Mario Santiago Papsquiaro - Built from the collision of 'low' and 'high' culture—of police brutality and drunken ranting with Modernism and German phenomenology—it is a testament of resistance to political and artistic repression comparable to Ginsberg's 'Howl'

Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic

Mario Santiago Papsquiaro, Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic. Trans. by Cole Heinowitz. Wave Books, 2013.

read it at Google Books

American readers might recognize Mario Santiago Papasquiaro as the eccentric and renegade Ulises Lima in Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives. This canonical, book-length poem of Infrarealism was Santiago Papasquiaro’s response to the Beats and chronicle of his own literary circle. Full of politics and gossip, this poem brings to life Mexico in the 1970s.
"[Santiago Papasquiaro] didn't believe in countries and the only borders he respected were the borders of dreams, the misty borders of love and indifference, the borders of courage and fear, the golden borders of ethics."—Roberto Bolaño

"Built from the collision of 'low' and 'high' culture—of police brutality and drunken ranting with Modernism and German phenomenology—it is a testament of resistance to political and artistic repression comparable to Ginsberg's 'Howl.'"—Cole Heinowitz

Readers might recognize Mario Santiago Papasquiaro as the eccentric and renegade Ulises Lima in Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives. Fierce and visceral, Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic is canonical to Infrarealism, a poem that renders poetry inseparable from politics. It was published originally as part of the posthumous collection Jeta de Santo: Antología Poética, 1974–1997. This is the first widely available English translation of Santiago Papasquiaro's work.
the thesis & antithesis of the world
like 1 white-hot meteor & 1 UFO in distress
& inexplicably they greet each other:
I'm the 1 who embossed on the back of his denim jacket
the sentence: The nucleus of my solar system is Adventure

     Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic
Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic
Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic

          Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic

Every generation of poet discovers their voice in the perceived shortcomings of the generation before. We are, after all, building to something aren’t we? But in order for that voice to be fully realized, what was lacking must be pointed out, called to our attention, and rejected. In other words, a manifesto must be written, and a movement must be established.
The Romantics, the Futurists, the Dadaists, the Objectivists, the Beats; all seemingly arrived into the world on the wings of a mighty declaration. “We have been up all night, my friends and I . . . ” “ . . . the real language of men in a state of vivid sensation . . . ” “Dada means nothing . . . ” “Man, wow, there’s so many things to do, so many things to write!”
Mario Santiago Papasquiaro was no stranger to this kind of manifesto, and his announced the coming of the Infrarealists. “The way in to matter,” they proclaim, “is ultimately the way in to adventure: the poem is a journey and the poet is a hero revealing heroes.” And so, in Papasquiaro’s long poem, “Advice From 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic,” we see a manifesto fully realized, a hero doing the work, revealing to us all the heroes, and in the process, redefining what a hero can be, redefining what a poetry can be, redefining, even, what it means to be . . .
Papasquiaro was a wonderer who resided, seemingly, in whatever country would have him, and so it’s suiting that his poem travels so easily to every nook and cranny in the universe. “The world,” he says, “gives you itself in fragments / in splinters,” and there is no piece too big, nor too small. Too cultured, or too back alley. The poem is built like a roadside grotto—crystals, fossils, dinner plates, bottle caps—the materials are secondary to the construction, to the act of constructing, and oh, what a construction this is.
Like the great adventures alluded to in the manifesto, this poem does not hint, ever, at where it is we are going. One could argue for the purposefulness of this path, or for the accidental loveliness, though, I don’t believe it matters. The Infrarealists, and Papasquiaro specifically, aren’t concerned with the end, merely the paths we take on our way there:
what’s the use if there are lives that are cars with no engines
        desperately honking their horns
                without being able to go
Where so many other movements, at least those throughout the 20th century, held the product as its crux, Infrarealism recognizes that particular idolization as crippling. By focusing so hard on what is made, one forgets the exquisiteness of mystery. One becomes fearful, then, of discovery, and when you reach that point, my friend, you are as good as dead. The adventure is over. But as Papasquiaro rightly points out, in “[p]oetry: we’re still alive.”
We are still alive, and so, we must go on. If this poem had a thesis, that would be it. We are still alive, and we must go. This is an amazing, and amazingly simple, idea. And Papasquiaro has wedged it in as the cornerstone of this poem, and, in a greater sense, his art:
If this isn’t Art I’ll slash my vocal cords
my tenderest testicle / I’ll stop blathering
                if this isn’t Art
Yes, it’s melodramatic, but in a sense, what art isn’t? And why shouldn’t it be? Papasquiaro, after all, is dealing with amazements; the moon, the blooming lovers, “the fucking awesome vermilion of the twilight . . . ” Infrarealism, as it plays out in this poem, isn’t a dreamt ideal, it’s a responsibility; one deemed of great consequence, one that does come down to life and death, one that doesn’t devolve into melodrama, but deserves it. Our attention is more than desired, it’s demanded. And this is where we as readers find ourselves most sympathetic to Papasquiaro’s belief that, “poetry and politics [are] inseparable.”
The heroism of this text has finally revealed itself, and we can see why the poem is hailed as the seminal Infrarealist document. There are those who are “infected with the nervousness the anxiety/ of those who act like they breathe,” and then there is this poem, there is Papasquiaro, who isn’t leading us to safety (as is the heroic custom), because safety, we realize now, isn’t life, but death. So what, then, of life?
life is still your poetry workshop
& hopefully you’ll electrify the power of your inner storm
as well as the girl with the agility of I sailboat
whom you’ve chosen as the partner of your next escapades . . .
Trust me, I know how this sounds, with all it’s life affirming testaments, and “beauty is in the journey” malarkey, but this is the effect the poem has on its reader; one is quickly caught up in the inevitability of hope and excitement, of danger, and its revelations of life. One gets lost in existence without becoming existential, and one understands Infrarealism without ever having to read its manifesto:
When you see in this the instinct of the struggle for existence
        that made Rosa Luxemburg euphoric
the living application of the heretic Wilhelm Reich’s favorite theorem:
i body is taught to read & write next to another body
         & thus the Unversity of Tenderness is founded
The poem is called, “Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic,” but it just as could have easily been titled, “Tina Turner was Wrong, Heroes Are All We Need.” And though we needn’t be heroes to be poets, we do find, in the journey of this poem, that we do need to be poets if we ever hope to be heroes. -  

Mario Santiago Papasquiaro is a strange poet whose work bends the boundaries of what we think poetry should sound like. I recently spent some time reading his long poem Advice From 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic, just published by Wave Books. I must confess that it was the title that caught my attention at first. As a Heidegger fanatic myself, and as someone who has also recently decided to reemerge himself in Marx, this seemed like an interesting choice. Moreover, Wave Books is an independent publisher out of Seattle and I like to support these types of small presses whenever I can. Cole Heinowitz and Alexis Graman translate Advice From 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic from the Spanish.
The poem itself reads as if one were trailing a comet along a drug-induced trip across the universe, but a universe that is only a smoky mirror of our own. There is no real musicality to the poem and Papasquiaro’s use of the numeric 1 for one takes some getting used to. The poem is more like a conversation between two drunken angels (fallen angels of course!) rather than a work whose intent is poetry itself. In fact, I’m not really sure what this poem is about. On a first reading it sounds like the ramblings of a madman, but of course there is more to it than that. Papasquiaro begins the poem by declaring the following: “The world gives you itself in fragments/in splinters,” and perhaps that is the secret to how we should read the poem: as a series of cognitive splinters whose sharp jagged edges cut deep into the psyche of the reader. The poem reminds us that existence is painful and full of suffering, but a beautiful suffering. In another part of the poem Papasquiaro admits, “If this isn’t Art I’ll slash my vocal cords/my tenderest testicle/I’ll stop blathering if this isn’t art.” Art, of course, is purely subjective and we could debate the merits of this work, but then we would be missing the point. So, what is the point of Advice From 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic? Damned if I know. But I do know that in reading the poem I am presented with a new world I had not known existed prior to the reading, and isn’t that ultimately the purpose of all art, to reveal what was once concealed?
I must admit that I was happy to discover that Mario Santiago Papasquiaro was a friend with Roberto Bolaño. In fact, the two of them (along with a few others) founded the Infarealist poetry movement in 1975 in Mexico City, where the two were living at the time. Mario Santiago Papasquiaro is a pseudonym for José Alfredo Zendejas. If all of this sounds familiar to those who have read Bolaño it should. Bolaño based the character of Ulises Lima from The Savage Detectives (1998) on Papasquiaro. Along with the fictionalized Bolaño, Arturo Belano, Ulises Lima made up the two “savage detectives.” They are founders of the visceral realists, drug dealers, poets, and searchers on the trail of the illusive/allusive poet Cesárea Tinajero.
At the heart of all worthy literature is the concept of the quest. Zendejas/Papasquiaro’s quest was as labyrinthine as any of those traveling the Latin America and Mexico shadow-worlds Bolaño labeled “an insane asylum.” While walking the streets of Mexico City in 1998 Zendejas/Papasquiaro was hit by a car and killed. His life was even stranger than that of Ulises Lima. It would be a shame for Advice From 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic to go unread. Here is poetry in all of its explosive glory. - apmartino.wordpress.com/tag/advice-from-1-disciple-of-marx-to-1-heidegger-fanatic/

Cole Heinowitz on the poetry of Mario Santiago Papasquiaro

This book is brief, but in a pleasant, breathless sort of way. And, despite what the title would suggest, it doesn’t require any background in Heideggerian philosophy but a cursory understanding of Marx does enhance the reading experience.
Regarded by some as a South American Howl, Papasquiaro’s book deftly confronts the collision of working class culture and high art.
His juxtapositions are often both comical and poignant: “& all because you need to you’re desperate to let go & cry openly / with nobody & nothing to interrupt you / not even those chicks in hot pants … / & you’re not the only 1 who claims to be the only passenger / on his schizophrenic submarine”
For Papasquiaro, the personal is political at the same time that the individual is entirely singular but also just a part of a larger social structure entirely out of their control. This is the kind of poetry you want to read in a rage against injustice, or hungover, or heartbroken.
In brief, this is the perfect summer poetry book because it lets you choose your level of engagement. Enjoy the ride of the language or engage with the political subtext. Either way will honor this book. -
Frances Dinger

The following is a translation of a 1995 interview with Mario Santiago Papasquiaro, co-founder of the Mexican Infrarealist poetry movement. The original can be found here, among other places.
The dash-underlined bits of text in the interview are not links, but hovering over them for a moment with the mouse will result in additional information appearing. I have chosen this method in lieu of footnotes, which can be difficult to deal with online.
With regard to punctuation, it has mostly been preserved as it was given in the original linked above, except in cases where clarity was seriously lacking. There are a few mysterious quotations and line breaks that appeared in the original which are preserved here.
By: Oscar Enrique Ornellas
Published in El Financiero, cultural section, 29 March 1995.

He wasn't born on Guerrillera Street in Colonia Aurora, nor on Ché Guevara Street in Benito Juárez. He assures me that he first saw light "in a clinic that doesn’t exist anymore, in Rafael Guillén Alley in Mixcoac." Mario Santiago Papasquiaro (Mexico, 1953) doesn't care that this alley is really called Guillain. Details. He is better than Bukowski, the true poet of Mixcoac, and will put anyone in his place, starting with Octavio Paz. "Víctor Roura is garbage (and Musacchio too)." Founder of Infrarealism, Santiago Papasquiaro is the author of "Advice from a disciple of Marx to a Heidegger fanatic" (in the volume Muchachos desnudos bajo el arcoíris de fuego [Boys Naked under the Rainbow of Fire], published by Editorial Extemporáneos). For Santiago, what's really important is friendship and, confirming this, he has now published Beso eterno [Eternal Kiss] (published by Al Este del Paraíso), a book of poems that will appear tonight at 7:30 at the Confederación de Educadores Americanos. In a strange pandemonium of words, Papasquiaro met with the cultural section in some place in Tlatelolco.

Why is your book called Beso eterno?
Read the book and then ask me questions.

But you wrote—
It's called Beso eterno in honor of my two year-old daughter, Nadja. That poem was written before she was born. I have three children… but, look, this isn't a psychiatry session… Nadja Clítoris was born years after I had decided to call it that. It's a prophetic poem. Back then I lived in Pensil. That was was when I started to work at El Financiero. There I met Marco [Lara Klahr], [Víctor] Roura, Mike... Then they fired me from this newspaper you work for.

Why did you take so long to publish again?
I'm 41. My first public reading was in 1973, when I was 19. I've been writing since I was a kid, but the first time I presented my writing publicly was after my grandmother died. I started in March of 1971 at the the poetry workshop at the University [Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México], which was coordinated by Juan Bañuelos on the tenth floor of the rectory, and in December of the same year, I don't know why, Oscar Olivia (who was then like director of literature in the School of Fine Arts) invited me to participate in the Manuel Acuña Centennial in the Fine Arts building. It was my first public reading... I've always lived outside the world and didn't understand why they invited me to do a reading in Fine Arts and on top of that paid me 300 pesos, which, for me, seemed absurd. I didn't get that they would pay someone to read a poem. And, besides, it was my first commissioned poem. Oscar Olivia told me: You have fifteen days, can you do it? And he was dangling the 300 pesos in front of only me and I told him hell yes, and I wrote a poem about 60 pages long. It was my first long-winded poem. My first solo reading was in the Museo de San Carlos on May 3rd of 1974. I wasn't born yesterday. And in 1975 I founded the Mexican Infrarealist movement. Around then they started to get sick of me, because I was confronting Pacheco, Monsiváis, everyone I know of. No one wants to give me a job. For four years I have no income. Sergio Mondragón has refused to give me a job because I'm an Infrarealist. They say I sabotage readings. They say the Infrarealists beat people up. And those idiots allege that I don't know how to write. Motherfuckers. I am l’ecrivain. But that's not important. Better if I read you some things...

What does Infrarealist mean.
Uh, no, you better find out yourself.

You are the founder...
Me and my friends. What happened is that I was a student leader, I founded the high school protest committee in San Ildefonso. I know all the history of guerrilla warfare and the Dirty War... I was Marxist-Leninist... At 19, I had the opportunity to meet José Revueltas and Efraín Huerta in their respective houses. I am their son. That's where I got my pseudonym, Santiago Papasquiaro, the village in Durango where the Revueltas brothers were born... For me, there are two fundamental clans, Revueltas and Flores Magón. I also have training in anarchy, a teacher in middle school told me to investigate the Flores Magón brothers and I liked it. I think they are the most illustrious families that have ever existed in Mexico. But all that doesn't mean shit...

So, would you like to talk about your work?
No, well, ask, ask... Do your job...

Last night this poem to Felipe was brought to my attention. Who was Felipe?
They killed Felipe Rojas 7 years ago. They put him on a farm for alcoholics in Puebla. Felipe is the best actor I have known in my life. And I didn't see it on stage or anything. Felipe is one of my dead, because I have many dead, I've written to some of them...
"In my 23 years of writing without stopping because I dedicated myself to it (putting up with all the bumps) I have published, at a guess, seventy-something poems, scattered all over the place... I lived in Barcelona, in Paris, in Vienna, and have published in Argentina, in Spain, in the United States, in Paris I gave readings. But with Beso eterno is the first time I decide the order of the poems. Often they've been published without my permission. I've never charged for publication, because they never made any money. Here, for example, you have an anthology Roberto [Bolaño] and I made in 1975, with a prologue by Efraín Huerta where he names me "Mario on the way to Santiago"... If anyone knows about Efraín Huerta it's me...

You haven't written poems against them like those that you did for Octavio Paz, Elenita Poniatowska, or Monsiváis and that nobody wanted to publish, right?
No, no, the poem for Efraín Huerta is a love poem. It's his biography. If we meet again someday I'll show it to you. It was published in El Financiero. It's a love poem. About what I know of his life because he told it to me. It's one of my most fantastic poems. Why haven't I published it in a book? Because I haven't had the chance. Why these ten poems in Beso eterno and no others, if I have these mountains of poems? Well, because that's how things went. I respected the idea that Marco Lara suggested to me. He's my amigo and everything else. And we're going to make some noise! I know how to respect a structure. And if you read the book carefully you'll notice that it's made up entirely of tributes to people. They're apparitions of beings...
"I have another, bigger book [Aullido de cisne (Swan's Howl)] that I've risked with CONACULTA. But I think they're going to reject me, because I'm on the black list. Although, also, the best thing is to publish these books underground..."

Getting back to your homages in the book, "Want to dance / baby?" is dedicated to "the nurturing memory of Miles Davis." What nourishment did the trumpeter contribute?
I heard about Miles Davis in Paris with my friend Elías Durán, a poet of the Hora Zero movement in Peru, which is another of my inspirations. In reality I am a Peruvian poet born in Mexico. Peru's Hora Zero is the most radical Latin American poetic movement of this century; and we founded the Infrarealist movement (as kids less than 20) immediately when we heard about those guys... In Paris I lived in poverty. When I returned to Mexico I weighed 40 kilos [80 lbs.]. But I wasn't weak, because I had always walked a lot, there and in this damn whore city... And Elías Durán was a friend, we stole tapes from Fnacs, these huge stores they have in Paris. We were a couple of badasses. We understood each other with one look. They never caught us, but what was the question?

Miles Davis.
Because of Elías Durán. In the tiny room where he lived I heard Miles Davis for the first time. I don't know shit about the club. It's the nurturing memory. It was the stealing and all that. Otherwise, you're not alive, you can fuck off.

Are you The Poet, as the painter Rodolfo Zanabria called you?
Zanabria's... But no, I'm not going to talk about Rodolfo's life because right now I'm writing the introduction to his catalog. He's going to have an exposition in the Carrillo Gil [Museum]... He's the one who gave me this title of Le poète. One day when I was in New York he sent me a postcard of the skyscrapers, and on the envelope, on the outside, instead of putting "señor" and all that shit, he put "to the poet," in French, because he's very Frenchy. My reply is in this poem... but, it didn't really come out well in Marco Lara's edition [of the poem book], did it? He's pissed that I didn't think he could become an editor, least of all an editor of underground poetry. Because that's what we are...

Your friends, your daughter... the punk rebel, the love of your life, who has the most distinguished place in your life?
My wife, Rebeca. We met on the 29th of August, 1987 at a reading that I gave in the cafeteria of the Fine Arts building. Lots of my friends have died because they didn't have anyone tying them down. I've been lucky enough to have some women who believed in me. Otherwise, I would have already been gone, too.
Mario Santiago Papasquiaro
Mario Santiago Papasquiaro

- altarpiece.blogspot.com/2011/01/following-is-translation-of-1995.html

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.