July 25, 2021 – 00h02
The work of anthologizing poetry, inevitably, implies the recording of the thought or the urgencies of an era. It has been lucid, in that sense, what the publisher Alejandra Algorta has done in the book As the flower. Voices of contemporary Colombian cuir poetry (Planeta, 2021), which I finally found in bookstores in Ecuador. Thirty young poets from Colombia. Thirty different ways of approaching genres, poetry and sexuality. It is a Colombian anthology but it could well be a space for reflection for all of Latin America. It is a book about love and desire as essential experiences of language, of the body and of the continental political present: “[E]Find me all smoke ”(Sebastián Barbosa Montenegro).
It will not be possible, in this column, to talk about all the authors, but I will try to consign my impression of this powerful anthology. And the essential, at least for me, is the language. The Colombian language that writes and builds literature; also that which enunciates and denounces the serious problems of violence; the tongue as a muscular organ located inside the oral cavity, which allows many languages, not only the word, the indignation or the joy. The language that, stripped of the ability to give pleasure, breaks and turns off in the context of horror and the destruction of bodies. No longer saliva. That language, which also complains through a poem and draws a new reality. “It is difficult to dig in the same place / where everyone arrives / Words / are a scarce and viscous substance / that I replace with my yolks” (Estefanía Angueyra).
Let’s talk, then, about cuir. Not queer, because the language in which these poets write is that of their country. “A substance made in Colombia. That’s what you are. […] You know that the star comes in the third level ”(Juan de Dios Sánchez Jurado). Diego Falconí has already written and reflected a lot about resenting what is queer and what is cuir, that is, the possibility, at least in the language that Ecuadorians speak, of thinking about the guinea pig from the Andes and the image of one of its animals mythological and most characteristic of our gastronomy and culture. But how does cuir poetry feel? “There is no definitive conclusion about the truth of your sex / nor prophecy about the world to come / Your face is indifferent Your name / insignificant […] How to explain what happens to us? / What to do with our desire for transformation? / The change that takes place in our bodies / is the mutation of an era ”(Carolina Dávila).
Lo cuir, like any reflection on gender, is essential in literature, because it allows us to talk about love. “That true love should always be able to be written” (Amalia Andrade). But love, and this has been the case since the foundations of what we call the West, is a political issue. “[E]l love is giving up private failure / […] foam from so many shipwrecks ”(María Luisa Sanín Peña). And love is political because there are loves condemned and violated, all the time, by an ideology, an idiosyncrasy, or a cluster of prejudices and malice: fear bleeding skin / sweaty and aberrant sex ”(Violeta Antonia Gómez). It is perhaps the fight against a whole establishment who wants to disappear: “I am all of you, plants / and all of you, worms / I have something in common with the disappeared / I am close to stepping on a ground, a destination, a sea” (Kirvin Larios). And no, the tongue does not disappear. That is why bodies write. Language is an artifact of memory and justice. Every great poetic anthology tends towards the founding of a new country and the capacity, as Raúl Zurita thought, to once again contemplate that countenance in the other, the heartbeat of the sacred. And meanwhile, every language that is horror can also be resistance. “I will go / and when the worms / come to eat my tongue / they will find it empty” (Johanna Barraza Tafur). (OR)