Alfredo Chacón reflexiona sobre el decir poético / Andreína Martínez Santiso

Alfredo Chacón Reflects On Poetic Speech

             [Photo: Williams Marrero]

Alfredo Chacón confesses that ever since he started to write, nearly sixty years ago, he has felt a strong attraction to discovering the mysteries, enchantments and possibilities of poetry. Throughout his career he has reflected on this in his texts, but those concerns haven’t ceased. On the contrary, they continue to be present each day.

He tries to answer some of those questions he’s asked himself, without finding any definitive answers, in his most recent book: Ser al decir [Being to Speech], published by Oscar Todtmann Editores. It’s his way of sharing his thoughts not only with a specialized public, but with readers who feel an admiration for poetry, but in his opinion feel condemned to remain outside of it because they consider it incomprehensible, distant, directed only towards an elite.

“The idea exists that speech is a somewhat superfluous function of life. People say words are carried away by the wind, but in reality it’s actually the human function that possibly defines us in the most exclusive manner. When I checked the dictionary to seek its definition, I was thrilled: “To speak is to manifest thought with words.” I don’t think there’s a more precise way of saying it,” expresses the poet born in 1937 in San Fernando de Apure.

The author of Salima, Palabras asaltantes and Materia bruta points out that for him it’s more important to emphasize that the word is a responsibility of all human beings and not just of writers and poets. “The poem isn’t just a diversion, a cultural form, it’s also the act of being. There’s a blindness regarding that human possibility that exists in everyone. Speech is an attribute, a faculty, a possibility, while it also gives us an immense advantage in the cosmos, it demands that we be intense, respectful, that we don’t use the matter of speech as something to be abused. Many people think words are there to be used in prejudice against others and that’s a tragedy.”

Chacón doesn’t limit himself to reflecting on poetry from his own perspective. He also establishes a dialogue with the reflections of Latin American writers like José Lezama Lima, Octavio Paz, Ida Gramcko, Tomás Segovia, Haroldo de Campos, Rafael Cadenas and Alfredo Silva Estrada.

“I chose various texts by those authors and I read them deeply. Then, I did something I’d like to see in some books: I placed their reflections alongside my own. In that way, my word and that of other poets are intertwined... I try to speak with what I’ve been taught by the immense experience inherited from Plato onwards, but from my own experience. Knowing that in relation to poetry one is inevitably limited to a not knowing. Because you can say where the general phenomenon of poetry emerges from, but you can’t describe how it happened nor can you calculate why it happens,” adds Chacón, whose work has been distinguished with the prize for prose at the José Rafael Pocaterra Biennial (1980) and the poetry prize at the Mariano Picón Salas Literary Biennial (1991).

{ Andreína Martínez Santiso, El Nacional, 30 August 2014 }

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