I got to dig into the archives. The archives! So hidden that they had to use a Mars rover to retrieve it.
Damaso Alonso was an early twentieth century poet.
“Life is ‘monstrous’ because it is unintelligible.”
Poetry from post-Franco Spain, with rage derived from this time, when the poet lost so many of his poet friends. Prior to the Spanish Civil War, Alonso wrote poetry that awed at the beauty of the world. After the war, this all changed dramatically.
He wrote the first Spanish “protest” poetry. But it wasn’t just a protest against the oppression of his government, and the decades of almost relentless war and death- it was a “universal, cosmic protest, which of course includes all those other partial wraths.”
One of the themes that recurs throughout the book of poetry is a slight obsession with insects, with their buzzing and “gnawing.” That’s what drew me to the book in the first place (which is not easy to find in America).
I’m studying insects, consciousness and trying to find where these things could possibly intersect with poetry. Alonso’s poetry could not have been more perfect for the further understanding of those connections.
It’s out of print, and difficult to get your hands on a bilingual version (although boning up on Spanish this way is wonderful), but if you can manage to- Alonso’s poetry is beautiful and raging, a reflection of his time and the current of anger and disbelief that has overwhelmed the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.