28 jun. 2005

I like how in certain books of Spanish poetry the titles go after the poems, in parentheses. You read the poem first; then, if you want, glance down at the title, which serves more as a caption than as a (coercive) set of instructions preceding the text. A poem doesn't have to have a title either. Only if the poet feels the need to add a little something "outside" the boundaries of the text proper, some brief parenthetical explanation. It's like reading the poem first and then saying, "a good title for this poem might be...." rather than reading the title and saying "you are about to read a poem entitled ..."

Of course, if you have a really great title, this method would not work. You need to put the title in the prominent position it deserves: "No possum, No Sop, No Taters" or "That Time of Year When Butter Tastes Like Cold Water". If the title is merely perfunctory, serving to identify the poem, why do you even need it?

2 comentarios:

GJPW dijo...

Hi,

I'd only seen this once before and until reading your post I didn't realize it was a common practice in Spanish poetry.

I came across it in the work of Peruvian poet Javier Sologuren, in one of his later books. It made me read poems in a completely different manner, dissipating certain expectations titles sometimes set up for me before I even get to the poem.

Jonathan dijo...

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I'm not sure it is super common. I've only found it in a few poets. Glad to know you've confirmed my insight, though.