6 may. 2009

There's a lot in Valente that was in Zambrano before: the interest in mysticism, "passivity," the union of poetry and philosophy or "pensamiento," Lezama Lima... He owes as much, if not more, to her as to Cernuda. What kept me from seeing that was my relative unfamiliarity with Zambrano. Of course he's written about her so he wasn't exactly hiding this influence, but for me it was "hiding in plain sight." Zambrano was an exile in Cuba during and after the Spanish civil war, and contributed regularly to Lezama's Orígenes. Valente didn't meet Lezama until 1967. You can see letters where María Z is writing Lezama about this young poet (Valente) who is about to make the trip to Cuba, and then letters afterwards about how happy she is that the two of them got along.

This is significant because there is this religious, mystical strain that comes out of Lezama and Zambrano that gives an interesting twist to Spanish modernism--kind of a de-secularization of Ortega y Gasset. It's interesting for me because as a non-religious type person it provides me with a problem or a source of resistance. I had thought that Valente's religiosity was just a metaphor for poesis, but what if is something more than that?

This is a very inchoate part of my project. I love that word because it means "unformed because in its early stages." A particular kind of formlessness deriving from something not yet having taken shape. That's a cool concept.