28 jun. 2005

To return to work written much earlier and revise it suggests a peculiar relationship to time. I'm thinking of Antonio Gamoneda's book "Reescritura," a book consisting entirely of poems he has revised, spanning his entire career. He claims he finds no difference between "words that hesitate in doubt for an hour ... or for fifty years." The effect is to impose a certain uniformity of style on the earlier works, making them seem more like "Gamoneda" before he was Gamoneda--mostly by the elimination of extraneous discursive or ornamental material. (The loss, if there is one, is of historicity.)

If Gamoneda had not gone on to write great works, these earlier texts would have been forgotten anyway. That is, we are interested in them because they are by "Gamoneda." The book is in essence a selected poems arguing for a continuity in his work that might not be visible without these revisions.

Although I still try to publish poems I wrote many years ago I never revise them: it would be like going back and, impossibly, undoing mistakes in one's life.


I've been thinking about the unity of references in contemporary Spanish poets I admire. That is, they all seem to be reading from a common code-book. They use similar references and a common language to talk about poetry. The poets I don't admire so much have a different code book. I'm not sure how to translate this insight into an article. I guess what I'm trying to get at is why a certain Heideggerian vocabulary became so central to so many poets at the same time. Is it because of Valente? Is it just because European poets of a certain type all admire Celan and Jabès anyway?