Thursday, December 27, 2007

South America and Poetry

I was fortunate to discover that I will spend part of the month of January in Brazil for work. South America is seminal to me as a poet and person. I lived for three years in Bolivia and two years in Brazil and after that time I worked in South America for various companies until 2003.

I do not know anyone who has lived in South America who did not have their lives transformed by that continent. I do not know what it is about being below the equator in this hemisphere that makes the world seem new again.

There are so many poets who have filled the world with their verse. I recently put on Facebook a question about which modernist book was the most important. I put Trilce by vallejo and Canto General by Neruda on the list they got few votes but really these books are much more important than anything by Stein or Pound.

Canto General is the first response by Americans (We are all Americans from Alaska to Argentina) to the Spanish-Portuguese-English conquest of our world. This work that is viewed by some as a polemic- is in reality the song of the continent. Many American poets refuse to realize that we all live on this continent, that the Andes and Rockies are our spine, that the Amazon is our lungs and that the icefields of Greenland are our heads. That is what Canto General tells us that we are one and this makes the Nativism of so many "americans' so silly. As was said by the great Poet Vallejo "only the Quechua have a right to be against immigrants because they are native we are not"