Splendid and Immense

“Ser cronopio es contrapelo,
contraluz, contranovela, contradanza,
contratodo, contrabajo, contrafagote,
contra y recontra cada día,
contra cada cosa que los demás aceptan
y que tiene fuerza de ley.”
⎯ Julio Cortázar.

I have always believed that to write about writing is as relevant as asking a rhinoceros for its opinion about the use of chiaroscuros in the paintings of Roberto Ferri.

Any literary work, especially poetry, must justify itself without prologues or academic essays defending it or explaining it. The author’s superstitions are irrelevant. The author is irrelevant.

I don’t have writing rituals. I don’t shine my shoes, light a candle to the enfants terribles, and sit in front of a vintage typewriter praying to captivate the public. At most I take the poison of each poem I ever read, and I resurface with the drowned in the sea.

I write knowing that the universe is a word. Knowing that to write poetry is to open the door of the night and walk across the page towards the darkest sun: where stanzas draw near like mountains; there are verses shaded by trees and at the end of a word water is born, at the beginning of another the sky trembles and a bird sings again.

If I feel something mildly benign when I write, when the images of my poems arise, it is not the pleasure of creating but awe of the word…like an idiot in love with the wind.

You think you are creating the poem, but the poem creates you.

As if an electric fish has caught the end of the yarn and unraveled the fine thread mooring all the boats in your head,

Poetry transforms the poet. The poet transforms the world.


I work the silence, I turn it into fire.  

A bird sings again.

Poetry is the path the individual must follow to return to our collectivity.

Poetry either transforms us or is useless.

In the most Aristotelian sense, poetry should not tell reality as it is but as it should be. Reinventing language, transforming life itself into poetry.

True poetry should be written by all and not by one.

So that the malefic voice of those who fear the poem, surrounding it with their troops, dismembering it verse by verse, deceiving the world with their white flags and machine guns, don’t force us to sing their paralyzing song.

Urgent poetry. Like daily bread. Like the magical evidence that another reality is possible. Utopia is but inalienable beauty.

We will return together to the poem, devoid of adjectives, splendid and immense.

-Ari Belathar, 2016 Poetry Fellow


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