In Pursuit of Poem Shadows

Kay Pritchett

Pureza Canelo's Second Poetics

2011
220 pages
$65.00
ISBN 9781611480160

Pureza Canelo (b. Moraleja, 1946), by 1979, had settled upon an understanding of her own aesthetic evolvement, which she elaborated in Habitable (Primera poética). In 1986, after a period of disenchantment with the written word, she redefined her position in Tendido verso (Segunda poética).

The current text deciphers the intricate language of Canelo's mature works, which included, at the time of writing, Espacio de emoción (1981), Vega de la paloma (1984), Tendido verso, Pasión inédita (1990), and No escribir (1999). Kay Pritchett discovers recurrent aesthetic and philosophical positions that differentiate these works from the poet's early collections. Far from straightforward, Canelo's evaluation is full of twists and turns. Yet, despite such turbulence, the poet arrives at a decisive point in Pasión inédita, in which she recognizes that only the creative process can satisfy her desire and that love, the dominant symbol of creation, allows the pain of poetic failure to cease. Passion nonetheless, must stop short of fulfillment, since the poem, laden with the poet's gaze and subjectivity, cannot exist apart from its shadow. It is the poem shadow that most disturbs the poet. Similar to a worker on scaffolding, she positions herself close to the creative process and thereby assumes assumes a "parallax view" (in Zizek's sense), if not of the finished poem, then of its formation.

In contextualizing Canelo's work, Pritchett discovers commonalities with Romantic, Modernist, and creacionista writers. The poet's insights, moreover, resemble Heidegger's thoughts on time, being, and poetry, Lacan's ideas on experience and language, and Zizek's vision of the subject's relationship to the object. Out of the latter's "parallax view" a perception comes to light that requires poets to deny aesthetic idealism and scrutinize the subject-object relationship. Canelo's detection of poem shadows drives her to refine her approach to creation and to evolve as a poet.

About the author:

Kay Pritchett is professor of Spanish at the University of Arkansas. Her books include Four Postmodern Poets of Spain: A Critical Study with Translations of the Poems (1991), Pureza Canelo's Celda verde / Green Cell: A Critical Study with Translation of the Poems (2000), and Nature's Colloquy with the Word: Pureza Canelo's Early Poetics (2004). She has translated two Bolivian novels, Jonah and the Pink Whale (1911) and In the Land of Silence (1994).

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