The Lord Of The Books
19 June 2009
A box full of surprises. That is Viggo Mortensen, who - not content with having proved his great acting skills, becoming a worldwide sex symbol and showing that he is a crazy fan of San Lorenzo everywhere - now reveals a little known literary side. He has just released the book Antología de la Nueva Poesía Argentina (Anthology of New Argentine Poetry) a publication on which he has been working secretly and rigorously for the last three years.
The actor, who gained worldwide recognition after he played Aragorn in Lord Of The Rings, has never hidden his love for Argentina; he frequently visits the country, home of his beloved San Lorenzo. What many people don't know is that Mortensen has a profound relationship with literature. During his early days as an actor, he enjoyed reciting beatnik poetry in front of the public. He even published his own books. His main connection with literature is through Perceval Press, the publishing house he directs, which has just released a book that includes the most remarkable Argentine poets of the 90s, and that will available in local book stores next week. The selection of poets was done by Gustavo López, director of VOX magazine from Bahía Blanca, and one of the main specialists in contemporary poetry. They started to work on this book three years ago.
"When the same project did not work out with a Mexican publishing house, a British friend told me: 'I'm going to tell Viggo, he will be interested.' I had no idea who that gentleman was. One morning, I got a call in my house: 'I'm Viggo and I'm calling about the anthology,' he introduced himself. I told him I had to go to work and that we could talk at another time, and he accepted. 'What's your last name?' I asked. 'I'm Viggo Mortensen' he said. 'Oh, and what do you do for a living?' Fortunately he has zero diva attitude. So he explained who he was and we started working on the book that has just been published."
The anthology includes the work of poets like Fabián Casas, Washington Cucurto, Martín Gambarrotta, Santiago Llach, Marina Mariasch, Juan Desiderio and Alejandro Rubio, among others. They are a group of poets that emerged in the 90s, a generation who renewed Argentine poetry with powerful themes and forms that still echo today.
Last week Viggo came to Argentina to arrange the last details and bring the first books, which were printed in Spain. Lopez thought this was a good opportunity for him to meet Fabián Casas, a writer who shares his soccer passion for San Lorenzo. "Lopez had given him my books and he knew of our shared love for San Lorenzo," Casas tells us. "We met at 8 pm and we could not stop talking. At midnight he insisted on walking with me to my house. People could not believe it. 'Hey, Aragorn' they shouted. A beautiful girl recognized him and so he asked her 'What team do you support?' and she said 'Independiente', so he pretended to reject her. He is a total character."
Lopez and Casas said that the passion for soccer was stronger than the love for literature and cinema. "I really wanted to ask him about his movies, especially his performance as a Russian mobster in Eastern Promises, which I thought was remarkable," says Casas. "But we started to talk and we always ended up with San Lorenzo. 'Did you see the tattoo I had in that movie? It is a huge crow,' he told us. He also said that when filming in Hungary, the director asked him to cover the San Lorenzo pendants he had because they could be seen through his middle aged suit."
Poetry is a very strong literary genre in this country and those who love it are really hopeful for this anthology, since the sponsorship of a Hollywood star could attract other readers to a genre that is sometimes considered to be for just a few. Poetry for everybody is a real possibility; Aragorn fans have seen greater deeds. After all, what could poetry for millions be when compared to the adventures that he lived in the epic landscapes of Middle Earth?
Last edited: 23 June 2009 15:08:26