He heredado un nogal sobre la tumba de los reyes, by Basilio Sánchez (Cáceres, Spain, 1958), has been awarded the 31st LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize by a Jury chaired by Víctor García de la Concha and made up of members Piedad Bonnett, Francisco Brines, José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Ben Clark, Antonio Colinas, Soledad Puértolas, Aurora Egido, Jaime Siles and Luis Antonio de Villena. This year’s Young Poet’s Award was declared void. A total of 868 entries from 34 different countries were received, 20% of which came from Latin-American countries.
This morning, at the Gran Vía LOEWE store in Madrid, the name of this year’s winner was announced in the presence of Enrique Loewe, Sheila Loewe -President of the Foundation-, a few Jury members, and winners of previous editions. After Sheila Loewe’s welcome speech, Víctor García de la Concha announced the decision of the jury, whose report highlighted the “investigative approach of a book that shows a deep appreciation for the classical tradition while seeking new approaches, sounds, and meanings”. Next, poet Piedad Bonnett presented the winning book and admitted that “this year it has not been easy to choose the LOEWE Poetry Prize winner because many of the finalist works had sufficient merit to deserve the award”. She explained that the Jury members finally chose He heredado un nogal sobre la tumba de los reyes for “the unity and consistency it shows, inviting us, through its mysticism, to rediscover the natural world”. Bonnett added that this book of poems, “sets off with a contemplative view of the small things around us –their brilliance and what they reveal– while highlighting both the mystery of the origin of all that is immense as well as the work that poetry requires for an artist who is really a craftsman of the written word”. The Colombian writer went on to explain that the austerity Sánchez shows, “is not exempt, however, of a certain sensuality, visible through images that are tinged with colours, sounds, sensations” and added that this book “reaffirms poetry as an act of faith”.
Following Bonnet’s words, the winner, Basilio Sánchez, thanked the Jury and the LOEWE Foundation and explained that he was “very grateful because this is a book that has required a personal investment of two years and it contains the most essential pieces of the literature I have been writing.” He was also extremely pleased because this award shows that there is value in writing “poetry that is intimately linked to the humanist definition of what a person is and of what it means to exist, and it defends a type of poetry that shows respect for tradition and unity”. The type of poetry that Sánchez writes, “sits at the end of a long rope that has been years in the making,” he added. “It is a source of pride for me to think that I am one of the links in this chain, having learned from the poets who are sitting here today, who I think of, without a doubt, as my teachers.” For Sanchéz, He heredado un nogal sobre la tumba de los reyes is “a meditative book, a compendium of deep thoughts.” According to the author, it is “a book written by someone who sees words as his raison d’être, as part of who he is, and who uses both poetry and the images that words can conjure to question the world and how he interacts with it. Someone who is fully aware that the society he lives in is extremely meticulous about all material things, but enormously poor when it comes to spirituality; a wallflower in the party the world is immersed in who sits in silent contemplation before the grave of things that could have been, and yet doesn’t renounce the gift of the immense.” Someone who knows, he added, “that there is nothing more beautiful than allowing the night to convince you that everything is eternal.”
AMO lo que se hace lentamente,
lo que exige atención,
lo que demanda esfuerzo.
Amo la austeridad de los que escriben
como el que excava en un pozo
o repara el esmalte de una taza.
Mi habla es un murmullo,
una simple presencia que en la noche,
en las proximidades del vacío,
se impone por sí sola contra el miedo,
contra la soledad que nos revela
lo pequeños que somos.
El poeta no ha elegido el futuro.
El poeta ha elegido descalzarse en el umbral del desierto.
LOEWE Prize 2018
He heredado un nogal sobre la tumba de los reyes
The award ceremony and book presentation will take place in March 2019. Winning books are published by Editorial Visor.
Photo Captions: Basilio Sánchez, winner of the 31st LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize. Moment of deliberation of the Jury. Jury of the LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize, with Enrique Loewe, Sheila Loewe and Chus Visor © Álvaro Tomé for the LOEWE Foundation, 2018.