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Poetry and Loss

Poetry and Loss: The Work of Eugenio Montejo

NICHOLAS ROBERTS
Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 244
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt9qdpjn
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  • Book Info
    Poetry and Loss
    Book Description:

    In a study which covers the entirety of Montejo's career as poet and essayist, this book examines how the work of this seminal Venezuelan writer explores and deals with the experiences of loss in the twentieth century. Focusing on the broad areas of temporal and spatial loss, the analysis underlines the different levels on which such experiences are located in Montejo's writing, from the personal to the national, from the continental to the wider ontological, all filtered through the poet's own lived experience of growing up and writing in Venezuela. It explores how the poetic act emerges throughout as the potential means by which such experiences can be expressed and through which such loss can be reversed and, henceforth, avoided. This represents the first book-length study in English of Montejo's work and the first monograph in any language to offer a sustained thematic analysis of his entire output. In the process, it serves to bring out from the academic shadows one of the most important and commanding poetic voices to appear in Latin America in the last fifty years. NICHOLAS ROBERTS lectures in Hispanic Studies at the University of Durham.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-752-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. ABBREVIATIONS AND BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction: Locating Montejo
    (pp. 1-38)

    Within the tradition of modern Venezuelan poetry, Eugenio Montejo (1938–2008),nom de plumeof Eugenio Hernández Álvarez, is a central figure. Recent years have witnessed an increasing recognition, both within and beyond the confines of his homeland, of his importance in Venezuela’s literary history, and have seen the rapid growth of his reputation as one of the most notable individual literary voices to emerge not just from Venezuela but from Latin America generally in the twentieth century. Such recognition culminated in his being awarded the Premio Internacional Octavio Paz de Poesía y Ensayo 2004. Despite this prominence, Montejo’s work...

  6. 1 Childhood, Cycles of Loss, and Poetic Responses
    (pp. 39-80)

    In his first two major collections of poetry,Élegos(1967) andMuerte y memoria(1972),¹ Eugenio Montejo presents us with the foundations of what will become his poetic universe. Much like the actual universe, these early poetic building blocks constitute not so much a stage which will be left behind, buried under the subsequent pages of poetry, as one which grows by expansion, the symbols, concerns, and topoi becoming more complex and intertwined, but the essential matter out of which all is, ultimately, formed remaining the same.

    As their titles indicate, these early collections are bound up with death and...

  7. 2 Language, Memory, and Poetic Recuperation
    (pp. 81-120)

    At the end of the previous chapter I alluded to the connection between (linear) time and language in Montejo’s work. However, such a connection is not just a matter of the language of Montejo’s poetry reflecting the inevitable succession of moments in ‘la estructura lineal presente-pasado-futuro’ (BC, 42). Neither is it simply a case of language being ‘on the side of the living’ and hence failing to bring the dead back without converting them ‘en otra cosa’ (AM, 202), although both these elements are present in Montejo’s poetics, as I have shown. The connection is more fundamental. Earlier we saw...

  8. 3 Alienation and Nature
    (pp. 121-159)

    In the preceding chapters I have focused on the broad sense of temporal loss in Montejo’s work, taking such loci as the childhood homestead and the poet’s father’s bakery as leitmotivs through which the effects of temporal – and temporolinguistic – loss are presented. But the importance of these locales in their own right attunes us to the fact that the overriding sense of loss in Montejo’soeuvreis played out in terms of place and habitat as well. It is a thematic which is most prominent in the collections of Montejo’s mid-period, that is,Algunas palabras,Terredad,Trópico absoluto, andAlfabeto...

  9. 4 Venezuelan Alienation and the Poetic Construction of Home
    (pp. 160-207)

    If a sense of general alienation and separation from nature and the earth forms a central part of Montejo’s poetics, it is nevertheless important to note that, as with the concern for temporal loss, the setting against which this lamentation is played out is specifically that of a Venezuelan poet in Venezuelanpaisajes, with the latter representing tropical and American landscapes more widely. Consequently, there is a need to understand that Montejo’s poetics is concerned not simply with the human condition, but also with the specificities of the Venezuelan condition. It is on this aspect of Montejo’s work that I...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 208-214)

    In tackling both temporolinguistic loss and the loss of an essential home or being-on-the-earth and in Venezuela, I have shown how Montejo repeatedly ties the space of the poem to the apparently authentic times and places to which he appeals: his childhoodcasa, the bakers’taller, theterredadof the naturalcanto del gallo, and the poetic construction of home. It is the authentic poetic space that appears as the mythic, timeless locale for which Montejo strives in his work, and it is, thus, through the work of the poet that such poetic authenticity is to be (re)found and (re)forged....

  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 215-224)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 225-234)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 235-235)