Viggo Mortensen, between poetry and soccer, as two parallel worlds

Source: La Vanguardia

Barcelona Poetry Festival - 11 May 2017
Barcelona Poetry Festival - 11 May 2017.
© EFE.
Viggo Mortensen, the American actor and writer, who will tomorrow participate in Barcelona's Poetry Week with the Argentine poet Fabián Casas, friends and both followers of San Lorenzo, have today shared with the press their passion for poetry and soccer, two parallel worlds, they say.

Mortensen and Casas will hold a poetry reading tomorrow in their first joint performance called "Dos Cuervos," a title alluding to the name given to the San Lorenzo followers, explained the actor. "A soccer team founded in 1908 by Lorenzo Masa, a priest with a cassock. So there's no great mystery; we´ll be two Cuervos who read poetry."

The actor has revealed that they had never heard each other read poetry until they met yesterday in Barcelona. "We bought a box of The Sopranos and watched one season and we didn´t begin truly working until night," said Mortensen, concerned about the reading, because "you always want to communicate well with people."

Mortensen considers that "poetry is alive in Spain and also in Argentina, although it has far less impact than the novel and no poet is going to get rich, although there are exceptions."

According to him, poetry, like any other artistic medium, "can be boring, dull, but there are moments that hook you and you don't have to be a poet to enjoy poetry."

Viggo Mortensen has not been able to hide his "sadness" for the gradual disappearance of bookshops.

Poetry's not so different from painting or even going to the movies. "Digesting what you hear is a way of remembering, of interpreting what is happening around you."

Asked about his possible advantage in a poetry reading across from his stage partner, Mortensen assures us, "He won't be at a disadvantage, because I read very badly," to which Casas replied that they have to read as if they were "in a dining room, in a casual conversation."

Mortensen, who besides being an editor also writes poetry, uses the multiple languages in which he's fluent, depending on who's around him, be that Danes, English or Spanish speakers and when he's in Argentina, "I even get caught up in the Buenos Aires way of speaking."

He admits that lately he's writing many things in Spanish or even in Catalan, because it interests him to learn and "there is something that Latin languages have that takes you to a sentimental place."

When he is asked for his bedside poets, Mortensen points out that he flees from those "trick questions," just as when people ask him for his favorite films or directors. "Or I provide a list of 500 people or I provide nothing," he assures us.

At this point, Fabián Casas responds forcefully. "For me, poetry is the Germany-Holland game in the 1974 World Cup final. The first minutes are pure poetry with the Dutch controlling the ball and the Germans not seeing it. Cruyff was almost like a Rimbaud."

Then Mortensen and Casas speak of the 1947 San Lorenzo tour around the Iberian peninsula, of the Barcelona of Guardiola, heir of that Clockwork Orange that Rinus Michels coached. They finish with "All pure poetry."

The meeting between both "cuervos" began ten years ago, when the North American actor published an anthology of Latin American poetry in which Fabián Casas was represented.

Later, they made the film Jauja together, in which Mortensen was the star and Casas the script writer.

About the readings for Barcelona's Poetry Week, both asserted that they've selected "sad poems."

When they ask Mortensen if he'll read some poem in Catalan, shortly after he admitted that he'd been reading Maria Mercè Marçal, the actor again responded with a soccer analogy: "I think they are being summoned, but I don't know if they'll leave the bench."

"Writing poetry should be a physical fact that gives you pleasure and writing poetry has to be a symptom of uncertainty," pointed out Casas, for whom Viggo Mortensen's poems are "very intense and very tough, because the world is beautiful and very cruel at the same time."
Last edited: 23 May 2017 12:57:25