La poesía de Vicente Gerbasi / Carlos J. Soucre

The Poetry of Vicente Gerbasi

[Canoabo, Carabobo state, birthplace of Gerbasi]

The poets of the Viernes Group burst onto the scene with a solution of continuity in the face of Venezuelan poetry that while already exhausted intended to continue. The poets of that group that left the biggest impression, in my view, were Vicente Gerbasi,Luis Fernando Álvarez, Pablo Rojas Guardia and Otto de Sola; and from outside Viernes, the also excellent Juan Sánchez Peláez, as I see it, the only truly surrealist poet that Venezuela has produced. In the Viernes Group, only a few passing traces of the movement created in France by André Breton were noted, while Sánchez Peláez had ties to the Chilean surrealist group Mandrágora. He displays a poetic writing where one notices a flow of oneiric character, although not strictly emanating from automatic writing. He reveals a beautifully arbitrary writing, surprising and magical images, distant and dissimilar realities that approximate each other by means of associations, like Pierre Reverdy wanted, and which reason or logic would refuse to relate together. It is well known that logic is for rational thought. After Viernes, other very valuable poetry groups emerged with Tabla Redonda, the Sardio Group and later on El Techo de la Ballena, who continued to offer us a poetry with which Venezuela could, and can, exhibit itself with dignity before the intellectual world of this America. We don’t present these notes as a critic, since we are by no means one, but rather as a mere being who is sensible or... sensitive. (“The critic is a subject that enters into a matter that does not concern him,” Mallarmé said.) The poets of the Viernes Group were opposed by poets and men of letters from the so-called Generation of 42, slaves to precepts, versifiers, minstrel singers, ludics, makers of sonnets, compositions that had already been exhausted as well in the Spanish language by the great poets of Modernismo. Jokes were also made at the expense of Viernes; we recall that a good poet from the Generation of 18, a very dignified person, said with the grace that distinguished him, and noting the dreamful nature of his friend Vicente Gerbasi, that the latter should be named “Registrar of a cloud,” and someone else, also a poet, wrote a few jovial verses with the following title: “Responsary to the Viernes Group.” This made me think of the following impertinence: This one’s going to face the same thing as Mozart, who also composed a Responsary that later turned out to be for himself.

Well, then. Gerbasi’s poetics is signed by a lyricism toward the landscape and everything from there that surrounds him, surprising, luxurious images, a language not so much constructed as made by the effects of resonances, with an occasionally metaphysical treatment. For example: surrounding death, that mystery that obsesses him along with life in his masterful poem “My Father, the Immigrant” and from the famous verse: “We come from the night and toward the night we go,” enigmas that have been addressed, as we know, by more than one philosopher. Poetry for him was never an entertainment, a spectacle. Or any of those declamatory and pompous things that versifiers offer. He perceived through the senses those correspondences that Baudelaire spoke of, and which could later be glimpsed in Arthur Rimbaud’s sonnet “Vowels,” and this is how in the poetry of Gerbasi we read verses where he shows us the color of sounds or makes us smell the perfume of the stars. But I don’t claim this was an influence on Gerbasi, but rather that it was already in his sensibility, that’s what he extracted from his senses. Gerbasi is the poet that situates himself in front of things or the landscape as a mystic; the tree, the water, the sun, the animal, the stone, the star, good and evil, being and not being, speak constantly to him of the mystery. He makes from the real a quintessence in which a double dimension of things is accomplished, the real sense and another one that is developed within the spirit. Both states are integrated in a synthesis in which one doesn’t know what is real and what is marvelous. Or everything is marvelous. Those who study that double resonance then notice a being who, without being delirious or in a oneiric trance, is easily transported from one world to another, from a normal state to a privileged one and makes of both worlds, as I said, a symbiosis. Finally, Gerbasi’s poetry is a magical object, it’s not there to be explained because poetry is served exclusively to the senses and to one’s sensibility, and it is only through that faculty that it can be assimilated. There the word doesn’t work like it does in the dictionary or in the essayist’s mind, I mean that the poet doesn’t adhere to or doesn’t remain within the realm of what the word means there, he transcends to the inexplicable. This is all I can say regarding the poetry of Vicente Gerbasi.

{ Carlos J. Soucre, Tal Cual, 20 April 2013 }

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