The 33rd LOEWE Prize celebrates poetry once again

La fragilidad and Peachtree City, the winning books of the 33rd LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize – published by Visor Editorial – were officially presented on 16th June. Following an extended period of time during which the pandemic prevented the celebration of these types of events, poetry took center stage at the Westin Palace Hotel in Madrid, bringing together friends, collaborators, personalities from the worlds of art and culture…as well as most Jury members and, needless to say, the Poetry Prize winners.

Last year was the first time two female poets won first prize, and also the first time since its inception 32 years ago that the award ceremony was cancelled. As such, this year’s celebration played host to last year’s winners, Aurora Luque (winner of the LOEWE Prize) and Raquel Vázquez (winner of the Young Poet’s Award), who were honored together with this year’s awardees. During the presentation, Sheila Loewe, President of the Foundation, reminded the audience how “we had to cancel last year’s award ceremony at the very last minute. This time, nothing will prevent us from celebrating poetry together”.  Raquel Vázquez read “Un lugar” from her book Aunque los Mapas, and Aurora Luque read “Gavieras”, also the title of the winning book.

 

Enrique Loewe, Honorary President of the Foundation, celebrated the continuity of the LOEWE Prize adding how poetry “has perfected me as a human being and as a connoisseur of a world as deep and full of nuances and surprises as is the world of poetry”. In remembrance of Francisco Brines and Caballero Bonald he added, “Today I am moved by this solitude, by what I learned from them, and by how they helped us keep going for so long”, he concluded.

Elena Medel, winner of the 2013 Young Poets Award, presented Peachtree City. “I recommend you read Mario’s book without thinking about his age. Of course it’s remarkable that he is only 17 and that he wrote it when he was 16, but it seems rather unfair to reduce such intelligent, generous, and brilliant writing to a number. It is an exceptional book,” she said during the presentation. A book that, in her words, “is about poetry’s identity and personal value, and its ability to forge who we are. Mario’s poetry is a lifeline allowing us to face the world”. Mario Obrero celebrated the fact that attendees “made time for poetry” in their schedules and also thanked the LOEWE Foundation and Elena Medel. According to the poet, Peachtree City is the expression of “poetry as a place we all have in common where empathy exists, allowing us to poetically identify with others on the basis of hope, solidarity and a deep awareness linked to beauty and memory”. During his speech, Mario Obrero pointed out that “adhering to poetic logic could be one of poetry’s natural roles. Poetic logic is neither the logic of reality, nor the logic of what happens in our day to day, nor the logic that guides the dominant discourses that wear us down. That said, he does not believe that poetic logic is “less honest, less legitimate, or less licit; on the contrary, there are moments during which it is aware of what happens in the shadows, of things that, our everyday reality, in its clumsiness, is unable to perceive”.

Playwright Alberto Conejero presented Diego Doncel’s La fragilidad at this gathering held on “the occasion of poetry”. The “raison d’être” of the winning book, said Conejero, “is orphanhood and the days and nights leading up to it”. It is a work “with two protagonists: the father who dies, and the orphan, who is born. The scattered tesserae of two disintegrated men ¾one as a result of life, the other of death¾ who make up the refined mosaic of this work”. This collection of poems, Conejero added, “is a journey that takes place after the father’s death, yet moves in the direction of the father himself. It is at once voyage and shipwreck; tempest and safe haven”. Diego Doncel pointed to “that rare feeling one experiences when living life with intensity”, one that exists in concentrated fashion when creating poetry, but also when reading it, a homage to the books that have been published over the past 32 years thanks to the LOEWE Prize. “I hope that this book, which was born from feeling raw and exposed, and also from a place of truth, has touched a large number of people, and that they have felt accompanied by it,” he added. “I think poetry’s fundamental role”, he continued, “is to portray life’s intensity; that these few humble words ¾which have required centuries of civilization and, which, in my opinion, is one of the greatest achievements of the human mind¾ are capable of making us relive certain experiences. Poetry is not poetry if it doesn’t move you, even if only linguistically”. His book, he said, “is an attempt at showing that personal struggle is life’s greatest dignity. This is the diary of a struggle”.

The following day, free of spring showers and in a seeming continuum of the previous day’s events, Diego Doncel and Mario Obrero were invited to read at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Madrid. Obrero spoke of how his stay at Peachtree City elicited a “longing for the Spanish “ñ” and the “accents on words” and Doncel reflected on “the fragility of what is important”. In this garden, the poets managed to temporarily pause the hustle and bustle of the city as they shed light on the fundamentals of the poetic process.

Photo Captions: Presentation of the 33rd LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize and poetry reading at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Madrid.

Discover the seven artists receiving the LOEWE FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire Award

Launched earlier this year, the LOEWE FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire Award was
established to celebrate talent, individuality and original thinking within contemporary
art practice. The programme aims to increase and strengthen equitable representation
and access, and amplify artistic voices across class, race, gender, sexuality and disability.

The 2021–2023 awardees are: Ayo Akingbade, Ufuoma Essi, Adam Farah, Nnena Kalu,
Djofray Makumbu, Josiah Moktar and Curtly Thomas. The selected artists work across a
range of disciplines and mediums, encompassing a diverse set of interests, experiences
and modes of working.

Each awardee receives a rent–free workspace within Studio Voltaire’s newly developed
buildings for two years, a bursary of £2,000, an individualised programme of mentoring
and professional development, dedicated curatorial and pastoral support and access to
local and international audiences via public events programming.

Developed in direct response to the urgent need for affordable and secure workspace
for artists, as well as the detrimental impact that the COVID–19 pandemic is having on
artist’s lives, the LOEWE FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire award aims to cultivate spaces
where artists can connect in a supportive studio environment that facilitates creative
possibilities, risk–taking, experimentation and exchange.

Awarded artists were selected by a panel of leading curators and artists: Sepake
Angiama, Artistic Director of Iniva; Andrew Bonacina, Chief Curator of The Hepworth
Wakefield; artists Anthea Hamilton and Elizabeth Price; and Studio Voltaire’s Curator
(Studios & Residencies), Maggie Matić and Director, Joe Scotland.

The seven recipients of the LOEWE FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire Award will move into
their studios from July 2021, joining Studio Voltaire’s community of artists including Ain
Bailey, Lubna Chowdhary, Kaye Donachie, Anthea Hamilton, and Languid Hands (Rabz
Lansiquot and Imani Robinson).

Discover more in our Instagram and in Studio Voltaire’s webpage.

LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize 2022 – Submissions now open

LOEWE is pleased to open submissions for the LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize 2022, which will take place in Seoul in spring next year. Entries to the fifth edition of the prize will be accepted  until 25 October 2021.

 

 

Fanglu Lin, ‘SHE’. Winner of the LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize 2022.

An expert panel composed of artists, artisans, essayists, curators and designers will consider allsubmitted works in order to select a shortlist of up to 30 submissions. New additions to the expert panel this year include, Peter Bauhuis (metal artist and finalist of the Craft Prize 2021), Jiyong Lee (glass artist and finalist of the Craft Prize 2021), Juha Marttila (LOEWE Leather Goods Design Director), Kavita Parmar (textile designer) and Zizipho Poswa (ceramicist).

The panel’s choice will be based on a number of key criteria: originality, clear artistic vision and  merit, precise execution, material excellence, innovative value and a distinct authorial mark.

The shortlisted works will then form the basis of an exhibition due to go on display in Seoul, South Korea from which the Prize’s Jury will select the winning piece. New members of the Jury for 2022 include Magdalene Odundo (world-renown Kenyanborn British ceramicist), Abraham Thomas (Curator of Modern Architecture, Design, and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan  Museum of Art, New York) and Fanglu Lin (textile artist and winner of the LOEWE FOUNDATION  Craft Prize 2021).

Recreation of the main hall of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize 2021 digital exhibiton.

The winner of this year’s prize, Fanglu Lin, was announced on 25 May 2021 to coincide with the opening of the digital exhibition of the LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize 2021. which will remain online until 25 October 2021.

You can download the rules of entry for the LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize here.

Getting to know better Diego Doncel and Mario Obrero, winners of the XXXIII Loewe Foundation Poetry Prize

Diego Doncel, winner of the XXXIII LOEWE FOUNDATION Poetry Prize, by Yago Castromil.

Diego Doncel and Mario Obrero became part of the LOEWE FOUNDATION Poetry Prize in a year marked by strangeness, but also by the importance of getting to know each other better.

That’s why we chatted with the award winners in the places that inspire them – the Parque del Oeste, in Madrid, for Diego Doncel and his family home in Getafe, Madrid, in the case of Mario Obrero – to get to know them better.

Many people think of poetry as a means of escaping from reality. Do you agree or do you think poetry somehow takes the temperature of what’s happening in our personal lives and society as a whole?

DIEGO DONCEL: In the dedication page I include in my books, I say that we write poetry because we are searching to live with that rare intensity. I don’t think of poetry as an escape from reality but as the place where life manifests itself, where it becomes more intense.

What’s important to note is that poems are not pale and simple reflections of life, but rather where life is created. A poem is a linguistic fact that is on its way to becoming an emotion. As such, it’s a spiritual adventure. I like meditative poetry, the kind that Unamuno said thinks the feeling and feels the thinking. Or in Pessoa’s words: the part of me that feels is thinking.

MARIO OBRERO: I might not be knowledgeable enough to talk about how this applies to poetry as a whole, but I can comment on how it applies to poets. Poets, as people, cannot be separated from their circumstances, from the society they live in, from their communities. I would go as far as to say that it’s the desire to take care of, share and widen collective horizons that actually drives the creative process.

Even so, there are times when “escaping from reality” is more commonplace in our day-to-day lives than in poetry. Reality is Woolf’s mist, Pérez Estrada’s bird child or Manuel Antonio’s sea, and yet we pay no attention to them as we navigate our daily routines.

 

What inspires or drives you to write?

DIEGO DONCEL: I write because it’s what I was destined to do. All I’ve ever wanted to do since I was ten was to be a writer. When I turned eighteen, I won a prestigious prize that would have allowed me to publish the winning book of poems, but I turned it down.

Writing poetry carries an enormous responsibility to oneself. It’s important because, as everyone knows, it’s that secret you whisper in someone’s ear. It’s the bridge between the mystery you hold inside and mystery of the other person, the one who reads your work.

MARIO OBRERO: Just as the Fuentevaqueros poplars whispered in Lorca’s ear, I feel the need to write where I can listen to the whispers of my own surroundings and to the possibility of building a house that welcomes and values the utopia and motivation that hope brings with it.

 

Has sharing personal experiences in your work ever made you feel emotionally naked to your readers?

DIEGO DONCEL: Yes, most definitely. Particularly because the truth of what happened is behind every word, every verse, every poem. And that has determined my life forever. But when you write without hiding from the truth, you take on the act of publicly showing yourself and accept it.

You find there are many readers who will identify with your story, with what you felt: the pain and guilt, the fragility and the search for possible hope. That’s the beauty of literature; the words you write become the reader’s words, so that the act of reading becomes the bridge between different intimate worlds.

MARIO OBRERO: First of all, there is this wonderful invention in poetry known as the ‘poetic I’. I usually try to avoid the personal ‘I’, focusing either on the collective ‘I’ or the ‘I’ conceived where one’s imagination and sense of empathy lie. That said, there are no boundaries or ditches in poetry. As such, my experiences and I happily join the choir.

Mario Obrero, winner of the XXXIII LOEWE FOUNDATION Young Poets Award, by Yago Castromil.

Do you think the pace of modern life is a poet’s ally or enemy?

DIEGO DONCEL: Poems should talk about modern life, about petrol stations, cars, televisions, about what love means today… Things have changed.

Our relationship with nature and with our surroundings is no longer the same. Capitalist society, cities, small towns, everything is subject to new codes and interpretations. The way in which we write poetry must either change with the times, as it always has, or it must challenge it.

MARIO OBRERO: Rimbaud warned us to be “’radically contemporary’ and we should always listen to the rhythm, in as far as it’s a musical and uplifting element of life.

I think we should never succumb to the typical dominant behaviours or attitudes of certain fast-paced social models (poetry is also a type of resistance), but I don’t shy away from dancing to the furious pace imposed by certain agendas, as long as it’s my decision to do so.

 

Is being a poet a way of enjoying and celebrating the shared aspects of the human condition, or does it make you feel like the odd one out, an outsider?

DIEGO DONCEL: Poetry is a celebration because it’s written for others, but I believe a poet must be a loner in the sense that they must stand on the sidelines in order to be credible. I like those writers who did not succumb to the pomp of their times, who set themselves slightly apart in order to maintain an intimate relationship with things.

Joaquim Manuel Magalhães, one of the great poets I know, comes to mind. He lives in the countryside, far from everything, and he writes such real and mysterious poems. And the important thing is that every word that is said about him is one word too many.

MARIO OBRERO: Here’s a fascinating quote from Rilke’s Notes on the Melody of Things: ‘the person who perceives the whole melody shall be the most solitary and at the same time the most connected to the community.’

I’m quite intrigued by this, by how collective and group yearnings and the poet’s solitude come together. At the moment, I don’t quite know where I fit in. Luckily, everyone has doubts that can’t be resolved and questions that can’t be answered.

Announcing the LOEWE FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire Award

Studio Voltaire and LOEWE FOUNDATION have announced the LOEWE
FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire Award – a new programme benefitting seven
artists with two years of support through rent–free studio space, professional
development opportunities and a bursary. The second phase of the award, a new
year–long residency for an international artist to be based at Studio Voltaire, will
also be announced later this year. This major new programme coincides with the
reopening of Studio Voltaire in October 2021, following a transformative capital
development project.

 

 

The award has been developed in direct response to the urgent need for affordable
and secure workspace for artists. In recent years, there has been a significant
decrease in studio provision in London. The Covid–19 pandemic has had a detrimental
impact on artists’ lives, with many experiencing reduced opportunities, losses in
income and isolation. The LOEWE FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire Award aims to
cultivate spaces where artists can connect in a supportive studio environment that
facilitates creative possibilities, risk–taking, experimentation and exchange.
The LOEWE FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire Award has been established to celebrate
talent, individuality and original thinking within contemporary art practice. The
award will support artists at all stages of their careers including emerging and
underrepresented artists, particularly those who are marginalised or experience
intersecting forms of discrimination. The programme aims to increase and strengthen
equitable representation and access, and amplify artistic voices across class, race,
gender, sexuality and disability.
The two–year programme has been developed to provide a range of support including:
• A rent–free workspace within Studio Voltaire’s newly developed buildings
• A bursary of £2,000 for each artist
• An individualised programme of mentoring and professional development
• Curatorial and pastoral support
• Access to local and international audiences via public events programming
Awards will be allocated based on talent and need. Applications will be received
through an open call and via a group of selected nominators. Nominators include:
Sheryll Catto, Co–Director of ActionSpace; Languid Hands, an artistic and curatorial
collaboration between Rabz Lansiquot and Imani Robinson, writer and filmmaker
Juliet Jacques; Dr Mark Sealy, Director of Autograph ABP; Linsey Young;
Awarded artists will be selected by a panel of leading curators and artists:
Sepake Angiama, Artistic Director of Iniva; Andrew Bonacina, Chief Curator of The
Hepworth Wakefield; artists Anthea Hamilton and Elizabeth Price; and Studio Voltaire’s
Curator of Studios and Residencies, Maggie Matić and Director, Joe Scotland.
Applications are now open at studiovoltaire.org.

The future of Poetry

The LOEWE FOUNDATION has signed a partnership with the Antonio Gala Foundation resulting in a promising joint undertaking by two entities dedicated to the advancement of Spanish poetic creation. The recently signed agreement establishes the terms of a collaborative endeavour seeking to promote poetry and support young poets.

Thanks to this initiative, the presentation of the next LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize winners will take place at the Antonio Gala Foundation headquarters in Córdoba, Spain. In addition, the Antonio Gala Foundation may grant one of its annual residency scholarships to the recipient of the LOEWE Young Poet’s Award. Through this international residency programme, the Antonio Gala Foundation houses eighteen young artists between the ages of eighteen and thirty at the Foundation’s headquarters from October to May, with breaks during the Christmas and Easter holidays.

This full academic-year residency allows participants to fully immerse themselves in their music, literature, visual art or plastic art projects, whilst interacting with artists whose specialty may lie in other disciplines, all in an open and highly productive environment. Javier Vela and Raquel Vázquez are two LOEWE Young Poet’s Award recipients who earned one of these residency scholarships in the past. In addition to enjoying an ideal setting to hone their creativity and do research work, participants are supervised by Antonio Gala Foundation tutors. Ben Clark, also a winner of the LOEWE Young Poet’s Award, is one of those tutors, a fact that helps strengthen the bonds between older and younger generations of Spanish-speaking poets.

The LOEWE FOUNDATION, which launched the International Poetry Prize in 1988 to promote and give greater visibility to poetic creation, is once again standing behind this literary discipline. Representatives from the LOEWE and Antonio Gala Foundations will meet to analyse the progress of Spanish poetry and jointly promote projects that benefit its creation and dissemination.

Photo Caption: Antonio Gala, at the entrance of the Foundation that has been named after him. The Antonio Gala Foundation headquarters in Córdoba, Spain. Courtesy of the Antonio Gala Foundation.

Raquel Vázquez, the dream of dreaming

Raquel Vázquez (Lugo, Spain, 1990) tells us how surprised she was when she learned she’d won the LOEWE Young Poet’s Award. “A few hours prior to receiving the phone call, I thought fleetingly about the Prize; about how much I wanted to win, yet how unlikely that possibility seemed,” she recalls. She had sent her submission encouraged by the make-up of the jury and the prestige held by both Editorial Visor and the LOEWE Foundation, but she confesses that she could have never imagined “the Prize’s enormous impact and the subsequent warm reception the book received.” She is “beyond grateful.”

Aunque los mapas —the award-winning book, which has also won the Radio Nacional de España Ojo Crítico Prize— hides much of Vazquez herself. The poet explains that writers “need to feed on memories, dreams, experiences, conversations, readings…. The words we write don’t necessarily have to tell a true story, not by a long shot, but we must always begin with our own experiences.” In order to convey truth and honesty, she adds, “the starting point is crucial because it’s what the reader will perceive; meanwhile, the amount of truth versus fiction is actually completely anecdotal.” She admits that in Aunque los mapas “there is a direct link between the personal journey that I have been on in recent years —one of reflection, disagreements, disappointments, and search— and the one the book recounts.”

Vazquez is still moved by the reaction of certain Jury members to her book: “For Gioconda Belli to highlight the way I close my poems or that my poetry is accessible yet refined is amazing. These are aspects I tend to focus on so it’s extremely gratifying when such an accomplished poet notices them,” she tells us.

La policía celeste, written by someone she “appreciates and admires” as much as Ben Clark, is the book she would choose from among previous winners as the one closest to her writing style. She also mentioned He heredado un nogal sobre la tumba de los reyes by Basilio Sánchez and Juan Antonio González Iglesias, Margo Glantz and Belli herself as the poets “who have left the biggest impression on me.”

Raquel Vázquez is already working on a new collection of poems. “There is some common ground with Aunque los mapas. Spaces, for example, still play an important role. But, as always, I try to go a step further: in the research and in the possibilities of language, both in form and in substance”. Vázquez, who likes to alternate between poetry and narrative, is working on a book of short stories and planning to get back to a novel she started writing some time ago: “I think the time has come to dive in and finish it.”

Sharing the limelight of the Prize’s 32nd edition with another woman —Aurora Luque from Almería— is nothing out of the ordinary. For Vázquez “what is significant is that it took thirty-two editions for both winners to be women. Or that, to date, only two women have won the main prize: Cristina Peri Rossi and Aurora Luque.” And, as if thinking out loud, she adds: “The current poetic scene in Spanish is extremely diverse and rich, with both men and women standing out equally. Here’s hoping that the Prize will continue reflecting the quality of poetry that is being written.”

CÁRDENO

No siempre fue el futuro ese animal magullado.
¿Cuándo perdió las alas y la risa?
¡Cuándo se marchitó su ladrido de aliento?

Pesa la herida más que la esperanza.
Y no basta la espera.
Pero tal vez sí el bálsamo
de balbucir una palabra indemne.

Aunque en este desierto cueste tanto decirla.
Aunque las referencias hayan quedado atrás.

El sueño de soñar algún día lo ileso.

Por si las jacarandas
irrumpen como puntos cardinales.

Por si la vida todavía fuera
ese árbol triste en que lucha una flor.

Raquel Vázquez
LOEWE Young Poets Award 2019
Aunque los mapas

Photo captions: Raquel Vazquez © Eduardo Fraile. Aunque los mapas, Colección Visor de Poesía.

Diego Doncel and Mario Obrero win the 33rd edition of the LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize

Diego Doncel, the winner of the 33rd LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize, is from Malpartida, a small town located in the Spanish province of Cáceres. His book of poems La fragilidad was chosen by a Jury presided by Víctor García de la Concha and made up of members Gioconda Belli, Antonio Colinas, Aurora Egido, Margo Glantz, Juan Antonio González Iglesias, Carme Riera, Jaime Siles, Luis Antonio de Villena, and Aurora Luque. The recipient of this year’s Young Poet’s Award is 17-year old Mario Obrero for his book Peachtree City, which he wrote when he was 16 years old, making this poet from Madrid the youngest winner in the history of the LOEWE Prize.

A total of 1,247 entries from 36 different countries were received, 25% of which came from Latin American countries. This represents an increase of 19.4% when compared to last year, a clear sign that the Prize gains traction not just in size but also in its reach. Going forward, the age limit for the Young Poet’s award will be set at 33 years of age, three years more than the previous age limit.

In reference to La fragilidad, the Jury stated that it is “a solid and well-constructed collection of poetry, both in the subject matters it broaches as well as in its approach.” Poet Jaime Siles highlighted “the vital and expressive maturity” the poems reveal, explaining that Diego Doncel’s “voice shows depth as well as a unique and personal view of our existence derived from a personal theory of what life means, making his diction more approachable, while demonstrating the way in which today’s civilization looks away from pain and death, but from the perspective of hope’s solidarity.” Siles also adds that “there is nothing superfluous or missing in the book”. Diego Doncel, who is from Madrid, is a poet and a writer of fiction and essays. He won the 1990 Adonais Prize, the 2015 Telefónica Foundation Tiflos Prize, and the 2015 Diálogo de Culturas Prize. His work has been translated into English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Chinese.

HACIA LA FELICIDAD

Oye, desde tu muerte, el rumor del jardín
en esta tarde de junio, las flores suspendidas
en las fotos de los turistas, la transparencia
de los brotes como el tejido transparente
que cubre las piernas de esa chica,
toda esta geometría de la fragilidad.

El verano está ebrio porque no ha dejado de beber
desde primeras horas de la mañana. Va feliz
por las mesas de los bares o picotea en el agua
de la fuente un rectángulo de luz.

No hay ninguna arruga en el océano, ninguna huella del tiempo,
solo una superficie lisa en la que flotan, ingrávidos,
los barcos y los bañistas. Una mujer con un bikini celeste
sale chorreando la materia color caramelo
del agua, y va a donde tiene amontonada su ropa.
La playa huele a crema bronceadora, a marihuana,
a la cerveza de la claridad. La vida muere en una ola
y nace en la ola que se aproxima.
No es posible ningún pensamiento, solo este acontecer
diáfano de los sentidos, esta suspensión del yo.
Tal vez te moriste para que el dolor me haya traído
de nuevo hasta aquí, para encontrar de esta forma la felicidad.

La calma que nunca tuve se tiende ahora
sobre las superficies de las toallas, la pasión vuelve a volar
como un pájaro marino por los cristales de unas gafas de sol.

Viví tan lleno de miedo que no tenía refugio,
temí y destruí lo que debía amar. La muerte ensucia
lo que más se quiere, como los perros y los insomnios.

Pero solo quien conoce el agua y la tierra
sabe que guardan el secreto de la germinación.

Las huellas están detenidas en la arena mirando el horizonte.
La brisa empieza a quitarle ya el polvo al océano
para que pronto luzcan las estrellas.

Los libros están en silencio bajo las sombrillas, esperando.

Todo espera porque entre tú y yo puede haber noche pero nunca muerte,
puede haber lejanía pero nunca ausencia.
Este trozo de mar me lo enseñaste tú.
La sabiduría nos lleva a la infancia.

Diego Doncel
LOEWE Prize 2020
La fragilidad

Mario Obrero began writing poetry when he was 7 years old. In 2018, he won the Poesía Félix Grande Prize for his book Carpintería de armónicos and, in 2019, he published his second book of poems, featuring his own illustrations. He completed his junior year of high school in the U.S., in Peachtree City, Georgia, and is currently a senior studying Humanities at IES La Senda, located in Getafe (Madrid).

Poet Gioconda Belli, impressed with both Mario Obrero’s youth as well as the book’s “most unusual images”, highlighted “a poetic breath that captures globalisation’s cultural multiplicity” while producing “a surprising book of poems written with irony and acumen.”

 

(Sin título)

Cumplo dieciséis años con unas alpargatas de esparto y el sonido de las cosas escondidas
cumplo dieciséis años como quien apaga las tostadoras del paraíso cada mañana
como un nuevo padre que busca happy birthday en el traductor
las hogueras sobre mis sueños lejanos leen el horóscopo y dibujan caballos con su sangre
no pido grandes desfiles
cumplo dieciséis años pero tampoco es el Día Nacional del Guacamole
comeré cereales y tartas calientes y apio con crema de cacahuete
ataviado con chaleco de perejil y bajo el pestillo de las puertas siento a los pechos temblar
en montones de azúcar
cumplo dieciséis años y noto mi alma crujir como rodillas adolescentes
crezco y me veo tan dentro que los recolectores de azafrán repiten el pretérito imperfecto del verbo connaître
los poetas tienen una caja de lápices que abren cada atardecer mientras lloran en griego
bailo sobre una tierra y pronuncio lentamente mi nombre.

Mario Obrero
LOEWE Young Poet’s Award 2020
Peachtree City

The award ceremony will take place in March 2021 and the winning books will be published by Editorial Visor.

Photo Captions: Diego Doncel and Mario Obrero

Aurora Luque looks at past female role models

For Aurora Luque (Almería, Spain, 1962), winning the 32nd LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize has been “an honour, a responsibility and a source of inspiration.” The poet praises “the enthusiasm and effort the LOEWE FOUNDATION puts forward to promote the Prize and ensure the books reach critics and, most importantly, readers.” Luque hopes “it will set an example for others to follow.”

Gavieras, the award-winning book, is the newest addition to her prolific writing career; Luque, who is a classical philologist, poet, translator, and columnist, goes on to explain that Gavieras is not “all that different” from her other works. “What has become clear to me over the past few years is that an existence based on a fixed identity and linked to an unalterable language and status is being called into question.” Perhaps that is why “we need to focus on myths that are structurally different and that allow us to redefine or reconstruct the meaning of “identity”, particularly the female one.” For Luque, “the most attractive models are those that allow characters to change and evolve, to be in constant search, to be dynamic. When faced with past static individual and female models, why not dream of new, richer, less “still”, more fluid ones? The gaviera, the flâneuse, the gleaner, the neodanaide, the woman who narrates her descensus ad ínferos (traditionally told from the male perspective: Odysseus, Aeneas). Why not take inspiration from the experiences of past female roamers, travelers, game changers, disruptors, or women who have been displaced or been forced into exile?”

For Aurora Luque, the list of LOEWE Prize winning books is “a key compilation of recent poetry, with the best of the newest talent, not because they represent an official group, but because of the aesthetics that they uphold.” Something that is a source of great personal satisfaction, since “the very first readings of living poets that I attended at university were theirs: I remember seeing Jaime Siles, Antonio Colinas, Luis Antonio de Villena, Guillermo Carnero, and José María Álvarez walk into the Madraza in Granada. Listening to their poetry meant discovering entire new worlds.” Luque does point to what she calls “an objective novelty”: after Cristina Peri Rossi, she is only the second female to ever receive the Prize. “In that sense, I feel somewhat alone. I’m hopeful that will change going forward.”

In some of Gavieras’ poems, Luque reviews and rewrites ancient myths “with certain fierceness. Those with hushed undertones; where whispers abound. I focus on what the characters, particularly the heroines and goddesses, are not telling us: Amphitrite, Danaides, Medea, Eurydice, Aphrodite, the anonymous prehistoric “goddesses.” Luque also adds that “myths represent language and I question the pitfalls of language; the ways in which it provokes or imposes silence.”

The refugees, according to Aeschylus

Sand between the toes
We didn’t know of knots or about oars.
We learned rigging tasks
on the fine sands of the Nile, by the sea.
Of all the misfortunes
we chose the noblest,
to escape freely.
We travelled, like Io
escaping from the beds where Eros
sowed horseflies, jealousy, asphyxia, landlords,
The ship is our floating agora.
We sail searching for the city
—You are looking for a city?
— Oh, yes, we want it. We can build it.
We know how to build
altars. To Athena the seafarer
we pray in Rhodes
with our free lips.
Do not grow up in the houses
caverns of rude Cyclops.
We long to search for fountains
in the Earth’s clean entrails.
May our orchards never be watered
by Ares’ blood.

Aurora Luque
LOEWE Prize 2019
Gavieras

Poem Translation by Orlando Ocampo

Photo Caption: LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize © FUNDACIÓN LOEWE, 2019.

The 4th edition of the LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize has been postponed

Given the reach of the Covid-19 pandemic, the LOEWE FOUNDATION and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris have decided to postpone the 4th edition of the LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize.

LOEWE’s commitment to craftsmanship, one of the House’s priorities, remains unchanged. As such, the LOEWE FOUNDATION has launched a series of online events and workshops through the Fashion House’s Instagram account, with LOEWE EN CASA as a standout production whose aim is to showcase different crafts to a worldwide audience.

The annual Craft Prize was launched by the LOEWE FOUNDATION in 2016 to celebrate excellence and innovation in modern craftsmanship, and recognise artists whose talent, vision and innovation promise to set a new standard for the future. The finalists of the 4th edition have already been selected by Prize’s panel of experts and we hope to be able to celebrate their valuable creativity in the very near future.

Photo Caption: The LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize Trophy. Designed by Alex Brogden, 2016.