance of meeting our destiny!!!),
(at the crossing by 85 Bravo Murillo Street, not far from IE Business School, where I work.)

“Hasta la nada tiene algo” (Even nothingness has something),
(where the Paseo de los Ferroviarios meets Nuno Gómez street, in the Villaverde district.)

And here’s a photo of the lines written by Loreto Sesma, a young writer I discovered, so to speak, on 13 Mateo Inurria street. I would recommend her book, Amor revolver, which she describes as a “collection of poems with six bullets. Like Russian roulette, the reader plays with the six bullets until, inevitably, one enters him or her.” The bullets, needless to say, are Loreto’s words:

“Keep the Kiss, burn the verse, shrug off the burden and fly.”

Two of my proposals for Versos al Paso were chosen: He’s the third:

Dónde estás, Amor?  (Where are you, Love?)

For me, love is either a revolver, which kills you, like Loreto Sesma says, or there’s no chance of ever finding it, like our destiny!

 

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