Finished for now, a sequence of 52 poems w/ prelude of six texts, divided into three cantos, each of which could be supplemented or rearranged, called Caracas Notebook. Using a chronological sequence in three repeated cycles, summers 2001 and 2002, parallel months. An essay as the second part to the book, its conclusion in 2003. (Fiction & non-fiction.)
The intent is purely autobiographical, ellipsis as the means but confusing political events of that period take place in the poems, becoming the central concern. A few anonymous photographs of the city and a register of conversations, stopped after sound in the hills.
The discovery of Venezuelan and Latin American writers I was reading at the time, by way of bookstores, living rooms and libraries in Caracas. A haphazard list of titles picked up.
Juan Sánchez Peláez
Luis Alberto Crespo
Alfredo Silva Estrada
Emilio Adolfo Westphalen
Rafael Castillo Zapata
Francisco Pérez Perdomo
Arturo Uslar Pietri
Ana Teresa Torres
Armando Rojas Guardia
Rosamel del Valle
Fernando Paz Castillo
The texts are not in direct dialogue with any of these writers, though they're sometimes included in epigraphs or allusions. That was inevitable based on the form laid out for this project, two Blueline notebooks, for diary, verse, draft notations. The formlessness of a notebook as a formal device, the sequential ordering of two months repeated thrice.
The list is a partial reconstruction of a library existing in time, avenues marked for referral, the stacks of downtown skyscrapers, walking excursions in el centro, Bellas Artes, Plaza Venezuela, UCV, the length of Sabana Grande, La Florida, Chacaito, Altamira, by subway from Los Cortijos to El Capitolio. Three decades compressed in two months. Numbers and zones on the maps by car, San Bernardino, La Trinidad, Tucacas, Valencia by night, up into mountains for the night over Caracas, breakfast pastoral in the clouds above the Caribbean sea.
Concerned with the 'postmodern' city. With that conglomeration of texts, dangers in the criminal endeavors against pedestrians, no English spoken outside the house, the poems in English about a series of languages.
Perry Anderson, The Origins of Postmodernity (Verso, 1998) and his location of the word in Latin America through Rubén Darío, modernismo's cosmopolitan bearings. But a new millenial frenzy to the violence of the city in early 2000s.
" 'Postmodernism' as term and idea supposes the currency of 'modernism'. Contrary to conventional expectation, both were born in a distant periphery rather than at the centre of the cultural system of the time: they come not from Europe or the United States, but from Hispanic America. We owe the coinage of 'modernism' as an aesthetic movement to a Nicaraguan poet, writing in a Guatemalan journal, of a literary encounter in Peru." (3)