viernes, 9 de agosto de 2013

A Short Poetic Anthology

By Neil Leadbeater

Author: Luis BenÌtez
Translated by Elizabeth Auster with versions by Beatriz Olga Allocati
Publisher: Littoral Press, Suffolk, England.
Trade Paperback £9.99, July 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9558937-8-0

Luis BenÌtez is a poet, essayist and novelist living in Argentina. He is a member of the Iberoamerican Academy of Poetry, New York, USA, the International Society of Writers, USA, the World Poets Society, Greece, and the Advisory Board of Poets Press, India. His work has brought him international recognition and he has been the recipient of many prestigious awards including the La Porte des PoÈtes International Award (Paris, 1991), the Primo Premio Tusculorum di Poesia (Italy, 1996) and the International Award for Published Work Macedonio Palomino, (Mexico, 2008). He is the author of some 36 books (poetry, essays and narrative) published in Argentina, Chile, Italy, Mexico, Romania, Spain, Sweden, USA, Venezuela and Uruguay. 

Over the years, many of his poems have appeared in small press magazines and journals in the USA and the UK but this is the first time that a selection of his work,  (46 poems taken from nine separate books), has been published in the United Kingdom.

BenÌtez belongs to the so-called Argentinian generation of 1980, the generation that meant in part to disassociate itself from the immediate influences of writers such as Pablo Neruda and CÈsar Vallejo in order to search out new possibilities including influences from outwith their native countries. In the case of BenÌtez, whose poetry may be said to be truly cosmopolitan, it was a question of carving out a new identity variously composed of many different facets. His poetry is rooted in European literature, classical mythology, history, philosophy and geography. His unique handling of this material is what makes him such an original voice. In particular, the persona of the author is never to the fore, it is as if the poet takes a back seat and lets his universal themes take centre stage.

In This Morning I Wrote Two Poems Benitez concerns himself with the craft of writing - where does the Muse come from and why is it  that  the finished object is more than the sum of its component parts? Always modest about his own achievements and wise enough to know that the perfect poem is in all probability an impossible thing (but worth pursuing), he wonders

About the men who have said it better
and are now dead

The poem hints at the length of time that it can take for a work of art to come to full maturity, and how, at the last, it can have a transformational effect which can be out of all proportion to its existence on the page.

Several writers are celebrated in this volume. There are poems addressed to Vallejo, Pound, Lao-Tse, Keats, Schwob and Rimbaud. The title of his poem To Deprive Death of Its Arrogance carries an echo of Dylan Thomass poem And Death Shall Have No Dominion. The reference is no accident. Dylan Thomas was, and continues to be, a great influence on BenÌtez. Benitez has said of him, he was my master.

In KustendjÈ, By The Black Sea the whole poem, which is a meditation on change, revolves around the central figure of another writer from the past, this time Ovid, and his work Metamorphoses. The reference is to the time when the Roman Emperor Augustus banished Ovid from his native Rome to a period of exile in Constanza. Again, as with so many of the poems in this collection, there are several layers of meaning working their way into the readers conscience at the same time. In this case it is the skilful interplay between past and present: the ever-changing events of history.

For me, it is the poem The Astonishing Lives that provides the key to the whole collection. These are the men and women who have travelled the huge country of distance to show us their many-coloured fabrics, their words - they are the quiet influences from the past that people our creative spirit and are the source of this poet’s own original work.

Translation is never an easy task, especially in relation to poetry.  Unfortunately, the translation in this book is at times uneven and in need of some fine-tuning in order to enable the reader to gain a proper comprehension of the text but this should not detract from the opportunity that this publication brings to enable speakers of English to gain an appreciation of a selection of very fine poems that would not otherwise be available in the United Kingdom.

lunes, 29 de julio de 2013

La suerte de Daniel Burman

Por Lucía Camargo Rojas

 En La suerte en tus manos  (2012),  la última película del argentino Daniel Burman, Jorge Drexler representa de forma apropiada a Uriel, un hombre de 40 años, separado y con dos hijos que desea hacerse una vasectomía para eliminar la posibilidad de tener más descendientes. El mismo día de la operación se encuentra sorpresivamente con Gloria (Valeria Bertuccelli), una antigua novia universitaria que lo dejó porque él nunca hizo pública su relación. Las escenas mejor logradas del octavo largometraje de Burman se desarrollan en el consultorio del urólogo Weiss (Luis Brandoni), en donde Uriel habla sin pausa sobre sus relaciones con las mujeres, haciendo una clara parodia a lo que puede ser una consulta psicológica. Incluso, varias de las líneas de Brandoni son las que pretenden ser las pistas que den sentido a la historia (“La clave del éxito no es saber qué se hace bien sino qué es lo que uno hace mal”). Drexler se destaca por su naturalidad, al punto de que uno se olvida totalmente de su rol como músico, compositor y cantante, y en cambio lo percibe como un perfecto representante de un hombre maduro y algo perdido, capaz de añadir un toque de humor sarcástico a esta comedia romántica. Sin embargo, la película desencanta por la falta de conflicto. Gloria y Uriel vuelven a ser pareja fácilmente y la mentira en la que se basa su reencuentro (Uriel le dice a Gloria que él es quien traerá de regreso al aclamado grupo la Trova rosarina) no alcanza a suscitar mayores obstáculos entre la pareja, haciendo que aunque la película se deje ver y sea amena, no sea precisamente la obra maestra de Burman. Daniel Burman es reconocido por ser un representante de la nueva ola del cine argentino. A pesar de que su largometraje El abrazo partido (2004) ha sido aclamado por la crítica y se le reconozca por películas como Esperando al mesías  (2000) y El nido vacío  (2008), sus más recientes obras carecen de la fuerza de las primeras. En particular, La suerte en tus manos  pareciera desaprovechar su reparto y el potencial de la historia. La magnífica Norma Aleandro representa fugazmente a Susan, la madre de Gloria. Pero aunque la reconocida actriz interpreta un par de líneas interesantes, particularmente cuando habla de su relación con su ex esposo, es una pena que su actuación pareciera desconectada del hilo conductor, cuando podría ser clave para entender la vida amorosa de Susan. Incluso la idea de que la suerte la construye uno mismo es interesante, pero tampoco se explota lo suficiente en los juegos de póker de Uriel ni en la película en general. Al final uno siente que el protagonista podría o no haber construido su futuro y aunque Burman intenta crear un momento epifánico en el que Uriel toma las riendas de su vida, la escena resulta algo llana y sin vida. Definitivamente La suerte en tus manos no es la película para conocer el trabajo de Burman pero sí para ver el debut de Drexler.

miércoles, 5 de junio de 2013

James Turrell in Houston

James Turrell: The Light Inside from Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on Vimeo.

James Turrell: The Light Inside explores the remarkable career of James Turrell (born 1943). Raised in a Quaker household and coming of age in the radical climate of the 1960s, Turrell has created some of the most beautiful art of our time, treating light as a material presence in perfectly calculated installations. Viewers are invited to investigate the margins of perception, to measure the passage of time, and—in the artist’s words—“to enter the light.”
 This exhibition features seven immersive light environments, ranging from Turrell’s first projections of the late 1960s to his most recent Tall Glass series of 2010–13, as well as three print portfolios and site plans relating to Roden Crater. All are from the collection of the MFAH, and most are being created for the first time for this exhibition. Also on view is The Light Inside, the Museum’s beloved light tunnel, commissioned by Isabel B. and Wallace S. Wilson to connect the Caroline Wiess Law Building with the Audrey Jones Beck Building.

About the artist
Born in Los Angeles in 1943 to a Quaker mother and a father who was a school administrator, James Turrell attended Pomona College, where his studies concentrated on psychology and mathematics. He later received a master's degree in Art from Claremont Graduate School. Turrell’s work has been widely acclaimed and exhibited since his first showing at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1967, which established him as a leader in the nascent Light and Space Movement in Southern California. His work has since been presented at major venues including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1976); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1980); the Israel Museum (1982); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1984); MAK, Vienna (1998–99); the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh (2002–03); and the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2009–10); and was included in the 54th Venice Biennale (2011). In addition to the exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in summer 2013, Turrell’s art is on view in a solo exhibition at the Academy Art Museum, Easton, Maryland. The artist’s work is represented in numerous public collections including the Tate Modern, London; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Turrell has created more than seventy Skyspaces in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, with the first made in 1974 for Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo at his home in Varese, Italy.

domingo, 12 de mayo de 2013

Entrevista a Juan Rulfo

En 1977 Juan Rulfo habló con Joaquín Soler Serrano para Televisión española. Compartimos esta conversación con nuestros lectores:

jueves, 11 de abril de 2013

I Concurso Literario de la Revista Literal de Novela Corta * Cuento * Poesia * Ensayo

Estimados Participantes, el servidor de nuestra página tuvo problemas entre la noche del 10 de abril, hasta la tarde del 11 de abril. Eso provocó que nuestra página web desapareciera por momentos. sin embargo, el servicio ya ha quedado restablecido.
Pueden mandar sus trabajos para el concurso a las siguientes direcciones:

viernes, 1 de febrero de 2013

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, a Mexican Opera

Houston Grand Opera debuted the world's first mariachi opera and after a successful run in Paris it returns home to Houston in March of 2013. 

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna is a dynamic and inspirational work that captures the nature of the immigrant experience.  Written by composer and writer José “Pepe” Martínez (music director of the world famous Mariachi Vargas  de Tecalitlán) and directed by Broadway director and author Leonard Foglia, who also wrote the lyrics, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna is a fusion of the traditions of mariachi songs and opera, both of which speak through music about love and loss, family and country.

Literal had the opportunitty to talk to  Broadway director and author Leonard Foglia who wrote the lyrics for Cruzar la cara de la luna

How did you come out with an idea like this and what were the challenges you encountered when you translated the immigrant experience into opera and mariachi music?
Anthony Freud, the General Director of HGO at the time, first had the idea to try to find a way to use mariachi music for the opera stage. It fell to me to come up with a story that would have meaning for the Mexican-American community in Houston. And I knew immediately that if the style of the music was to be mariachi then I had to steer away from anything overtly political and that the story being told would have to be an emotional one

The immigration is a phenomenon that has been present in the US for many years. However, there was always the doubt about the community´s capacity to appreciate this kind of cultural expression. What are your thoughts on this?
We are at a time in our history, here in the US, when the issue of immigration is front and center. Just a few days ago the President mentioned it in his Inaugural address. But part of the problem is that so many people look at it as just an ‘issue’. That’s why I chose to tell a very specific personal story of a family. I wanted to show the faces behind the discussion.

Will you be producing more shows of this nature?
With Mariachi? Right now nothing is planned. But I would like to.

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna set a new benchmark in operatic storytelling, why is so?
When I was first interviewing different immigrants about their lives and wondering myself about the use of this type of music I would ask – tell me what comes to mind when I mention mariachi music – and the answer that struck me the most was – home. So, I knew if we were starting from a place where there is already an emotional attachment to a style of music then we were the ones taking a step toward a community by offering something that already had meaning for them. We are not only saying that your story belongs up on this stage but so does your music.

You had a successful season in Paris. Can you share with us your experiences there? Did you go to any other place in Europe?
The most startling moment in Paris, which has no history of mariachi music and to my knowledge is not invested in the Mexican-American experience at all, came from a comment by one of the administrators of the theater. She decided to bring her children to a performance and with them was their Croatian nanny. When the administrator went to see how her children liked the performance she found that the nanny was crying. When asked why the performance affected her so much the nanny said, “It’s my story.”

What made you take the decision to come back to Houston?
We are hoping that those who missed it the first time round, and not just those in the Hispanic community, will have the opportunity now.

jueves, 17 de enero de 2013

American Modern

Drawn from MoMA’s collection, American Modern takes a fresh look at the Museum’s holdings of American art made between 1915 abd 1950, and considers the cultural preoccupations of a rapidly changing American society in the first half of the 20th century. Including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, and film, American Modern brings together some of the Museum’s most celebrated masterworks, contextualizing them across mediums and amidst lesser-seen but revelatory works by artists who expressed compelling emotional and visual tendencies of the time.
The selection of works depicts subjects as diverse as urban and rural landscapes, scenes of industry, still-life compositions, and portraiture, and is organized thematically, with visual connections trumping strict chronology. Artists represented include George Bellows, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Sheeler, Alfred Stieglitz, and Andrew Wyeth, among many others. Far from an encyclopedic view of American art of the period, the exhibition is a focused look at the strengths and surprises of MoMA’s collection in an area that has played a major role in the institution’s history. The exhibition is organized by Kathy Curry, Assistant Curator for Research and Collections, and Esther Adler, Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings.

*First and second images:
Georgia O’Keeffe (American, 1887–1986). Evening Star, No. III. 1917. Watercolor on paper mounted on board. 8 7/8 x 11 7/8″ (22.7 x 30.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Donald B. Straus Fund. © 2012 The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Imaging Studio
George Bellows (American, 1882–1925). Dempsey and Firpo. 1923-24. Lithograph composition: 18 1/8 x 22 3/8″ (46 x 56.9 cm), sheet: 22 3/4 x 26″ (57.8 x 66 cm). Publisher: probably the artist, New York
Printer: Bolton Brown, New York. Edition: 103. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Imaging Studio