A little intro
My husband and two of my beloved friends have told me for a while: “Write it in English!”, that is, write a post in English. I started this blog Bueno, Bonito y Letrado since January this year. The title literally means Good, Beautiful and Literate (or Lettered, because in Spanish Letrado means both words); but it is also a word game, a deformation of a popular saying in Chile: Bueno, Bonito y Barato –or “the three Bs”- (Good, Beautiful and Cheap).
I wanted to write about literature and books, but from my experience as a Doctorate student, mother, wife, woman. So I decided doing it in a blog. But blogging should be about reaching people in every place, and not just the Spanish-speakers, so here I am, writing in English.
Getting into letters
For the moment I have thought on writing just about Chilean or Latin-American authors and books, and try to present some of them to people who speak English and might be interested in knowing about our literature. For this very first English-written-post I would like to talk about the poetry book Bruma (Lolita Editores, 2012), by María Inés Zaldívar. I reviewed this text months ago in Spanish, and it really captured me the way the poems talked about everyday life. “Me enamora la manera / cómo partes el limón” (13) are the first two verses of the book, and they mean “I fall in love with the way / how you cut the lemon”. Those verses show the tone of the poems: they appeal to love, and they are also involved in a beautiful everydayness. Actually it is in our day to day life when we experience and we feel, love is lived in the simple things of everyday life, and that what we found in Bruma (Mist).
So we are not surprised when the lyric voice remembers “big hands / sliding down the keyboard” (“grandes manos / deslizándose por el teclado”, 41), or her lover eating a pair of crispy toasts with butter and drinking a cup of coffee. When I write in this blog or even in my academic work at university, the everyday element is inescapable, because –for me- it is in the small and intimate aspects where life is played, and that is also true for poetry, which actually illuminates our own existence. In that sense, when I think of Bruma, I remember that my son was playing with his toy cars beside me when I was reading it. The family scene is now linked to those verses; just like in the poem, love melts as butter over a warm toast, covering every feature, every corner of life.
A very interesting figure in the poem is Penelope. We know her as the loyal wife who waits for the return of his husband Odysseus, a waiting which she manages by knitting. The poet takes Penelope and positions her in our common places, event trying to buy a lipstick which has been sold out. This raises a debate: how should it be Penelope’s waiting? Well, Penelope should be able to decide for herself. This Penelope loves waiting, loves recalling, and carrying on with her life. Maybe that is why there is so much life and light in Zaldívar’s verses, you can hear the crunch of the toast and taste the coffee; you can feel a lover’s back beside yours.