Raúl Zurita: “I am 71 and ahead is the end: the night of the night” – La Tercera

The viewpoint of Cerro Renca will be the scene of one of the activities of the International Poetry Festival (FIP), which runs from Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 December. Specifically, it will host an event on the last day that has a suggestive name: Raúl Zurita, on the way to the Nobel Prize in literature.

Yes, because between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. next Sunday, the author of I sing to his missing love A tribute will be paid to him, which, according to the Festival’s organization, is intended to make a desire visible. “We seek that the FIP Santiago 2021 edition can attract the attention of the international poetic community and contribute to the candidacy of Raúl Zurita for the Nobel Prize in Literature and with this, contribute to the Chilean cultural tradition that is expressed, to a large extent, in his poetry ”, they point to Worship.

Strictly speaking, it is not the first time in recent years that such an initiative has resounded. In 2016, DC deputy Jorge Sabag tried to get the then government of Michelle Bachelet to support Nicanor Parra’s candidacy. However, the Minister of Culture, Ernesto Ottone, refused to take steps, arguing that according to the Prize’s statutes, no government can get involved.

The latter is true. In its statutes, the Swedish Academy states: “The right to submit proposals for the award of a Nobel Prize in Literature shall be enjoyed, by statute, by: Members of the Swedish Academy and other similar academies, institutions and societies under construction and purpose ; Professors of literature and linguistics at universities and colleges; Laureates of the Nobel Prize for Literature; Presidents of those authors’ societies that are representative of literary production in their respective countries ”.

Another important detail is that by statute, nominations must be made in complete secrecy, and the information is only released 50 years after an award has been delivered. “The statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict the disclosure of information about nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years. The restriction refers to the nominees and nominators, as well as to the investigations and opinions related to the awarding of an award ”. This means that nobody refers publicly to a nomination and that every year the surprise is the norm. If not, just look at the 2021 winner, Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah, whom few had heard of.

But more or less statutory details, the concrete thing is that Zurita takes the idea in moderation. “At the Santiago Poetry Festival I will read with my son Felipe who will play the sax. The Nobel, having read with your son, are things that may or may not happen, but the fact of doing that reading with my son makes everything okay, “he tells Culto.

– What do you think that there are people who raise the idea?

-Of course I am excited that there are people from here or there who believe that what I have done deserves recognition like the one you mention and I appreciate it. What better award than that? After all, life has been generous to me, I have everything I need and I don’t require anything else.

Zurita lives not only from poetry. On November 4, he appeared as part of the celebration for the 20 years of the Centro Matucana 100 together with a new musical group called Unidad Popular, made up of him along with Aldo Perán and Manuel Vargas. The experience of sharing with a band is not new to the man of Purgatory, since before he also had rapprochements with González and the Assistants.

Zurita, in conversation with Culto, recalls the days when Unidad Popular was formed: “I wrote my last book [Sobre la noche el cielo y al final el mar] in the midst of a series of interruptions from operations, illness and stuff, and it was physically exhausting: I had a hard time, for example, pointing at the letters on the keyboard. But that’s done and now I’m on something new: I write song lyrics and it has been like coming back to life again ”.

-How originated?

-The story is simple: a young friend who is a notable guitarist, the editor Aldo Perán, made me listen to some chords that he had taken from the electric guitar and, immediately, without ever having done it before, a letter came to me and I decided to follow her. I knew immediately that its support would not be a book but the shriek of Perán’s electric guitar, bass, keyboards, drums. The band is called “Unidad Popular” and the idea came from my friend. Little by little we advance until we touch the end-end, until we touch the night of the night.

Zurita shares one of those lines he wrote for a song. “It’s not bad and if you want you can put it on,” he says.

Who screams in the night of the night?

Who cries in the night of the night?

There is a lit candle

in the open mouth of grief.

There is a colorful child

and napalm

writing poems

on the lips of the sewers

At the end there is a bathroom

with black tiles

and a lavatory

made of syringes and rags

where to cry

Yeah in the night of the night

Oh yeah yeah, in the night of the night ………………..

1639107478 519 Raul Zurita I am 71 and ahead is the end
Raul Zurita

But the music and his recent book Above the night the sky and at the end the sea (Random House Literature) They have not been the only thing that marked his year. In June he was in Spain, presenting a book published by the University of Salamanca and called You will see auroras like blood an anthology that the Iberian House of Studies made of Zurita’s work. In Chile, you can buy from the site Buscalibre and in the GAM Bookstore.

“The editions are beautiful and it is an honor to be among them,” says the poet. The selection and introduction are by an academic from that university, Paqui Noguerol, and it surpasses everything I could hope for. But it is still strong; I wrote the first text of the anthology in 1968 and it runs through all of my work up to now. And I realize that it is 53 years of your life, now I am 71 and ahead is the end: the night of the night ”.

-How was the selection criteria for this anthology?

-The criterion is of the anthologist or anthologist: it is their selection, in their work, it is their poem. The machinery of time will erase the minutiae, the whims, the lies of so many dead books, but the anthologies will survive. Like old Homer, who borrowed from the Greek rhapsodies the scenes of The Iliad, the new Homer to come will be an anthologist.

– These days, what are you reading?

-I read the amazing OIIII of my dear Héctor Hernández and Job of an also notable poet, Eugenio Castillo and now Wills by Margaret Atwood. My wife passed it to me, PW, and it was not a minor blow -What a piece of author! tough, compact, one that knows exactly what it has to count and counts it. Her writing is crystal clear, but her head, God save us from a head like this girl’s! The truth is that many things come to me: books by young poets, manuscripts, and I try to read what I can. In this last time I was lucky: I read three outstanding manuscripts and that is a lot: World populism, by Hernán Contreras, Scriptures for the diverse community, by Miguel Alvarado and a masterful essay: Walter Benjamin: The Cracks of Freedom by Rafael Díaz Silva, which I hope to see soon published in good publishers. But that’s during the day, at night we lock ourselves up with PW and watch the series, especially the Nordic ones. It is a moment of pure happiness.

1639107478 704 Raul Zurita I am 71 and ahead is the end

Of course, Raúl Zurita is no stranger to the electoral contingency that the country is experiencing.

-A few weeks ago we had the first presidential round, with Kast and Boric going to the second round. Was the result expected?

-Yes, I expected it.

-What do you expect for the second round?

-Boric is going to win. There is absolutely no other possibility than a Boric win.

-Since the social outbreak there have been busy years in our country, are you optimistic or pessimistic about what is coming to Chile?

-I am optimistic. It will be hard, difficult, you will have to grit your teeth, but something better will come out. Sure so.

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Raúl Zurita: “I am 71 and ahead is the end: the night of the night” – La Tercera