Category Archives: Poetry

Pablo García Baena, poet and friend

GarciaBaenaWhen Spanish poet Pablo García Baena (Córdoba, 1921) resigned after 5 years as Jury of the Loewe Foundation International Poetry Award, the Loewe Foundation and his Honourary President, Enrique Loewe, wished to pay tribute to him. This homage to the poet was intended to thank and lavish him, but also to think over his extraordinary work.

Last Tuesday, the Instituto Cervantes in Madrid hosted this celebration of memories, love and admiration where he met friends, colleagues, readers and scholars who revealed the enormity of García Baena’s legacy. Víctor García de la Concha, Enrique Loewe, José Infante, Guillermo Carnero, Luis Antonio de Villena and Joaquín Pérez Azaústre spoke about the unquestionable excellence of his poems; García Baena was awarded with the Prince of Asturias Award in 1984 and the Premio Reina Sofía de Poesía Iberoamericana in 2008. Moreover, his friends and colleagues highlighted García Baena’s extraordinary humanity, his generosity and integrity.

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The words of Víctor García de la Concha -Director of the Instituto Cervantes and President of the Loewe Foundation International Poetry Award – distilled admiration and repect towards García Baena; he rememberd that the poet always provided “the most serene and erudite doctrine” during the deliberation of the Jury, where he was always “the very last one to speak”. The poet José Infante had said before that “the best hommage for a poet is to read his poems”, and so it was. Pablo García Baena, again the last person to raise his voice that evening, read his unpublished poem titled “Las rosas” which will be included in his next book, to be published by Editorial Visor.

That morning, Pablo García Baena had deposited his legacy in La Caja de las Letras housed at the main building of the Instituto Cervantes in Madrid. The contents, that García Baena declined to reveal, include a message for his grandnephews and great-grandnephews: words, the memories of the past and the complicity with the future well preserved inside a Loewe box.

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Photographs: Pablo García Baena. Guest speakers: Joaquín Pérez-Azaústre, Luis Antonio de Villena, Guillermo Carnero and José Infante. La Caja de las Letras at Instituto Cervantes: Guillermo Carnero, José Infante, Joaquín Pérez-Azaústre, Luis Antonio de Villena, Pablo García Baena, Sheila Loewe, Enrique Loewe, Víctor García de la Concha and Carla Fernández-Shaw © Juanjo del Río – Instituto Cervantes, 2015.

María Gómez Lara: poetry playing

Could anyone imagine a better way to celebrate the International Book Day than having a conversation with a poet? María Gómez Lara, whose book Contratono won the 27th Loewe Foundation International Poetry Award for Young Poets shows a big hope and on writing. “I think I cannot realise yet what it means”, says María.

G¢mez Lara - Daniel Mordzinski

This young Colombian had just finished her book and had started to look for an appropriate publisher when she heard about the Loewe Award. “I had read about it, but I could not remember that a Young Poets Award category even existed; when I found out, I thought it was just a signal: I had to try.” Her previous book was published three years earlier and she had been working on Contratono for two years, so the young poet felt that “even if I wished to keep working on it, the poetic voice was already there. After organizing the poems over and over, I felt that I had finally found the last piece of the puzzle”.

MGLlecturaContratonoMaría knew very well Elena Medel’s writings, the young poet awarded the previous year, and she admired her work. “I was very interested in her poems and I understood the poetic quality of the young winners of the previous years. That was one of the incentives to participate and I really enjoyed meeting her in person”. Among the books previously awarded, she remembers Los desengaños, by Antonio Lucas: “It is very well written; one can see from afar his poetic craft. I was lucky enough to have him presenting me in the Loewe ceremony”, she says; and Playstation, written by Cristina Peri Rossi: “Only when I was searching about the Loewe Award I found out that her book had won before, but I already had it in my library, among her other books: her poetry touches me”. María Gómez Lara admires the work of Óscar Hahn, the poet awarded together with her. She says it was “a very happy coincidence that we were both honoured the same year”.

She knew and admired all the members of the Jury. “It was just incredible to have the opportunity to have such a prestigious Jury reading my book. By chance, I was carrying one of the books by Ida Vitale in my bag during that Summer I was going to send my manuscript to the Loewe Award. Also by chance, she was a member of the Jury that same year”.

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The young poet hopes to “survive under the academic work that my PhD involves” as she is completing a degree in Harvard University, but she is also thinking about her next new book. María started to work on it while she was still writing Contratono. “I realised that some of my poems belonged to a different universe; I was already writing differently”. Gómez Lara has always shared her life with poetry. “Even before I could write, when I could merely play with words, I liked to repeat little verses making rythms; it was like playing. And poetry became the most serious thing for me. I mean, still a game. The most serious things about life are also sort of a game. Then, I kept on finding in poetry a place to hide, a home, a different logic, a new language; I found this music that moved me, this door towards so many worlds that nuanced the world.”

Photographs: María Gómez Lara © Daniel Mordzinski, 2015. With Antonio Lucas and her book Contratono © Eugenio Da Vila for Fundación Loewe, 2015.

Óscar Hahn, poet

“When I heard Sheila Loewe’s voice on the phone -she was in Spain and I was in Chile- congratulating me for the award, I was silent and quite surprised.”

Thus Óscar Hahn received the news that his book, Los espejos comunicantes, had won the XXVII International Loewe Foundation Poetry Award. The jury’s verdict was announced last November and the award ceremony and official presentation of the book was in March.

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The Chilean writer has a long career in the fields of poetry, essays, and criticism; Mr. Hahn holds a PhD from the University of Maryland (USA) and had taught Latin American Literature at the University of Iowa (USA) for more than 30 years, where he is now Professor Emeritus. His work has been publicly praised from both readers and institutions. Among others, he has received the National Literature Award of Chile and the Pablo Neruda Latin American Poetry Award; in contrast, his book of poems entitled Mal de Amor (1981) was banned from distribution by the military dictatorship in Chile. He is, what they call, a poet.

Mr. Hahn sent the manuscript to Spain last June. That is the reason, he explains, that five months later it was “no longer on my mind”; he was “not expecting” a notification at that point. Therefore, he was very surprised when he received a telephone call from the Loewe Foundation. An award, says the poet, that is “highly valued even in non-literary circles and is internationally regarded”.


HahnFLoeweIt seems amazing, somehow, that a poet like him, with a long and venerable career behind him, would be competing. The writer says that, “two factors came together”. On one hand, he had “just finished the book and therefore it was unpublished” and, on the other hand, he says: “I had just found, in that moment while on the internet, the announcement of the Loewe Award for unpublished books of poems. What a coincidence, huh?”. A happy conjuction that brought together his book Los espejos comunicantes with a Jury whose members he knew “mainly through their work”. The fact of winning an award like this one, says the poet, is that “it always helps readers pay attention not only to the winning book, but also to the other books published by that poet. This is happening to me right now, as I have noticed in my visits to various Spanish universities.”

Óscar Hahn saves warm-hearted thoughts for María Gómez Lara, winner of the XXVII Loewe Poetry Award for Young Creation: “Mary is a simple, sensitive, generous young person, without any affectation; full of girlish charm. And her poems are like her: fine, without verbal fanfare, but very deep”.

The Loewe Foundation Poetry Award goes, for the first time, to two Latin American poets. “The problem is that during the previous twenty-six years, only three among all of the winners were Latin Americans,” says Hahn. For that reason, “for a long time in America we thought that it was a Spanish prize for Spanish poets. This time two Latin American writers won, and it was disseminated worldwide.” The bonds have been increased more than ever and “Latin Americans know now that they can compete.”

Photographs: Óscar Hahn, portrait @ Daniel Mordzinsky. XXVII Loewe Foundation Poetry Award © Uxío da Vila for the Loewe Foundation, 2015.

 

From the other side of the Atlantic

Los ganadores María Gómez Lara y Óscar Hahn

“Loewe dares to honor what is neither trendy nor out of style”. Recognition, gratitude and respect for literature at its finest, distilled the words of Chilean poet Óscar Hahn (Iquique, 1938) as he received his Award.

The XXVII Loewe Foundation International Poetry Award announced the verdict of the Jury last November; months later, having the poems published by Editorial Visor, the winners met with the Jury and a selective group of guests related to literature, fashion, design and all the artistic areas that build the cultural activity of the Loewe Foundation. The Westin Palace Hotel, as every year, hosts the great festival of poetry.

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Hahn’s intervention was a hymn to the courage and perseverance of the Loewe Foundation in supporting poetic creation. He defined poetry as “a higher form of luxury, not meaning sumptuousness, but a unique and intense experience” although it is considered as “the poorest variant of literature; poor in sales but rich in attributes of the human condition”.

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Chilean writer Jorge Edwards presented Los espejos comunicantes by Óscar Hahn in a brilliant speech comparing poetry as a chain bringing distant times and names together; he explained that “prestigious poetry always has some prophetic condition.”

Colombian María Gómez Lara (Bogotá, 1989) received, grateful, the Young Creation Award for her book Contratono, which was presented by Antonio Lucas, previous winner of the Loewe Award. Using lucid words and emphasizing “the powerful voice” found in the verses of the young poet, he said that her work is full of “maturity but also full of surprise”. Moreover, her book shows that “she knows the best tradition of poetry”.

Sheila Loewe -Director of Foundation- and her father Enrique Loewe -President of Honor- embraced the attendees from the podium with the complicity of those who know they are surrounded by friends. They were openly pleased with their completed task.

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Enrique Loewe honestly appreciated the involvement of poet Pablo García Baena, who has decided that this will be his last participation as Jury of the Loewe Award, due to personal reasons.

Modesto Lomba y Enrique Loewe

Mr. Loewe also publicly showed his support and satisfaction with the new course taken by the Loewe Foundation, now led by her daughter. “Sheila and her team,” he said, “bring me serenity”.

This is the first time that the two Loewe Poetry Awards go to Latin American poets. The Loewe Foundation, satisfied by the strong ties that our common language provided, celebrates the arrival of two beautiful books of poems from across the Atlantic.

Poetry, once again, has demonstrated its ability to build bridges when genuine, calm and unprejudiced voice is risen.

Photographs: María Gómez Lara and Óscar Hahn; Ó. Hahn recives his Award with Jorge Edwards; M. Gómez Lara and Antonio Lucas; Sheila Loewe, J. Edwards, Ó. Hahn, M. Gómez Lara, A. Lucas and Enrique Loewe; E. Loewe with Modesto Lomba © Fundación Loewe, 2015.

Awarded poetry

Welcome to the blog of the Loewe Foundation. We are happy to announce that our blog starts a full section for our English-speaking friends and colleagues. Here you will find information about our projects on poetry, dance, photography, architecture and design.

This post is dedicated to the Loewe Foundation International Poetry Award.
Since 1987, this Award has been reaching the best quality in poetic work written in Spanish worldwide. The verdict of the Loewe Poetry Award is announced every year in November by the Jury, and the winning books are officially presented next March.

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Veteran poet Óscar Hahn (Iquique, Chile, 1938) is the winner of the XXVII Loewe Foundation International Poetry Award. His book –Los espejos comunicantes– brings two voices together, like a two-faced gaze. His poems show an intimate and retrospective thought, but also the idea of quotidianity that becomes tumultuous sometimes.

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The Young Poets Award was given to María Gómez Lara (Bogotá, Colombia, 1989) and her book Contratono. The Jury -chaired by Víctor García de la Concha and integrated by Francisco Brines, José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Antonio Colinas, Pablo García Baena, Antonio Lucas, Soledad Puértolas, Jaime Siles, Luis Antonio de Villena and Ida Vitale- emphasized her “fresh and undeniable poetry, warning of her as a promising poet”.

Among the 845 participating books, 39 were finalists from 32 different countries. More than two hundreds manuscripts were sent from America, filling our record book as never before. The Loewe Foundation International Poetry Award has been convened since 1987 to “encourage the quality of poetry written in Spanish”. The Jury rewards an unpublished book over 300 verses and concedes a Young Poets Award to a poet under 30 years old. Colección Visor de Poesía will publish both books.

IdaVitale2014As every year, the Awards Ceremony and the books presentation will be held next March, in Madrid. The 13th of November, Sheila Loewe -Director of the Loewe Foundation- welcomed both Jury and media as Víctor García de la Concha read the proceedings and verdict of the Jury.

Finally, poet Ida Vitale presented María Gómez Lara’s Contratono and Luis Antonio de Villena introduced Los espejos comunicantes, the awarded book by Óscar Hahn. The reading of selected verses from both books revealed, once again, the magic and uniqueness inherent in exquisite poetry.

Photographs. The Jury: Soledad Puértolas, Pablo García Baena, Antonio Colinas, Víctor García de la Concha, Enrique Loewe, Ida Vitale. Luis Antonio de Villena, José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Jaime Siles, Francisco Brines, Jesús García Sánchez (Chus Visor), Sheila Loewe and Antonio Lucas. Luis Antonio de Villena presents Los espejos comunicantes, by Óscar Hahn. Ida Vitale presents Contratono, by María Gómez Lara © Uxío da Vila for Loewe Fondation, 2014.