El fin de una normalidad, el inicio de otra

⎡Dear Comisión de Cultura del Congreso de los Diputados:

I am disappointed to learn that you are considering new steps to protect bullfighting as what is being called a cultural pastime.

Bullfighting is an archaic form of entertainment. It is a violent, bloody spectacle -a throwback to a time when people took no need of the feelings of animals and the bull was an object of torment for boys who wanted to impress their fellows.

Bullfighting has had a long history in Spain, but times and sensibilities have now changed. Today, we see clearly that it is not fair to pit a skilled, practiced, sword-wielding matador against an unwilling, confused, maimed, psychologically tormented and physically debilitated animal.

Tormenting and butchering bulls for entertainment belongs in the Dark Ages -not in 21st century Spain. I urge you to reject the initiative to protect bullfighting as a cultural activity. Cruelty is not part of our culture.


JM Coetzee ⎦

⎡Estimada Comisión de Cultura del Congreso de los Diputados:

Me decepciona enterarme de que están considerando dar nuevos pasos hacia la protección del toreo como actividad cultural.

Los toros son un espectáculo violento y sangriento, una vuelta a los tiempos en los que el bienestar animal no se tenía en cuenta y donde el toro era sometido a tortura a manos de chavales que querían impresionar a sus amigos.

El toreo goza de una larga tradición en España, pero los tiempos y las sensibilidades han cambiado. Hoy día podemos reconocer la injusticia que supone colocar a un hábil matador, armado y bien entrenado, frente a un animal indefenso, lisiado, confundido y debilitado tanto física como psicológicamente.

Torturar y asesinar toros por el mero espectáculo pertenece a la Edad Media y no a la España del siglo XXI. Les insto a que rechacen la iniciativa de proteger el toreo como actividad cultural. La crueldad no forma parte de nuestra cultura.


JM Coetzee⎦

*Pablo Picasso con máscara de Minotauro. Costa Azul. Gjon Mili, 1949. 
*Carta de JM Coetzee a la Comisión de Cultura del Congreso de los Diputados [trad. ugdm]. 28.05.2013.



Montones de dinero, grados de triunfo, las propias respuestas

⎡SMITH: This book was very difficult because Robert asked me to write it. He asked me to write it on his deathbed. I wanted to write it. I have lots of sources, I have daily diaries. I know the date when I cut his hair, when I first chopped off my hair, when I first met Janis Joplin, when Robert went to a taxi dance. I have lengthy journals, I have his letters. But after Robert died I had to face the death of my husband, my brother, and my parents. And I found it very difficult to write. It’s only been in the last few years when all these notes and pages and baskets of writings—I was able to sit and put them all together. And I made two rules for myself: One, that no matter what I remember or what I had, that if I couldn’t see what I was writing about as a little movie then I took it away. Because I wanted the reader to enter the book like they were reading a movie. And the second: Robert was not much of a reader, he didn’t read hardly at all, so it couldn’t be boring or too digressional or he would just be agitated. He’d say, “Patti…” For instance, I had a two-page meditation on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s desk in there, don’t ask me why, but I knew it had to go. I can put it somewhere else, but I knew it would just stop the reader—and also agitate Robert.

LETHEM: I was talking about your art as collage, and in a sense this was a collaboration with your own past self. You were collaging these journals and notebooks and letters.

SMITH: And the book is filtered through our relationship. You asked me would I write another. And I didn’t think I’d write another, but I couldn’t stop writing once I’d become friendly with my voice in the book. I’m still writing, but what I decided to do is to write maybe a little trilogy of books that all are in the same time period, but from a different angle. I could write about that whole time period again, but not filtered through Robert and I—it would engage with other things: how I wrote songs, or other things that happened.

LETHEM: There are others who seem to become pivotal who you just allude to, like Sam Shepard.

SMITH: Right. Or I could write a whole chapter on William Burroughs. Both you and I love Bolaño’s 2666. It’s such a freeing book for a writer. It suggests the idea of entering and reentering and exiting worlds. I thought it’d be interesting to expand the world that I began. If people want it. And it seems like they might. I like your sneakers.

LETHEM: Thank you. They’re not vintage.⎦

⎡SMITH: Este libro era difícil porque Robert me pidió escribirlo. Me lo pidió en su lecho de muerte. Yo quería escribirlo. Tengo muchas fuentes, tengo mis diarios. Conozco la fecha en que le corté el pelo, y en la que me rapé por primera vez, el día en que conocí a Janis Joplin, y el que Robert asistió a un baile de taxis. Tengo extensos diarios. Tengo sus cartas. Pero tras la muerte de Robert tuve que afrontar la muerte de mi marido, la de mi hermano y la de mis padres. Me resultó muy difícil escribir sobre ello. Sólo en los últimos años me he sentido capaz de sentarme de ordenar todas esas notas y páginas y montones de apuntes. Y me impuse dos normas: primero, que no importaba lo que tuviera o recordara, si no podía ver lo que estaba escribiendo como una pequeña película entonces debía desecharlo. Quería que el lector se adentrara en el libro como si estuviera leyendo una película. Y segundo, Robert no era un gran lector, no lo era en absoluto, así que no podía resultar aburrido o demasiado reflexivo porque le incomodaría. Me habría dicho, "Patti…". Por ejemplo, tenía dos páginas escritas acerca del escritorio de Nathaniel Hawthorne, no me preguntes por qué pero sabía que debía dejarlas fuera. Puedo usarlas en alguna otra parte, pero sabía que iban a interrumpir la lectura y también que incomodarían a Robert.

LETHEM: Estaba hablando de tu obra como un collage, y en algún sentido era como una colaboración entre tú misma y tu pasado. Un collage hecho de diarios, cuadernos de notas y cartas.

SMITH: El libro está condicionado por nuestra relación. Me has preguntado si voy a escribir otro libro. Pensé que no, pero cuando logré fraternizar con mi propia voz en el libro ya no pude dejar de escribir. Aún escribo, lo que he decidido es escribir quizá una pequeña trilogía de libros ambientados en el mismo periodo, pero escritos desde ángulos distintos. Podría escribir sobre ese tiempo de nuevo, pero no sobre Robert y yo, más bien me centraría en otros aspectos, sobre mi forma de escribir canciones o otras cosas que ocurrían por aquel entonces.

LETHEM: Acaba de aludir a otros escritores que han resultado fundamentales, como Sam Shepard.

SMITH: Cierto. Y podría escribir un capítulo entero sobre William Burroughs. Tanto tú como yo adoramos 2666 de Bolaño. Es un libro realmente liberador para un escritor. Sugiere la idea de entrar y volver a entrar y salir de mundos. Pensé que que sería interesante expandir el mundo que había empezado. Si la gente lo quiere, y parece que sí. Me gustan tus zapatillas.

LETHEM: Gracias. No son vintage.⎦

*Entrevista a Patti Smith por Jonathan Lethem, fragmento [trad. ugdm]. The Great Hall: Cooper Union 7 East 7th Street. New York. 2010 PEN World Voices Festival. 03.07.10.


En ángulo octubre

⎡Woman when I've raised hell, you're gonna know it. There won't be a shadow of doubt in your bright little mind. No pictures left hangin' only lonely unpainted nails. Ah Honey you'll connect those dots read the writin' on the walls. Woman when I've raised hell, heaven knows you're gonna know it. Don't make me rule this home with the back of my hand. Just let me sit alone in this chair, my own make believe little throne. Ah Honey and collect the thoughts that'll help me to stand. Honestly, why can't you just let it be and let me quietly drink myself to sleep. I said honestly, it's not what it appears to be but only memories that ain't got shit to do with you. Woman when I've raised hell, you're gonna know it. There won't be a shadow of doubt in your bright little mind. No pictures left hangin' only lonely unpainted nails. Ah Honey you'll connect those dots read the writtin' on the wall. Woman when I've raised hell, there won't be a star left untouched in your sky when my lightening crashes across that night. No shadows of doubt or of turnin' in that questioning' little mind, just a burnin' rekindled truth and one single agonizin' blinding white light. 'Cuz honestly, Honey you are the Queen but you had better leave or I will be forced to be King. So now quietly, without questions or screams. Just gently leave it well enough alone. Woman when I've raised hell, you of all people are gonna know it. There'll be nothin' not nailed down left unturned in this home. Then your old friend silence will creep back into this pettiest of all places. He'll ask you again, "Which is better or for worse, livin' with me or livin' with all my ghosts?" Honestly, why can't you just let it be and let me quietly drink myself to sleep. Honestly, it's not what it appears to be but only memories that ain't got shit to do with you. Woman when I've raised hell, heaven knows you're gonna know it. There won't be a shadow of doubt in your bright little mind. No pictures left hangin' only lonely unpainted nails. Ah Honey you'll connect those dots read the writin' on the walls.⎦

*Woman, When I`ve Raised Hell. Josh T. Pearson, 2011.


Que fuera bello su rostro y que, en él, la expresión de dolor infinito pudiera confundirse con el éxtasis carnal

⎡The inventor of blank verse in England was Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey —one of those raffish and unfortunate minor figures in history who end up having a powerful influence on the poetry they do not completely master. He was born in 1517, the son of a man who would become the Duke of Norfolk. He would die at the age of thirty, executed for no real reason by Henry VIII, except that he advised his sister to become the king's mistress and for some other minor offense.⎦

⎡El inventor del verso blanco en Inglaterra fue Henry Howard, Conde de Surrey, una de esas disolutas y desafortunadas figuras menores que aparecen de vez en cuando en la historia y que, aun sin dominarla del todo, acaban por influir poderosamente en la poesía. Nació en 1517, fue hijo de quien acabaría convirtiéndose en Duque de Norfolk. Él moriría a la edad de treinta años, ejecutado por Enrique VIII sin motivo aparente, salvo el de haber aconsejado a su propia hermana que se convirtiera en amante del rey y por algún otro delito de poca monta.⎦

*Boceto de Henry Howard, Conde de Surrey. Hans Holbein el Joven, 1533.
*The  History of the Form. The Making of a Poem, A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms [trad. ugdm]. Mark Strand, Eavan Boland, 2000.