Category Archives: Poetry

Ben Clark and Luciana Reif, winners of the 30th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize

La policía celeste, by Ben Clark (Ibiza, Spain, 1984), has been awarded the 30th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize. The jury, presided by Víctor García de la Concha and made up of members Piedad Bonnett, Francisco Brines, José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Antonio Colinas, Soledad Puértolas, José Ramón Ripoll, Jaime Siles and Luis Antonio de Villena, highlighted the simplicity and transparency of the book; a book of poems that the jury considered to be “full of anecdotes; and not black and white anecdotes, but rather, ones that the author transcends and enriches”. On the other hand, Un hogar fuera de mí by Luciana Reif (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1990) won the Young Poets Prize for authors under 30 years of age; the Jury has underscored the book’s feminine view of reality, which broaches a wide range of themes including “militant feminism and the criticism of social sexism.” Moreover, it has underlined the “enquiring and fresh Argentinian colloquialism” it incorporates.

During the press conference that took place on 31st October in Madrid’s Gran Vía LOEWE store, Sheila Loewe, President of the LOEWE FOUNDATION, offered all attendees a warm welcome and remembered the path the Prize has travelled. Víctor García de la Concha read the minutes of the Jury’s decision after, after evoking the three decades of history that the Prize now has, and highlighting the importance and relevance of each of the 30 winning books.

Luis Antonio de Villena, who presented Un hogar fuera de mí, described it as a “simple yet complex” book of poems and praised the voice of the Argentinian who defends “her condition as a free woman without making it a war cry”. Using a “colloquial but polished language”, Un hogar fuera de mí has what Villena calls a “measured style” featuring a very structured colloquial approach that is not based on the simple repetition of current forms, but rather achieves “the language of art”.

HOMBRES COMO MI PADRE

Hombres como mi padre,
mi abuelo,
mis novios,
mis hermanos,
vi sus cabezas llenas de grandes ideas
como un plato de comida que rebalsa,
lustré desde chica esos cráneos,
soy el placebo de tranquilidad
con el que después brillan fuera de casa.

¿Para eso caí en este mundo?

Luciana Reif
LOEWE Young Poets Prize 2017
Un hogar fuera de mí

When it came time for poet Jaime Siles to present the winning book –La policía celeste– he did so rather shyly because “it’s a very intimate book. It’s a book about love, about a love that is fundamentally filial”. Siles praised the hidden allusions to Virgil’s Aeneid, to existentialism, to Vallejo, and to astronomers, as well as the musical references and the books avoidance of historicity despite the fact that is clearly set within a specific timeframe. He pointed out that Clark’s book is “very well constructed from a rhythmic-syntactic point of view and manages enjambments beautifully”. A book written “from within” and, in sum, “guided by its love for poetry”. Siles explained that La policía celeste “is rhythmically perfect because the rhythm that brings it together and articulates it is not metric rhythm, but rather the rhythm of emotions, of consciousness, of the heart”.

CAFÉ MACHADO

En cada error existe una verdad.
El corazón enfermo de mi padre
no debe estimularse con café.
Pero no se resigna.
Su vida nunca fue descafeinada
ni sin alcohol. Un poco es algo,
dice, y por eso pide
siempre café Machado. Es manchado,
corrijo. Un café manchado, dice.
Y de pronto me siento un asesino.

Ben Clark
LOEWE Prize 2017
La policía celeste

The LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize, which is awarded annually, aims to promote poetic creativity and creation in Spanish. The main prize is awarded to a previously unpublished book of poems of at least 300 verses and the Young Poets Prize to an author under the age of 30 if the winner of the main prize is older than that. The winning books are also published by Colección Visor de Poesía. This year’s edition had 29 finalists chosen among the 706 manuscripts that were sent from more than 32 countries. A total of 19% of entries from Latin-American countries, with the largest number hailing from Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, while Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, and Seville were at the top of the list of provinces for Spanish entries.

The presentation of the books and the award ceremony will take place in March of 2018.

Photos: Luis Antonio de Villena, Víctor García de la Concha, Jaime Siles and Sheila Loewe © Álvaro Tomé for the LOEWE Foundation, 2017. Luciana Reif. Ben Clark © Vicent Marí. Antonio Colinas, Jaime Siles, Chus Visor, Sheila Loewe, Enrique Loewe, Soledad Puértolas, José Ramón Ripoll, José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Luis Antonio de Villena, Piedad Bonnett, Víctor García de la Concha and Francisco Brines © Álvaro Tomé for the LOEWE Foundation, 2017

Sergio García Zamora, condemned to be talented

“I was in my home town, a place called Esperanza, which in English means Hope. I was at my mom’s and I had just finished reading her a poem; a poem I had dedicated to her, or rather to her solitude; a poem that is included in El frío de vivir. And then they called. I laughed and she cried. Then we had coffee. My mom forgot to add sugar, but I found it sweet. Everything became alarmingly sweet.”

That is how poet Sergio García Zamora remembers the moment he found out that his book of poems El frío de vivir had won the 29th edition of the LOEWE FOUNDATION Young Poets Award.

Born in Cuba in 1986, García Zamora has a B.A. in Spanish language, has published over a dozen books, and has received numerous prizes, including the Rubén Darío International Poetry Prize and the Gaceta de Cuba Prize. “I submitted my application because the LOEWE Poetry Prize has everything: a prestige that its organisers have never betrayed; a very generous prize disbursement (even the Cid Campeador needed money); beautiful books; an unquestionable jury that has allowed us to believe in literary justice once again. An honourable prize, even if not everyone remembers the value of that adjective.” He explains that his relationship with the jury is distant. “The truth is, I only know them because I’ve read their books, which are magnificent. It’s like having siblings you haven’t met. I have lived without ever hearing them speak; but every day I rehearse possible conversations because I trust that one day we will sit at the same table.”

A Jury that highlighted, among other qualities, the expressive resources of a book that even its own author describes using a competitive metaphor: “If I were a chess player (what author isn’t one), I would declare El frío de vivir the first move of the middle game, when one cannot afford to make the mistakes of the opening rounds, call them my previous books, if we are to beat eternity at its game.”

García Zamora says this prize has changed his life “in an enchantingly horrible way: it has condemned me to be talented. I had hoped to live out my days as a poet, as a simple shepherd; however, the time to kill giants has arrived.”

Photo captions: Sergio García Zamora at the award ceremony of the LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize in its 29th edition ©Álvaro Tomé for the LOEWE FOUNDATION, 2016.

José Ramón Ripoll: poetry and memory

“During these days of literary hustle and bustle, I have asked myself if people are really still interested in poetry and its true substance,” wonders José Ramón Ripoll (Cádiz, 1952), who recently won the 29th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize. The poet went on to explain that his book, La lengua de los otros, “is an attempt at hearing in a vacuum, at listening to the echo of those words which emerge outside of the realms of space and time, a music that shapes us before we are born, before the possibility of existing is even possible.”

This trip has led him, as he himself explains, to “use different syntactic resources and a music that is not part of my usual discourse. The result is a stylistic consequence of everything I write, although, in this book, I believe I use a more naked language, perhaps because I delve deeper into that vacuum I was referring to before and I try to listen the echo of a primitive word which, paradoxically, emerges out of nowhere.”

Ripoll, who is a writer, a musicologist and a journalist, also directs, from the time it was founded, the poetry magazine RevistAtlántica. The experience he has gained has taught him that “each poem is different and shines in its own right, regardless of theme or style, generation or origin. And, from the outset, the LOEWE prize, inits two categories, has been showcasing just that,
allowing us to discover young and previously unknown poets, and recognising books of poems written by established Spanish or Latin-American authors.” Among the jury members, he identifies most with Caballero Bonald and has even said that his own voice depends upon Bonald’s. “As I read his latest pieces, each increasingly surprising, I am more convinced of this fact,” he declares.

Ripoll, who’s in love with language, sound and memory, reflects upon the present and says that “there is a tendency towards wanting to make language more uniform, towards stripping it of its natural beauty, its depth, its evocative and metaphoric capacity. This leads to a growing vulgarisation and ultimately results in the manipulation of thoughts, and therefore, of the individual. For this reason, when people show up at a poetry reading or show interest in a recently published book, hope shines through, and I begin to think that this prize is worth it and goes beyond satisfying the winner’s personal interests and aspirations.”

PIctures: José Ramón Ripoll © Álvaro Tomé for LOEWE FOUNDATION, 2017.

Wisdom and Beauty at the 29th LOEWE Poetry Prize Award Ceremony

The LOEWE FOUNDATION has, once again, been responsible for the gathering of a large number of representatives from the world of culture at the LOEWE Poetry Prize award ceremony and the presentation of the winning books, held in Madrid’s Palace Hotel. A party and a celebration where the excitement felt by the winners and the joy of celebrating yet another of the Prize’s editions were both palpable.

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“As our 30-year anniversary draws near,” said the Foundation’s Honorary President, Enrique Loewe, during the presentations, “I am reminded of the excitement and fear we felt when we first set upon this path. We believed we had a mission, that being in close contact with beauty was worthwhile and would benefit us all, but mostly LOEWE, because it would make us better and more important, although those we really wanted to make more important were the poets.” Joined by his daughter Sheila Loewe, the LOEWE FOUNDATION’S Director, who was in charge of delivering the welcome speech, Enrique Loewe remembered that his biggest hope and source of excitement came from thinking that “this Prize will have another 30 years of life”.

Sergio&CaballeroBonaldEl frío de vivir by Sergio García Zamora, winner of the LOEWE Young Poet’s Award, was presented by last year’s Poetry Prize winner –who is also Cuban- the Poet Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, who praised the young poet’s “particular view of the world” and “his command over poetry, in both prose and verse formats.” A poetry that the previous year’s winner described as “muscular, sometimes osseous”, a reflection of what is known as “generation 0”, precisely the one this young poet belongs to. A poet whom Rodríguez Núñez visited “in his humble home in Santa Clara” where he lives “with no internet access and with travel restrictions”, a testament to “his incredible drive and need for self-expression, which brings to the forefront the extraordinary resilience of the Cuban family.”

José Manuel Caballero Bonald presented the winner of the 29th LOEWE Poetry Prize: La lengua de los otros by José Ramón Ripoll. “An interiorised book of thoughts and reflections that revolve around being and existing,” said Caballero Bonald, and show Ripoll’s “luminous lucidity” as well as how “he gets to know himself better as he delves into his life experiences.” Caballero Bonald also highlighted the extraordinary “aesthetic significance of the silence” that Ripoll affords his poems. The Prize winner thanked his teacher’s “wise words”, which are like “the roots of poetry because they touch one’s substance.”

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A reading of the winning books of poems, which are now a part of the Colección Visor de Poesía, will take place this upcoming Monday, 27th March at Madrid’s Casa de América.

Pictures: Sergio García Zamora, Sheila Loewe and José Ramón Ripoll, Sergio García Zamora with José Manuel Caballero Bonald, and José Ramón Ripoll © Álvaro Tomé for LOEWE FOUNDATION, 2017.

José Ramón Ripoll and Sergio García Zamora, Winners of the 29th Edition of the LOEWE Poetry Prize

La lengua de los otros, written by author, musicologist and reporter José Ramón Ripoll (Cádiz, Spain, 1952) has won the 29th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize. The jury, presided by Víctor García de la Concha and made up of members Francisco Brines, José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Antonio Colinas, Soledad Puértolas, Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, Ana Rossetti, Jaime Siles and Luis Antonio de Villena, highlighted the enigmatic relationship between the different sections of the book and its magnificent formal structure, as well as the excellence of its poems. Sergio García Zamora, born in 1986 in Santa Clara (Cuba), won the LOEWE Young Poets Prize for El frío de vivir, a book that shows the author’s knowledge of prose and verse poetry, by means of his most singular perception of the world.

loewe_premio-poesia_2016_-jose-ramon-ripoll

The LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize is awarded annually to a book of poems of at least 300 verses and the Young Poets Prize to an author under the age of 30. In addition to the cash prize, the winning books are published by Colección Visor de Poesía. Out of the 779 manuscripts sent from more than 31 countries, 27 finalists were chosen. A total of 23% of entries coming from America were mainly from Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, while Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville were at the top of the list of cities for Spanish entries.

On Tuesday 8th November, the Jury announced the winners. Following the welcome speech delivered by LOEWE FOUNDATION Director Sheila Loewe and the reading of the verdict by Víctor García de la Concha, the winner of last year’s prize, Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, presented El frío de vivir. A book where, he argued, “themes are interwoven, appearing and disappearing, just like in our thoughts, just like in life itself.” He also highlighted the mastery García Zamora shows through the use of expressive resources and a poetry that is “autonomous but not uninvolved; participative but not political.”

Poet Jaime Siles referred to the book of poems La lengua de los otros as “an intense and profound book that is rather intimate for us readers of a certain age”. Ripoll himself, who was present when the verdict was announced, said his book “is painful but incredibly enjoyable,” and explained that “in part, it refers to the imposed language I must use in order to communicate with others. I play with that double meaning, which is then revealed at the end.” He also thanked the LOEWE FOUNDATION for supporting and sponsoring poetry because, in his words, “although people might not give it the importance it deserves, it is in fact of vital importance; it’s crucial in order to keep words alive because that’s how we fight against forgetting, against amnesia.”

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The award ceremony and official presentation of the books will take place in March 2017.

Photographs: José Ramón Ripoll and the Jury of the LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize © Álvaro Tomé for the LOEWE FOUNDATION.

Carla Badillo Coronado: Intuition & Reading

“I wrote El color de la granada when I was 25 years old; I’m now 30….and I won the LOEWE Young Poets Prize,” explains Carla Badillo Coronado. The 2015 winning book was written during the time it took for the fruit to “decompose before her eyes.” Quite a challenge for such a young person.

“A prize doesn’t make you better or worse, nor is it an objective in and of itself –at least not in my case– but rather a consequence,” asserts the poet. She believes that out of all her books, both published and unpublished, this one is “quite unique because of how it was conceived, as if it were the work of a goldsmith. Sometimes language doesn’t quite rise up to the challenge of giving form to that particular poetry or hidden revelation and there is an ongoing struggle between what you want to communicate and the language you use, because it’s not up to par.”

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Carla was attracted to the publishing possibilities that the LOEWE award offered. She points to the “seriousness” of the rules of entry and admits that she submitted her book without realising the prestige and recognition that winning the award would afford her. “I didn’t know any of the jury members and it’s the first time the Prize goes to Ecuador.” She does remember feeling that “the book was ready” and that something within pushed her to send it off, despite her lack of resources at the time: “I had to borrow money to print the manuscripts and mail them to Spain!” Today, Carla Badillo Coronado is the first Ecuadorian woman whose work has been published by Editorial Visor and she is incredibly pleased that her book “stood out among 800 manuscripts from 29 different countries.” That is precisely why she dedicates her win “to Ecuadorian immigrants living Spain, who live in difficult circumstances while fighting to have a respectable life, because that’s exactly what I’m trying to do myself. I strive to be coherent with what I believe and to let my intuition be my beacon.”

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With regards to her day-to-day she declares that “writing is what allows me to find harmony in chaos.” Following a difficult year during which she suffered an emotional breakdown, and just 24 hours prior to winning the Loewe Prize, this writer and reporter published her first novel –Abierta sigue la noche– with an incredibly high print run, as part of Ecuador’s Reading Incentive Plan, and is happy to navigate the waters of both genres: “I like to express myself using different languages; I have always been drawn to that hybrid and that’s evident in El color de la granada.

Carla is a woman who tries to distance herself from the world; she doesn’t have a cell phone so that she “can find the silence that a writer or poet needs.” She knew exactly how she wanted to spend the award money: travelling and writing, and that is what she’s done for almost a year. “My goal is to reach the Caucasus and Armenia, the birthplace of both Sayat Nova and Sergei Paradjanov –so tied to El color de la granada– which is particularly key this year since 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.” Sure of her intuition, Carla states: “My education lies in the books and materials I’ve read….and in the people I’ve met throughout my life. I have no fears.”

Photo Captions: Carla Badillo Coronado with Enrique & Sheila Loewe during the 28th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize ceremony, March 2016 © Uxío de Vila, 2016.

Three emotion-filled moments in the award ceremony of the 28th LOEWE Poetry Prize

The protagonist of the first memorable moment of the LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize award ceremony in its 28th edition, held this past Thursday in Madrid’s Hotel Palace, was Enrique Loewe Knappe, the firm’s patriarch, who died last week. It was his son Enrique, the person behind the creation of the award, who remembered him.
Premio Loewe

Poet Chantal Maillard was responsible for the second one. Maillard, who generally shies away from public literary ceremonies and celebrations, agreed to present the work by Carla Badillo Coronado (Quito, 1985), winner of the Young Poets Prize, after finding that the words in El color de la granada were “devoid of gimmicks”. She believes that the Ecuadorian writer is “someone who knows that poems are not made, but rather found. Someone who remembers that a poem is a vehicle for humility”. She warned against prizes, which she feels can be double edged swords: distracting and illuminating in equal measure. She encouraged Carla to keep her focus, avoid distractions and “lie low when the bright lights come calling”. When Carla spoke, she talked about poetry as a personal trench from where she may “face life, face death and face herself”.

The third emotional moment (and humorous as well) took place when Cuban writer Abilio Estévez took the podium to introduce his friend Víctor Rodríguez Núñez (Havana, 1955), winner of this year’s LOEWE Prize. They both worked for cultural magazine El caimán barbudo during the 1980’s, the winner as the director and he, as a distracted copy editor. Estévez gave an overview of his friend’s book remembering that “up in the clouds no one is a foreigner” and that even after exile’s longest night “morning inevitably dawns”. When Rodríguez Núñez spoke, he quoted José Martí to highlight that “poetry is more important than agriculture” and closed by reading the last poem in despegue, the winning book: “mas este espacio tiene su compás / ni la muerte se apura llega tarde / por un sitio decente / a sacudir el ser con un trapito”.

Photo captions: Enrique Loewe, Carla Badillo Coronado, Víctor Rodríguez Núñez and Sheila Loewe © Uxío da Vila.

Transatlantic poetry

The arrival of Festival Eñe in Madrid each November becomes an encouraging moment in literary activity every year, both for authors and readers. Poets, publishers, journalists and writing enthusiasts of any age meet at Círculo de Bellas Artes to enjoy two days of inspiration.

Transtlantic poetic communication and incommunication gathered poet Óscar Hahn -Loewe Poetry Prize 2014- and editor Chus Visor, moderated by poet and journalist Antonio Lucas -Loewe Poetry Prize 2013.

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The words of Antonio Lucas highlighted the importance of Visor spreading poetry in Spanish. “There are some communicating links between Spain and Latin America in poetry, although for many years there has been true blindness between these two continents. Chus Visor -Lucas explained- has been essential in raising awareness on the Latin American poets and their work throughout Spain.” “I have published the works of about 200 different poets”, said Visor. Despite his own interest in reading Latin American poetry, Visor could “only find it in magazines; there was no Internet and many authors were not published here. In those days, the literary relations between Spain and Latin America were bad. Only the poets who were diplomats were known here, they were the only ones who could travel.”

Poet Óscar Hahn, meanwhile, explained that he fell into Spanish poetry by chance, when at age 16 and “while a complete ignorant in poetry” -according to his own words- he “run into” a collection of poems of the fifteenth century. “Something clicked inside of me, and I faced themes that later became recurrent in my poetry… like death.” At that time, he avoided translations: “I wanted to see what the authors did with the language, how they used words and constructions”. His friends were reading “translations of poems written by Elliot, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Cavafis…” and used to tell him that he was reading “poems for old people”. He also felt out of place when he started to write rhymed verses; years later, when Hahn was already living in the United States, he started to read Elliot in English and he realised “that he also wrote rhyming poems!”. The fact of changing his language marked him deeply and suddenly he sharpened his perception “of my own language and the specific Chilean use of it”.

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For Lucas, the poetry that is currently being written in Latin America “is priceless”. He added: “We have a literary debt with them. We have not been generous enough, considering their welcome to the Spanish literary exiles who travelled to Latin America.”

Thoughts about the different ways of communication used by poetry and words linked a magical duet who met for the second time in Eñe: pianist Rosa Torres-Pardo and poet Luis García Montero, who generously read, to the gathered audience, some of his still unpublished poems.

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Photographs: Festival Eñe 2015. Chus Visor, Antonio Lucas and Óscar Hahn. Rosa Torres-Pardo and Luis García Montero © Maira Villela for Eñe, 2015.

The 2015 LOEWE Poetry Prize, again in America

Cuban poet Víctor Rodriguez Núñez (Havana, 1955) has won the 28th LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize for his book despegue (take-off). The jury, integrated by Francisco Brines, José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Antonio Colinas, Óscar Hahn, Cristina Peri Rossi, Soledad Puértolas, Jaime Siles, Luis Antonio de Villena, and chaired by Victor Garcia de la Concha, has chosen a book which they found courageous, authentic, and able to link irrationalism with social immediacy. The LOEWE Young Poets Prize has been given to Carla Badillo Coronado from Ecuador (Quito, 1985) for her book El color de la granada (the colour of the pomegranate).

JoséManuelCaballero Bonald,JaimeSiles,SoledadPuértolas,VíctorGarcíadelaConcha,LuisAntoniodeVillena,EnriqueLoewe,JesúsGarcíaSánchez,SheilaLoewe,ÓscarHahn,FranciscoBrines,AntonioColinas-foto Álvaro ToméOn November 11, at the LOEWE Store in Gran Vía in Madrid, and after a few loving words remembering the recently deceased Carlos Bousoño, the names of the winners were made public in a ceremony attended by the members of the Jury and by Enrique and Sheila Loewe, Honorary President and Director of the LOEWE Foundation, respectively.

This year, 30 books have been finalists among the 801 entries submitted from 29 different countries, 27% of them from Latin America. The LOEWE Poetry Prize awards an unpublished work of 300 verses and a Young Poets Prize is given to a poet under 30.

Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

Luis Antonio de Villena began his presentation of the awarded book, despegue, highlighting the importance of Cuba “as one of the most important creation places for the Spanish language”. He explained how the origin of Víctor Rodríguez Núñez -born in Havana and currently living in the United States- has influenced his “criticism towards Cuban reality from an outside point of view” and the “communicative and baroque protest in this book in face of a world that must ‘take-off’. His deep knowledge on poetic tradition allows him to renovate and “to play with the shadow of a sonnet”, in words of Luis Antonio de Villena.

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Poet Antonio Colinas emphasised the “maturity” of Carla Badillo Coronado and her poetry. To him, her verses mean a public defense addressing symbology in a quite complex perspective for her age. The struggle of the pairing life-death and a “subtle skepticism that shakes the reader both forcefully and directly”, creates “a book that makes us feel and think about the limits of life, always with an extraordinary expressive sobriety”.

Next March the members of the Jury will meet the poets at the Prize Ceremony and the presentation of their books, which will be published by Visor publishing house.

Photographs: José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Jaime Siles, Víctor García de la Concha, Soledad Puértolas, Luis Antonio de Villena, Enrique Loewe, Chus Visor, Sheila Loewe, Óscar Hahn, Francisco Brines and Antonio Colinas © Álvaro Tomé for LOEWE Foundation, 2015. Víctor Rodríguez Núñez © Katherine M Hedeen and Carla Badillo Coronado © Mark Álvarez.

Hay Festival in Segovia

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The LOEWE Foundation has returned last weekend to the Hay Festival in Segovia, “Imagine the World”, with reflections and poetry.

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In the Gardens of the Convent of los Padres Carmelitas, within the context of the V Centenary of Teresa de Jesús, there was a special remembrance of the prodigious meeting between her and Juan de la Cruz in the sixteenth century, a historic moment for spirituality and mystic creation. Antonio Colinas, Clara Janés, José María Muñoz Quirós, Luis Alberto de Cuenca and Carlos Aganzo, approached them from their own poetic thought.

Antonio Lucas -winner of the LOEWE Poetry Award- and journalist Jesús Ruiz Mantilla analysed at the Church of San Nicolás, together with the film director and screenwriter Fernando León de Aranoa, his film A perfect day. The emotions and relationship between international voluntary workers living critical and frightening situations -both unreal and dramatic- led their conversation. “I like reality, but not realistic forms”, said the filmmaker. In the movie, a well contaminated by a corpse thrown inside with the evil will to intoxicate the water, brings irrational situations to the protagonists. León de Aranoa wished to reflect in his film a “living and brilliant energy… not melancholic”. Voluntary workers frequently turn to humour to overcome difficult situations. The conversation inevitably led to the situation that currently refugees live. León de Aranoa remembered that unfortunately this is a “recurrent problem in History”. It is necessary to “look for the source of the problem” and not to fall, as Antonio Lucas said, “into a false sense of goodness in the distribution of refugee quotas”.

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In the last talk of the day supported by the LOEWE Foundation, also in the same Church, the journalist Manu Llorente spoke with Luis Antonio de Villena -man of letters and Jury of the LOEWE Poetry Award- about the situation of culture nowadays. Villena laments the current arid situation that has resulted “not from the lack of creation but from the absence of audience.” The poet believes that “only those with the best knowledge should go to university. It is not a place for everyone, only the best people from all economic levels should be able to attend university.” In his opinion, the lack of interest of young people in culture is a consequence of their precarious education and he insisted in culture as a fundamental condition in the formation of individuals. But he warns: “culture is a right for all and, if it is deficient, it will need the support of the government to survive.”

Photographs: Talk at the Gardens of the Convent of los Padres Carmelitas. Antonio Lucas, Fernando León de Aranoa y Jesús Ruiz Mantilla; Luis Antonio de Villena y Manu Llorente at the Church of San Nicolás © Javier Salcedo, 2015.