Elena Poniatowska – The Commentary

A few months after her 90th birthday, the Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska maintains the obsession of good interviewers, who keep quiet and let others speak, waiting to catch a good story like the one in his new novel, the second part of The polish lover.

“I am not talking about myself. My job for almost 70 years is to ask questions of others; I am not dedicated to thinking about myself because my subject is not me. It is a good title for this talk, my topic is not me ”, he assures this Friday (26) in an interview with EFE the 2013 Cervantes Award.

The red of a good night half a meter above her head matches the white of her hair. It is the perfect image to talk because they are the colors of poland, the country where he reigned Stanislaw Poniatowski, the protagonist of the novel.

“Was a noble man; he must have been good at making love because he was a lover of Catherine the Great and it pleased women. He was very cultured, as a child, he had a warrior father who saved the life of the king of Sweden, but he did not like weapons ”, he assures when referring to his ancestor of more than 200 years ago.

Historical re-enactment

Poniatowska, who won the Alfaguara award in 2001, the Romulo Gallegos, in 2007, and the Brief Library, in 2011, he portrayed with his prose a king determined to give everything for his country, and in the text he recreated the Europe between 1732 and 1798, the years of the monarch’s life.

Lonely and sad, after that Katherine He took her virginity, peace and in the end the country, Stanislaw he moves his cards to keep Poland safe from three predatory powers: Russia, Prussia and Austria. In the end he remains a loser, however, he dies with the peace of having obeyed his heart.

As in the first book, at the end of each chapter Elena recreates the political and cultural life of Mexico and tells the secrets of her life as an advanced woman and as a writer with almost every possible recognition, except the Nobel Prize.

He insists that his testimonials are not previews of his Biography because he prefers to write about others. Now he has only relived memories, of his life, of his relationship with personalities and of the environment of Mexico in various moments of the twentieth century.

To write about the last polish king, Elena consulted many books in English and French because in Spanish there is nothing on the subject. She confesses that when she was little they didn’t talk to her about Stanislaw and when inquiring about his life, he loved his way of being.

Imagine an ideal scenario: the Polish ancestor appears in the garden of his house, presided over by a bougainvillea. Elena knows that this can only happen in a made-up story, but since she is dedicated to them, she is prepared to react.

“If I found him, I would give him the book, I would tell him that I love the last name Poniatowski; that I know Poland badly and would invite him to a glass of vodka. But he didn’t drink, so maybe he would force it. I would tell him that living in Mexico has been a Polish gift, that here we call politics the Polish, and those things, “he confesses.

The elixir of poetry

In the same way that people your age take pills for blood pressure, diabetes or heartburn, every morning Elena Poniatowska goes to poetry as a elixir, which may not have been the reason for its long life, although it is because it is more beautiful.

He confesses that every day he reads several poems and mentions some of his favorite authors, including Octavio Paz, Federico Garcia Lorca, Rosario Castellanos, and Cristina Peri Rosi, recent winner of the Cervantes Prize.

“Reading poems every day is something I always do,” he reveals, and points to his three-meter-high white painted wooden bookcases, on which the main works of the literature in multiple languages.

Would it be an exaggeration to say that if we all read poetry, perhaps it would not have harmed us Covid-19?

“Not at all, I think that’s a truth like a kilo of gold,” he replies. Poniatowska.

With information and image of EFE

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Elena Poniatowska – The Commentary