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Horrible Lima or Garden City?  A book brings together the poets who wrote to the capital of the gray sky

Horrible Lima or Garden City? A book brings together the poets who wrote to the capital of the gray sky

Horrible Lima or Garden City?  A book brings together the poets who wrote to the capital of the gray sky

“In Lima there are no anonymous dogs / We all know their names, their faces and their smiles,” Montserrat Álvarez wrote about our city. Another poet like Carmen Ollé became one with the city: “Lima is a city like me, a woman’s utopia.” And others chose to portray his people: Miguel Ildefonso the painter Víctor Humareda “in his ubiquitous window / of the Hotel Lima in La Parada”; Domingo de Ramos doing the same with Chacalón, and Jorge Pimentel imagining Rimbaud in Polvos Azules.

This is how our poets have looked at and thought of Lima, the City of Kings, the horrible. And several of his texts have been collected in a beautiful book: “Written Lima. Poetic architecture of the city 1970-2020 ″, anthologized by the also poet Carlos Villacorta Gonzales, which includes, in addition to those mentioned, feathers such as those of José Watanabe, Rossella Di Paolo, Eduardo Verástegui, María Emilia Cornejo, Mario Montalbetti, Rocío Silva Santisteban, Eduardo Chirinos, Giovanna Pollarolo, among others.

“Lima Escrita” is limited to the last 50 years of local literary production not only with the purpose of narrowing down the selection, but also to highlight some particular features of this last half century in the capital. Villacorta points out in the introductory study of the book that urban writing has usually been related to narrative due to a hegemonic discourse, but that in reality there are many cities associated with its poets, as the author quotes: Walt Whitman with Manhattan, Pessoa with Lisbon, Borges with Buenos Aires.

The first speeches about Lima were written by its poets: Juan del Valle y Caviedes spoke of the area on the banks of the Rímac river, César Vallejo wrote the experience of migration in ‘Trilce’, and José María Eguren remembered the Barranco spa with melancholy shrouded in mist. What is missing is to make that link more visible. That is the purpose of the book”, Warns Villacorta.

When looking at the whole, a complex diversity of voices and perspectives is imposed on the city. In fact, Villacorta affirms that his objective is to read “What a street with multiple entrances and not as a one-way street”. However, it is also possible to trace some common denominators in the relationship between Lima and its poets.

On the one hand, the idea of ​​a chaotic and strange city to which several of the verses included in the book usually refer. On the other, and in a more subtle way, the feeling of nostalgia that hangs over the people of Lima like its tenuous garúa. Lima is the city of nostalgia because it is the city of millions of migrants or children of migrants. All poets express it in their own way without realizing it”Says the author.

Villacorta, who has been living in the United States for a couple of decades and observes Lima’s transformations from a distance, also highlights the way in which poetry has reflected the imposition of the neoliberal system. “It is a poem that reviews the ruins of the leftist discourse now confronted with large shopping centers, exacerbated consumerism and the power of large companies”, he says.

The remoteness has allowed me to see and reflect on its accelerated growth: explosion of buildings, shops, restaurants, etc., as well as the excessive cost of living in a neoliberal city”, Reflects the author. And he adds: “It is clear to me that the right to live in the city is to create a participatory and democratic space for the common good of all citizens and not of a few. A city that excludes and discriminates against its inhabitants will never have a good future “.

A feature that can be seen in several of the poems included in the compilation, such as this one by Victoria Guerrero: “she returns to the only possible state: / childhood / her childhood in a bourgeois mansion in magdalena / that now it collapses like our dreams”.

Prologue and selection: Carlos Villacorta Gonzales

Pages: 196

Editorial: Intermezzo Tropical

"Written Lima. Poetic Anthology of the City 1970-2020" (Intermezzo Tropical, 2021)


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