Viggo Mortensen Is Now A Champion Of Argentine Poetry
By Matías Repar - translated by Zooey
12 August 2009
In yesterday's presentation the literary public blended with the actor's fans
Presentation of the book Nueva Poesin Argentina ….
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A young man who carries a screenplay to give to actor Viggo Moretensen. A young girl with a flag - what do you think it said? - wrapped around her. People, people, people. Yesterday, in the Spanish Cultural Center of Buenos Aires, the publishing house Perceval Press presented the Anthology of New Argentine Poetry. What has this got to do with what was previously mentioned? The protagonist of The Lord of the Rings is the founder, owner and director of the publishing house.
Previously released in the United States, and with editor Gustavo López in charge of the selection of the works, the spectrum of the compilation intends to feature the last 15 years in the field of Argentine poetry, "The 90's Generation." There are 22 authors with different aesthetic lines and styles.
Among them are Fabián Casas, Washington Cucurto, Juan Desierio, Francisco Garamona, Daniel G. Helder, Marina Mariash, María Medrano, Martín Prieto, Damián Ríos, Ana Wajszczuk and Laura Wittner.
The premise - to continue the tradition of figures like Leónidas Lamborghini, Juana Bignozzi, Joaquín Giannuzzi or Ricardo Zelarrayán - is presumably an heroic gesture. Among other motivations, it's worth mentioning that despite having been born in New York, the star spent eight years of his childhood in Argentina. And along with a Buenos Aires' accent, he keeps - and intensifies - a devotion to San Lorenzo as powerful as his passion for literature.
In this way, Mortensen found the poet Fabían Casas. Hours before the presentation, he says that "It was López who introduced us. We got together for dinner and we ended up walking together to my house along Avenue July 9. It was like being with a friend from the neighborhood where I was born."
Can this New Yorker lend importance to Argentine poetry? Casas has his point of view: "Argentine poetry does not exist; what exists is a mestiza poetry, a mixture of voices from all sides that intersect at times in this soil that some call their native land. Viggo is a mestizo like us and, because of that, we are proud that he is the publisher."
Does the Argentine past of the actor weigh in? "When you are a child, you get the fuel that carries you through your whole life. The kind of person you are going to be depends on the quality of that material when the fat is in the fire." says Casas.
Yesterday, after the Spanish ambassador, Rafael Estrella, Kevin Power - the art critic who was the link for Mortensen to Argentine poetry - spoke of regionalisms in the language. Viggo - with all cameras pointed at him - took up the issue of the subtleties of the language: when he was filming Alatriste, he said, the director, Agustín Díaz Yanes, would say to him , "Don't stop!, don't stop." He thought that he had to keep going and going. But they were telling him not to stand up. [Translators' Note: The word Yanes was saying,"pararse," can mean both things in Spanish.] "Good luck to all those who read this book," said the actor and called on the poets to read. "Casas," he said, like a professor. "Absent," (he arrived later) they answered him. "Cucurto," he called out. And so, the poetry reading started. Most of the cameras beat a hasty retreat.
Last edited: 24 August 2009 06:08:57