In Pursuit of Poem Shadows

Pureza Cantelo's Second Poetics

By (author) Kay Pritchett

Hardback - £74.00

Publication date:

07 April 2011

Length of book:

226 pages


Bucknell University Press

ISBN-13: 9781611480160

Born in the small Extremaduran town of Moraleja in 1946, Spanish poet Pureza Canelo, at the age of twenty-five, published her first collections of poetry, Celda verde and Lugar común (winner of the 1970 Adonais Prize). By 1979, she had settled upon an understanding of her own aesthetic evolution, which she elaborated in Habitable (Primera poética). Then, in 1986, after a period of disenchantment with the written word during which she published only two chapbooks-Espacio de emoción (1981) and Vega de la paloma (1984)-she redefined her position in Tendido verso (Segunda poética).
Designed to complement
Nature's Colloquy with the Word: Pureza Canelo's First Poetics (Bucknell, 2004), the current text deciphers the intricate poetic language of the poet's mature works, which, at the time of writing, included the two above-mentioned chapbooks as well as Tendido verso, Pasión inédita (1990), and No escribir (1999). The author traces recurrent aesthetic and philosophical positions that serve to differentiate the poet's first and second poetics. Tendido verso is the volume in which temporality supersedes essence and, in so doing, breaks with insights expressed by Juan Ramón Jiménez during his Modernist phase. In Pasión inédita the intimate pronominal discourse between poet and creative other allows them to coalesce into an indeterminate being. At this point the desired goal of the creative process is achieved; the "holy wedding" (hieros gamos) of poet and creative other occurs.
No escribir abandons the struggle of Canelo's previous books and carries out the method prescribed by her second poetics. She recognizes that only the creative process can satisfy her desire, and that love, the dominant symbol for creation, indeed, allows the pain of poetic failure to cease. Passion, nonetheless, must stop short of fulfillment, since the written poem, laden with the poet's gaze and subjectivity, cannot exist apart from its shadow.
In the final paragraph of her Nature's Colloquy with the Word: Pureza Canelo's First Poetics (CH, Apr'04, 41-4522), Pritchett (Univ. of Arkansas) states that with the publication of Habitable (1979), the poet had concluded "the first phase of [her] identity search." She added that with the appearance of Tendido verso: segunda poética (1986), one of three subsequent volumes, she anticipated a future study of the lauded Spanish poet, superbly realized here. Pritchett cites Lacan, Heidegger, and Zizek frequently. She does not view Canelo's work within a uniquely Spanish context but rather as part of more extensive international, aesthetic, and philosophical concerns. In the interim between the two volumes, much that affects Canelo's verse has occurred in her life and literary maturation. Pritchett ascribes two traits to this book: 'its return to ... and reexamination of all of the volumes that precede it; and ... the primarily celebratory [tone].' Like its predecessor, this thoughtfully conceived, densely written volume is enriched by copious notes, meticulous attention to detail, and an excellent bibliography.