love drives my poems

Zoe Valdez has the power to abbreviate a thousand times and a thousand places in just a few verses. No more, no need to prolong this lyrical keel. With three lines he grabs us by the hair and drags us through a field of daisies, then picks us up, takes us flying, and drops us on a bed of clouds. I am not delusional, poetry achieves these mysteries, it has no explanation.

As the author herself writes: “Since I began writing at the age of eleven through a personal diary, sometimes written in poetic forms – what Octavio Paz called lyrical prose – and with the secret ambition of becoming a writer, I have never abandoned poetry, nor have I stopped loving “.

He added that “love drives my poems” and that nothing amazes him like “living in the danger of unbridled love.” So he admits, with the same honesty as his poems, that this book is a summary of his life. In fact, the author explained at the launch of her collection of poems that she started writing these poems when she was 18 years old and that she finished when she was 62 years old.

This sculpting of invisible statues is sometimes slow work. And she takes the necessary time, the silences, the spaces, so that the reader can immerse himself in these images.

“A book of poems is not written like a novel, which is sometimes written in one sitting,” he said. “The poem sometimes takes much longer. The collection of poems is sometimes at a standstill and depends a lot on the state of the soul”, adds the author of the novel. I gave you my whole life.

What could I say after poets like Dulce Maria Loinaz or Cynthio Vittier entertained her? What can we add to Vittier’s crude phrase: “Zoe Valdés is poetry in Cuba”?

What should we write after Loinaz said that Zoe achieves in the poem “what they call levitation, a strange ability granted only to mystics and poets”? The author of YardBy the way, he had a deep friendship with Zoë, as the latter recalls, in the middle of that Havana of the 80s, where there was only tea and poetry.

How to break the rhythm and shadows of this book? The best way is to read it simply to relax, if possible in a quiet place, but also on the subway, on a stationary bike, in bed before sleep or in the middle of a busy cafe. In all possible ways, because his poetry is carried away.

The best way is to read it, find verses like “Get away from him who / advises you: / Write / Write a cure” because “He was never sick / Or never wrote anything.” Or those poignant lines where he declares that “The worst thing about being / An outcast / Is that there’s no place / In the world / Could be the right one,” but that “The best thing is that / The right place / is in yourself.”

The best way is to get out of that window, out of that screen, and enjoy the 75 poems in the book, because Zoe goes through things like a fortune teller and says, for example, that people are laughing on the trolley on Coral Way. dead’, while the trees ‘look alive’. And he drops reproaches, and truths like whips punishing the back, and promises like salvation, like a kiss that will be “broken by the cats of West Palm Beach.”

More about the author

Zoe Valdez (Havana, 1959), writer of poetry, novels and film scripts, she entered the Faculty of Philology of the University of Havana, and between 1984 and 1988 she was part of the Cuban delegation to UNESCO in Paris. After her return, she began to earn a living as a screenwriter and later became deputy director of the magazine Cine Cubano. In 1995, invited to a conference on José Martí in Paris, she requested political asylum. Blue blood It was his first novel, a genre he cultivated most, though without abandoning poetry; He also edits children’s literature.

Among his awards, Fernando Lara de Novella for sea ​​lions and Azorín for the crying woman. He was a three-time finalist at the Foreign Médicis in France and was also a finalist at the Planeta Award with I gave you my whole life. She was the editor-in-chief of the art magazine ARS Magazine (USA) and collaborated with publications such as El País, El Mundo, El Semanal, What to read, Elle, Vogue, Le Monde, Libération, Le Nouvel Observateur or El Universal de Caracas.

A member of the jury of prestigious literary competitions, in addition to writing screenplays, he co-directed a short film — “Caricias de Oshún” — and was a member of the Grand Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. His work has been translated into many languages.

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