The female voice prevails in the 32nd LOEWE Poetry Prize

Gavieras, by Aurora Luque (Almería, Spain, 1962), has been awarded the 32nd LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize by a jury chaired by Víctor García de la Concha and made up of members Gioconda Belli, Antonio Colinas, Aurora Egido, Margo Glantz, Juan Antonio González Iglesias, Jaime Siles, Luis Antonio de Villena, and Basilio Sánchez, the 2018 Prize recipient. The winner of this year’s Young Poet’s Award is Aunque los mapas, by Raquel Vázquez (Belmonte, Lugo, Spain, 1990).

Today at the LOEWE Gran Vía store in Madrid, Sheila Loewe, the Foundation’s President, announced the names of the winners in the presence of both poets and a few Jury members. Víctor García de la Concha’s first words, spoken before reading the Jury’s minutes, were for Enrique Loewe, who was also present. For a number of years, they shared the joy of carrying the prize together.

Gioconda Belli presented Aunque los mapas, by Raquel Vázquez, the recipient of the award given to authors who are under 30 years of age, explaining that the Jury had unanimously recognized the maturity shown by this young woman. Her poetry “comes from a very intimate place, allowing her to create a world filled with images that dazzle because of their originality and depth. A world that speaks of encounters and losses without sentimentality”. Her poetry is “both accessible and refined ” and the Jury was able to identify endings “with strong and powerful images, such as the dancer who knows exactly how to move so that we remember her in our mind’s eye, even when we no longer hear the music”. Belli expressed how happy she was that “this country’s centuries-old tradition of writing great poetry” has survived among young Spaniards.

Raquel Vázquez, who was incredibly grateful, found it “difficult to express how much it means to be here right now, not just because of the Prize or the fact that Aunque los mapas will be a published book -and in such a magnificent way-  but also because of this shared joy over that ephemeral, fragile, and almost precarious illusion that everything is fine; and that is a feeling that in and of itself, is a gift.”

HIROSHIMA

El tiempo en Hiroshima avanza en bicicleta.
Cíclicamente en los parques florecen
rosas y rayos gamma.
Un niño pedalea a lo largo del Ôta
con barba encanecida.
Otro juega al balón, no teme aún al cielo.
Una anciana recuerda la seda del yukata
derramada en las manos de su madre.
Febrilmente una joven hace el cómputo
de camisas radiactivas, palomas
blancas ante su ingreso por primera
vez en un hospital.
Un peatón se detiene.
Está azul el semáforo.  Entrecierra
los ojos para ver, cree ver.  Avanza.
Cruza un pájaro la rueda del sol
sin saber de los tarde.
Sin saber del dolor o de los nunca.
La bomba atómica sigue cayendo.
Sólo vemos la luz,
no cómo nos quemamos.

Raquel Vázquez
Aunque los mapas
32nd LOEWE FOUNDATION International Young Poets Award

Poet Juan Antonio González Iglesias presented Gavieras, this year’s winning book: “The name `LOEWE Prize´ honours all those who have received it, but I think I can say that the name Aurora Luque also honours the Prize. It was a pleasant surprise for all of us to confirm that we were welcoming one of poetry’s giants into our already outstanding roster.” He went on to explain that Luque’s book takes “a rather odd traditional Spanish noun and makes it feminine and plural, offering a perspective that could become historical because it deals with many women, whose individual traces, when put together, draw the poet’s self-portrait. We very much value the feminine and the plural when awarding the Prize.” He also pointed out “the humanist spirit” that addresses “the condition of women, and therefore the human condition; our condition. Female figures from Greco-Roman times to today’s urban, postmodern, and pop culture. She begins with Safo, recalling simple elements of ancient cultures that we oftentimes forget.” González Iglesias also highlighted the winning book’s references to Joaquín Sabina and Polanski as a way to “celebrate urban culture and free time.” Aurora Luque expressed her gratitude for the Prize and showed her joy at being the newest member of its cast. She highlighted that the Jury “is made up of people I deeply admire. They are the main reason why I submitted my work and I hope LOEWE continues to support poetry for many centuries.” She then explained that while writing some of the poems of the winning book, she was also preparing her newest translation of Safo’s work, including a few newly found poems. And it was precisely while rediscovering the Greek poet, that one of Gaviera’s masterpieces was born.

HABLO A SAFO

Ven en mi ayuda, Safo,
¿me traes unas alas? Dos juegos:
Unas para mi espalda
-¿Se clavan? ¿Me harán daño?-
y unas leves de abeja
para cada palabra.
Trae miel de la tuya, de la amarga.
Esas cosas antiguas
-miel, sandalias, frescor,
las alfombras marinas de la luna
que esconden a la muerte deseante,
aletazos violentos que ponen a saltar,
como pez en la arena, al corazón,
una ambición de voluptuosidades.
Paladear recuerdos
o lamer una piel que ha regresado
de gozar la negrura de las olas,
miel recién fabricada,
hierbas para acostarse a mediodía,
rosas sin hibridar.
No nos son tan ajenos tus objetos.
Sólo hay que detenerse.
Pedírtelos.
Apartar tanto ruido.
Pues nos falta muy poco
para estar muertas.
Tráeme, Safo, alas,
alas, alas, frescor,
silencio, brazos,
alas.

Aurora Luque
Gavieras
32nd LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize

The award ceremony and presentation of the winning books published by Colección Visor de Poesía will be held next March, 2020 in Madrid.

Photo Captions: Aurora Egido and Raquel Vázquez in the LOEWE Gran Vía store. The Jury of the 32nd LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize © LOEWE FOUNDATION, 2019.

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