Poet Arturo Mantecón presents a reading from the work of three late 20th century Spanish language poets/writers — Francisco Ferrer Lerín, Leopoldo María Panero and Mario Santiago Papasquiaro. Mantecón is joined on the program by Gilberto Rodriguez, who will declaim poems of Panero, and by musicians Dylan Morgan and Arturo Balderrama.
Mantecón’s translations include poems of Ferrer Lerín as well as poetry and prose of the mad Spanish poeta maldito, Leopoldo María Panero (Like an Eye in the Hand of a Beggar, Editions Michel Eyquem, 2013). He is currently translating work of the Mexican infrarrealista poet Mario Santiago Papasquiaro.
Mantecón was born in Laredo, Texas and raised in Detroit, Michigan. His poetry has appeared in La Ventana Abierta, Poetry Now and various anthologies. A collection of his short stories, Memories, Cuentos Verídicos, y Otras Outright Lies, was published by En Casa in 2014. Mantecón’s notes with regard to today’s program follow:
Francisco Ferrer Lerín (Barcelona, 1942) is undoubtedly one of the most original and “problematic” poets of the second half of the twentieth century. His literary ability was manifest at an early age, and he was marked as a serious poetic talent. Then began a period of silence starting in 1971–only broken in 1987 by the publication of his third and last book of poems and in 2005 by the publication of his novel “Níquel.” He departed from the literary world to pursue the study of ornithology, becoming in the process one of the world’s great experts on the subject of the vultures, ravens, and magpies.
Leopoldo María Panero (1948-2014) was arguably the greatest Spanish poet after García Lorca. Confined to insane asylums for the greater part of his life, he believed himself to be the reincarnation of Charles Baudelaire. He was, in his own words, as intelligent as Nietzsche, and he wrote with the same sort of prophetic vehemence as did that great German philosopher.
Mario Santiago Papasquiaro (1953-1958) founded the “infrarrealismo” movement along with Roberto Bolaño, Bruno Montané, Rubén Medina, and several others. Papasquiaro is considered to be the principal exponent and purest stylistic representative of the movement. His poems are complex, erudite, and highly metaphorical. Roberto Bolaño used Papasquiaro as the basis for the character of Ulises Lima in his novel “The Savage Detectives“.
Gilberto Rodríguez is Sacramento’s dithyrambic poet. For two decades he has entertained audiences throughout northern California as a storyteller (he was griot for the African group “Up From the Roots”), musician, and poet-performer. He was the founder, lead singer, and lyricist for the world beat band “Diluvio” and has performed his poetry in a numerous venues. He is also the founder of Unheimlich Theater, a small company of poets, actors and musicians impersonating and performing the works of great masters such as Antonin Artaud, Cesar Vallejo, Federico García Lorca, Charles Baudelaire, William Shakespeare, and Leopoldo María Panero. For Gilberto Rodríguez, the experience of “dwelling poetically” is paramount to the reading, the writing, and the aural reception of poetry. He strives to eliminate any distinction between his self and the poem. His performances are meant to provoke audiences into thinking and acting poetically, thinking and acting as the guardians of language.
Dylan Morgan has worked as a jazz drummer, cellist, painter, poet, and filmmaker. After studying drums with Milford Graves in 1982, he recorded with Sonny Simmons on Simmons’ lp “Global Jungle” (Deal With It, 1985). Morgan’s paintings were published in Lorna Cervantes’s Drive, the First Quartet (Wings Press, 2006), and he has exhibited nationwide. He directed and performed with Roberto Haven the project “A Wiser, More Beautiful Death,” combining live original chamber music with readings of poems by Miklós Radnótis, throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in 2009-2010. He is preparing poetry and music pieces with the writings of Hernandez, Machado, Okigbo, Torga, Stanescu, and others. Morgan lives in Santa Cruz.
Arturo Balderrama is a pan-instrumental musician–violin, guitar, flute, kalimba, keyboard, percussion–who has played in numerous venues in the Sacramento area. Along with Gilberto Rodriguez, he was a member of the group Up from the Roots.