Chus Pato topples all lyric convention, and in a rush of grammatical and visual leaps, brings us face to face (kiss or collide!) with the traumas and migrations of Western Europe, with writing itself, and the possibility (or not) of poetry accounting for our animal selves: our selves who will die
Chus Pato, Secession/Insecession. Trans. by Erín Moure, BookThug, 2014. sample
SECESSION/INSECESSION is an homage to the acts of reading, writing and translating poetry. In it, Chus Pato's Galician biopoetics of poet and nation, SECESSION—translated by Erín Moure—joins Moure's Canadian translational biopoetics, INSECESSION. To Pato, the poem is an insurrection against normalized language; to Moure, translation itself disrupts and reforms poetics and the possibility of the poem. In solidarity with Pato, Moure echoes Barthes: "A readerly text is something I cannot re-produce (today I cannot write like Atwood); a writerly text is one I can read only if I utterly transform my reading regime. I now recognize a third text alongside the readerly and the writerly: let's call it the untranslatable." In SECESSION/INSECESSION, a major European poet and a known Canadian poet, born on opposite sides of the Atlantic in the mid twentieth century and with vastly different experiences of political life, forge a 21st century relationship of thinking and creation. The result is a major work of memoir, poetics, trans-ethics and history. Chus Pato's Secession was chosen as a 2009 Book of the Year by the Revista das Letras, literary supplement of Galicia Hoxe (Galicia Today).
Secession/Insecession is as rich a feast as can be imagined. It’s not just a further introduction to the writing of a major European writer, but a collaborative act of the anti-insular imagination by two of the finest poets writing today.– Douglas Barbour
[Secession/Insecession] speaks to the obligation we have as writers, as readers, to share the words of those who inspire, and teach us, and transmit fire.– Canadian Poetries
This book (these books) asks a lot of its (their) readers, but it gives so much more in return. Chus Pato (always here ‘Translated from the Galician / into Canadian English / in Montreal and Kelowna / by Erin Moure’) calls Secession a ‘biopoetics'; Moure calls Insecession ‘An echolation-homage and biopoetics.’ And thus, on the very first pages of Secession/Insecession, both writers suggest just how multiplex & involving the prose fragments that follow will be. These writers engage writing itself, memory, each other, & most definitely their readers in a subtle & powerful investigation of the body in time, the body connected to mind in composition, & the body of/in writing.
What is ‘biopoetics’? Only each complete example of such may suggest a version of an answer to this question. Certainly, biopoetics includes an aspect of memoir, of remembering one’s own past, the life lived so far. And one of the best things about Secession/Insecession is the way both texts display important moments in the life (& especially the writing life) of its authors. Both Pato & Moure understand that memory is treacherous. And definitely not linear: the lie of autobiography. Biopoetics insists on fragmentation & redundancies, the made (up). So both ‘books’ are collections of moments — of memory, of thinking about remembering & remembering thinking, of that action (of thinking) now, in this (moment of) writing. And this writing of these moments is visceral, fully embodied.
Both these texts are so rich, it would be impossible to truly describe all that is going on in them in a review (there will be articles galore I have no doubt). For one thing, although they are in their ways highly theoretical, with doffs of the hat to many of the most important theorists of the past century, such as Agamben, Barthes (lovingly (mis)translated in the epigraph by Moure), Benjamin, named, &, in a more allusive manner throughout, so many feminist writers, both Secession & Insecession are very warm texts, proffering a greater sense of the person behind the writing than a lot of their previous works have done (clearly I can say this more certainly of Moure than I can of Pato, whose other works I only know in Moure’s translations of a few). The memories they both find & write are only partial, for that’s how memory works, yet they offer such a felt sense of being there, in that place at that moment, that they seem to offer a glimpse of each writer’s ‘real’ life. On the other hand, as they state in a number of places in this book, no ‘I’ can be trusted to represent anything other than a momentary presence in a text, yet one after another ‘I’ speaks to us about her past, her life, her writing, in these fragments (& I havent even mentioned the ‘we’ they also parade).
Both writers are poets, & although Secession/Insecession is made up of prose fragments, it is definitely poetry, with all of poetry’s demands on its readers, most especially, & for the reader delightfully, that it be reread. Most likely in a different way. For one thing, you can return to any section on its own. Or you can read the whole book but in a different way. The text has been set in a fascinating manner. If you read it straight through you would read a page of Moure, then a page of Pato:this would as a first reading prove somewhat confusing I think. On the other hand, Moure has set her sections (of which she says, ‘Each text in Canadian English responds to a Pato text, with one added Chinook wind’) before the Pato text to which it corresponds, thus setting up one more baffle against lyric response for the reader. If you read the book as laid out, each Moure text before the Pato text, something strange & wonderful happens: Moure is both responding to Pato’s fragments & evincing her own (Canadian, Albertan, prairie?) takes on those subjects we are about to read in Pato’s writing. When we then read Pato’s subtly politicized memory plays, in her Galician context, we also reread the Moure pieces read before but written after, in newly politicized & psychologized ways. The whole book becomes a double helix behaving like a Möbius Strip.
Secession/Insecession is so full of engaging writing, it seems unfair to quote even a small part of it, yet it would also be unfair not to offer a taste of both these writers’ extraordinary poetic thinking (I am reminded of Jan Zwicky’s praise of what she called ‘lyric vision’ in her Lyric Philosophy: Pato & Moure have that vision in spades). Although both poets write a lot about their personal lives if in a most allusive & often elusive manner, they also, as writers thinking about writing, have much to say about writing & the written. Moure tells us this:
Poetry, it is said by this me which is not me, is a conversation, or a texture like a shawl and each one of us weaves our own particular corner, or the bit where we gently hold the edge, aware that others are gently pulling as well on the surface of the textile, contributing their own gesture to the whole. And none of us produce the whole, not on our own, not with our friends alone. None of us are this whole nor can any of us speak for this whole that is poetry, we can only bring our hands’ work into the conversation, and raise not just our voice but our ears to it, to listen,
Translation is about this too, this listening. it is a hearing and transferral into the pen of rhythms and an exactitude of meaning . . .Pato says this, as part of what Moure is responding to in the quotation above:
Writing evokes, evokes the voice that in humans is that of an animal that learned language, various languages, all of them articulated. As for the voice (to read aloud, present a poem), nothing brings it closer to the text; a text is complete in its writing, and writing is an absence, a forgetting. This dismemory (the forgetting of winter, of the bird snare, of angels running when they meet the gaze) of the voice that speaks or reads the poem is what makes writing possible. These are the letters, the rough draft; but precisely for this reason, because this base is where letters emerge, writing is the sole possibility of remembering the voice, the voice that in humans is the voice of an animal that learns an articulated language. In this way, each poem would be a letter in an interminable ABC that calls constantly through the voice, through the lost moment in which someone articulates a voice in speech. Afterward, a silence exists to speak the world, then all speak, then time and history and grammar arrive.But a taste, as I say. Secession/Insecession is as rich a feast as can be imagined. It’s not just a further introduction to the writing of a major European writer, but a collaborative act of the anti-insular imagination by two of the finest poets writing today. Get it: it will repay you a thousand times in a thousand ways. - eclecticruckus.wordpress.com/
Chus Pato, Hordes of Writing, Trans. by Erín Moure, Shearsman Books, 2011.
There was death and death entered love; writing mutated. Even so, when the poem writes itself, it is loyal only to its own wound; this is its law of gravity. Hordes of Writing, the third book in a projected pentology, "Method", is an essential book from one of the most abysmal, mutant, indispensable and rupturist contemporary European poets.
Erín Moure’s translating career can be considered on two planes. The first, the one she began in 2000 in collaboration with Robert Majzels, was the translation of domestic works which, in this case, involved Nicole Brossard’s Installations. Two further translations of Brossard’s works, with Majzels as collaborator, appeared – Museum of Bone and Water (Musée de l’os et de l’eau) in 2003 and Notebook of Roses and Civilization (Cahier de roses & de civilisation) in 2007 – before Moure turned her sights on a book by another Québécoise poet, Louise Dupré, Just Like Her (Tout comme elle). Moure’s second plane, the translation of international works, began in 2001 with Sheep’s Vigil by a Fervent Person, her translation from the Portuguese of Fernando Pessoa / Alberto Caeiro’s O Guardador de Rebanhos. Moure next focused on a small autonomous region in Spain’s northwest – Galicia – where she discovered a poet writing in the Galician language (which Franco attempted to eliminate). Charenton appeared in 2007 and m-Talá in 2009. Hordes of Writing, then, is Moure’s third translation of a work by Chus Pato. It was simultaneously published in England by Shearsman Books.
Unlike the early Chus Pato translations, Moure begins this book with a preface in which she sets out Pato’s poetics:
The poems translated here are those of Hordes of Writing, the third volume in her projected pentalogy Method, in which she refashions the way we think of the possibilities of poetic text, of words, bodies, political and literary space, and of the construction of ourselves as individual, community, nation, world. (7)
We see these poetics in play from the outset when we read:
from close up the treetop is circular, spongiform, and the trunk
an umbilical cord that links us acoustically to the core of the planet
we transmigrate to a branch, like twins, so that we’ll be oak or
placenta, which means we’re in the midst of it or La connaissance
a birth is a republic of trees (11)
Note how that last line unites the reference to ‘oak or placenta.’
This poem is followed by a new section beginning with a quote from Friedrich Schlegel:
Poetry is a republican discourse: speech that is its own law and own purpose, and in which all parts are free citizens who have the right to speak their minds so as to come to agreement. (13)
It is easy to see how this quote would appeal to someone in Pato’s position, considering that Franco, himself a Galician, during the Spanish Civil War suppressed both the people and the language of the area, which had been granted autonomy during the prior Second Spanish Republic. It is also easy to see how this quote would have coloured Pato’s poetics.
Thermidor (first episode) takes us into the beginning of a journey
. . . on the sled of one of her woman ancestors she crossed
the Rhine, frozen, and continued on foot along Imperial trails toward the country of great forests // heading always toward . . .
. . . the icy passes of the Pyrenees, the Cretaceous
nation of the Basques, the Cantabrian cordillera and the Navia
which leads us to the Suevi, a Germanic tribe, who founded the Suebic Kingdom of Galicia in about 406 C.E.
But the past and the present merge into one and the hero of the past is presented as a present image:
It hits her right in mid-crosswalk, after deciding to walk from
bus stop to hotel, she realizes she’s too laden with baggage; (19)
The reader can’t help wondering whether the ‘baggage’ is merely ‘luggage.’ “Her” mind drifts toward loss:
she’d have liked to have dedicated a large part of her life to the
cultivation of pleasure, which gave her the idea of setting up, in
the way of the monks of Ménilmontant, Fourierist phalansteries
or the city of New Harmony, utopian-revolutionary harems or
bordellos where a community of women and men willingly reach
the ideal of a phratria of bodies (21)
but, instead, her cultivation is dedicated to an evolving of language towards a poetics and the opening of unique literary spaces where “the literary works of the Marquis [de Sade] (one of her bedtime favourites) could only be understood as another inventory and as the writer’s attempt to make bearable the dark night of the world” (22).
We, the readers, then face the question whether that dark night of the world is the reading of the Marquis between covers “or her never fatal attraction to her currently uprooted, jailed or dead comrades . . . in which Ophelia was brutally run over when she tried to identify her brother amid the corpses of the victims of the latest bombardment” (24), which take us back to Franco and the Spanish Civil War as read through a combination of Hamlet and the Marquis de Sade.
It is readily understandable why Pato has become a favourite of Erín Moure’s. This blurring of boundaries leads to the question: Is this poetry? fiction? history? Is Pato the Galician equivalent of Anne Carson (read Carson’s Nox in parallel with Pato)? More than anything, Pato is to poetry what Michel Houellebecq is to the French novel – a pastiche of unexpected entries that form a mosaic of fractured meaning in a Lacanian landscape in which, at the end of her first section, she postulates: “Maybe the biggest silence is me (the narrator, she), a solitary thinking voice that never addresses anyone” compelling the reader, by direct inquiry, to respond: “Reader, will you read my enchained body, pomegranate or lyrics out loud? recite to me in your voice? ink, shadow of grain or perhaps a husband of mine, Hades, in the foggy cellars of the planet” (29). How will you respond to this entreaty? to the others posed throughout this work? This is not something you have read before. It is something you will want to read again . . . and again . . . and again. - John Herbert
Erin Moure’s little Introduction to her keen translation of Hordes of Writing, ‘Animality and Language,’ is just one sign of why she is the translator of Pato’s work into English. As an innovative & highly political poet herself, she can get inside a writing that ‘wriggles out of any know form of the poem, and out of the confines of the book.’ The rest of what she says here will prove useful to any reader about to plunge into the dark gnomic waters of Pato’s highly sophisticated, theoretical, & embodied writing in this, the third of five books in her projected pentalogy, Method.
Hordes of Writing (‘hordes’ is a key term throughout) is divided into 3 parts, all constructed of deliberately fragmented arguments, narratives, & richly described possibilities. Nearing the end of Part 3 & the book, there’s this:
it’s difficult but you can figure it out
it’s not that the I constitutes itself in the poem, but that the poem is an animation, so women seem crazy, what happens to us is existence
my political heart, well obviously I’d rather not wake up with so much resentment
destruction in Galicia doesn’t involve the inorganic, so we can’t say we had ruins; destruction in Galicia relates to disarticulation of the social fabric and of moral parameters, thus we cant lay claim to ruins (linguistic ruins, the ruins of productive mental units can’t be assessed). In other countries, destruction also involves the inorganic (bombings). We can’t claim that a heart attack is a ruin of the heart, a ruined heart
a heart’s not an inorganic muscle
and the devices of writing collapse into a scribble and the flimsy and hypothetical themes of future thinking
it doesn’t seem that clouds navigate a hostile medium
if it isn’t a war, who’s shooting, who’s killing you, who’s the enemy?
Not a summing up, but this certainly bears the burden of all that’s gone before. There are the fragmented tale(s) of ‘Hrg’ (‘Mariana’), whose dreams ‘are short, not very restorative, and superficial. An eloquent voice tries to interest her in its story: it talks to a dead woman, to a stone.’ There are all the ‘I’s, this deliberate, an attack on the lyric lIe of integral selfhood that Pato has carried out in all her work (as has Moure), an I that multiplies as both writer(s) & reader(s), & can speak in so many different ways, but often in a considered confrontation with death:
I believe – she continued – that my sole interlocutor is death: somehow I write so that death, whatever its circumstances, can’t be debased. As such, I write in common words, identical to those anyone uses
(with you, inorganic
with all the dispersed salts
you were there, logos from the start)
The 3 parts, ‘Thermidor (first episode),’ ‘Thebes (continuation),’ & the lengthy ‘We Wish We Were Birds and We Don’t Like Binoculars,’ the very title of which reveals the dark humour of Pato’s writing, as did that long passage I first quoted., argue a dispersion of the I, ‘On the other side, where we’re alone with time and I is an innumerable that multiplies and decentres itself.’ These ‘I’s & all they inscribe are the very hordes of writing Pato hoards in this dense text, where writer segues into reader & back again, where ‘you’ is only another possibility of & in the text. And here is one way the politics of this work emerge, tied, as always with Pato, to her Galician roots: the writing will be a horde, a dangerous other mob in action, so that no I can rule or dictate as once happened with the coming of fascism ‘and for this reason no one wrote a novel like Berlin Alexanderplatz or Manhattan Transfer in my language and don’t come back to me saying that in my language there’s no city like Dublin’.
The difficulty with writing about a book like Hordes of Writing is that you could quote it all, or try to comment on what is happening on every page. As these quotations show, it manifests an extraordinary range of allusions, to music, art, literature, history – yet all exist as experiences of the body, no more or less than those moments of sensual awareness, or the visceral descriptions of visiting various places made ‘sacred’ (or its depraved opposite) by what happened there. They’re all part of those fragmented narratives emerging like momentary whitecaps in the ocean of story that Hordes of Writing acknowledges even as it denies its usual turns & terms.
Hordes of Writing offers a complex & what some might feel as off-putting experience, for it refuses to make that experience easy, refuses to offer any of the usual lyric invitations; but those readers willing to give themselves to this text will be provoked to a thinking as well as feeling experience of writing as an action deeply embedded in the body, inscribed. - eclecticruckus.wordpress.com/To bring Chus Pato’s words into English, the translator must travel at breakneck speed, trying not to trip over tree roots and go flying. I still end up with skinned knees. Pato topples all lyric convention, and in a rush of grammatical and visual leaps, brings us face to face (kiss or collide!) with the traumas and migrations of Western Europe, with writing itself, and the possibility (or not) of poetry accounting for our animal selves: our selves who will die.
The urgency of her task is such that Pato wriggles out of any known form of the poem, and out of the confines of the book. The poems translated here are those of Hordes of Writing, the third volume of her projected pentalogy Method, in which she refashions the way we think of the possibilities of poetic text, of words, bodies, political and literary space, and of the construction of ourselves as individual, community, nation, world. (Erín Moure, “Animality and Language”)
The third book in Galician poet Chus Pato’s projected pentalogy, Method, is Hordes of Writing (BuschekBooks, Ottawa ON/Shearsman Books, Exeter UK, 2011), a collection that follows m-Talá (2009) and Charenton (2007), all of which has been translated from the Galician by Montreal poet and translator Erín Moure, and co-published by England’s Shearsman Books and Canada’s BuschekBooks. Through Canadian translators and champions such as Moure, Angela Carr, Bronwyn Haslam, Oana Avasilichioaei, and Robert Majzels, there has been a growing resurgence in Canadian writing over the past decade of poetry translated into English. Constructed in three sections, Hordes of Writing exists as a kind of collage of single lines and sections of prose, constructing a world directly out of sentences. There are elements of the book that read as a journal, or fragmented novel, composing scenes as easily as concepts. Pato’s is a narrative that doesn’t so much travel as simply reappear at different points from section to section, allowing the reader instead to attempt to bridge that distance. As she writes: “I trace a meridian: north and south / it’s me (arms held at my sides). My horizontal abscissa is a starry / equator[.]” Pato’s writing (via Moure) is entirely physical, and this is a book that is extremely difficult to pigeonhole—joyously so—writing fragments, journal entries, prose poems and other blended components. What is a poem? What is a poet? As Pato writes: “This—she concluded—is the status or territory of a poet // poet is any human whatsoever.” There is much anyone interested in writing could learn from this book.
It hits her right in mid-crosswalk, after deciding to walk from bus stop to hotel, she realizes she’s too laden with baggage; and when she showers, the water gives her lovely curls and after getting ready for a first meeting she told herself that not only was she all primped and glowing but she’s far more stunning now than in her youth and soon she walks the sidewalk as if she never, never daydreams and she realizes how much she’d like it if she were with Antón Lopo right now that she is the happiest protagonist of a novel on earth and she doesn’t think at all of nausea
—Marta and Publio arrived but Marcelo had to go defend the Austro-Hungarian border. - rob mclennan
Review by John Herbert Cunningham (pdf)
Chus Pato, m-Tala, Trans. by Erín Moure, Shearsman Books, 2009.
In 2000 in Galicia, in a maelstrom of rupture from her previous poetics, well-known poet Chus Pato gave readers a startling new book that instantly demarcated the literary landscape. This book was a reverberative crescendo, a roar and clamour of genres and fictions for the multipled "I" in a time of unspeakable catastrophes: m-Talá.
"People have said m-Talá is an unpronounceable, untranslatable cry. Yet it echoes huge realities. In the Temi language of Tanzania, 'mtala' means 'sudden apparition'. In the American tongue, EMTALA is a law to stop hospitals from dumping desperately ill patients who are uninsured, unable to pay. Pato's m-Talá is her own sudden apparition into discourses that harm us, in searing poetry that identifies the sickness, refuses no treatment, and—without being a hospital—sends no one away." (from the introduction by Erín Moure)
m-Talá, Moure says, ‘marked, in 2000, a further rupture, an invitation across a boundary. It is considered a turning point in Galician poetry.’ the title is not a word in Galician & is untranslatable. Moure goes on to talk about the book’s break with lyric, its refusal of a single subject (position), etc. Reading it in English translation, I necessarily cannot feel that sense of rupture in the poetic culture; it reminds me of both modernist & postmodernist poetic prose manifestoes but much more attuned to a feminist perspective, as well as one politically on edge coming from someone living in a peripheral part of Spain who was born during the dictatorship. There’s very little verse here; rather a range of partly parodied prose versions, in which a series of ‘figures’ speak, are interviewed, or are inscribed with new visions of who/what they have been. The range of intertexts or allusions is huge, & all are both honored & queried. Commentary on poetry rather than poetry, except it is. Averse to trad lyric verse, but aware of its power & out to undermine that too (especially as it seems so often male speech, patriarchal). The poetry is in the commentary, its treacherous depths; & there are a few pages of free verse presentations to remind us that we are to read it as poetry, not just commentary. The commentary is in the poem, but it isn’t the poem. There’s some real brilliance in many parts of this, & also some real food for post-modern, -colonial, -language, -etc. thinking: ‘but this is my language too / I can share this language’.
And the game(s) they played together: - eclecticruckus.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/erin-moures/
Chus Pato, Charenton,T rans. by Erín Moure, Buschekbooks, 2007.
Chus Pato is the leading contemporary poet in Galicia. All of her work is written in the Galician language, but contrary perhaps to one's expectations of work written in what is a minority language, and one also long-repressed, her work is avant-garde, and reflects the author's Marxist beliefs as well as her belief in the necessity of independence for Galicia. This is a radical poetry that, despite its remote origins and its concern with the local, can speak powerfully across borders and languages.
In Chus Pato's poems, language is a cognitive-emotive artefact, and this in every living sense of the word — explosive. Her language welcomes cognition's pathways, and stylizes history, literature, myths of origin, lineage, friendship, and the realities of nationalism in one huge breath. When her poems foreground elements of Galician culture and reality, these turn out not to be private and enclosed, but elements of our reality too. She explodes forms, explodes the lyric and what lyric possibility is (races it onward in prose poems, invents avatars that bear the place of the I — the she-author, Horda, Brenda), engages myth as active in the present tense. In her various works, Ashurbanipal's library at Nineveh still exists, cuneiform is readable, Ophelia speaks Galician.
In Charenton, Pato presents the locale of Weiss's Marat/Sade as a play of shadows, light, beauty and intensity that enacts Galician being and the agonies of its history, and of a woman writer in whom this history is chiselled. Its language is lucid, fervent, beautiful — Chus Pato's Charenton is not just Galicia, it is Earth, our earth too.
Pato says at the end that ‘I have a predilection for those constructions which investigate the possibility of a language-thinking that refuses to repeat the already-written and lives in contact-lamination with the seams of the unsayable, of what hasn’t yet been written into the corporeality of the poem.’ This volume of broken prose/narrative(s) lives up to this desire, as it approaches the boundaries between aesthetics & ethics eventually set up in the political undercurrents of the (many women’s) stories whose fragments are shown & alluded to throughout. Each part works its own event(ual)(ful) effects, & they eventually string together in a somewhat opaque manner. Shifts from drama to narrative to lecture to lyric cry, yet it all gathers in its own momentum. There are some singular comments, lines that sing or cry, but it’s finally the book, with its Galician politics as poetics, that counts. Pato is definitely the kind of poet Mouré can delight in (translating). - eclecticruckus.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/erin-moures/
and now the panopticon is a ruin
but never mind for i can imagine the landscape however i want
if a desert, it’ll be a tell
if rich with vegetation, wisteria will grow over the buildings
if in Antarctica, it’ll be a phantasmagoria of ice
some folks (working women, crazies, schoolchildren, poets) still live there, they don’t realize no one guards them
for in times of plenitude, systems of domination don’t pay attention any more to populations, it’s not their job to feed them
it has to do with what you were saying, that “capital is illiterate”
i have to get out:
exit biology, remain in my body
* * * * * * * * *
but also: das kapital, no more than a grain of sand in the tempest of the species
* * * * * * * * *
but my bones are not found in ontological opposition to my flesh
the acid earth of my mother-sonosphere obscenely devours my happy skeleton
on pain and the learning of space
* * * * * * * * *
i get the order to run, so i run, manage to get to the table, sit down
(immediately surrounded by ladies) who, authoritarian, insist i get up; i explain, correctly, that i’m saving the table for my mother and her friends, the ladies insist, i watch my mother’s group approach slowly, languidly; the ladies start to threaten me, i don’t relent, finally my mother’s friends arrive, i smile politely, the ladies/ / melt away
from that tower, the same thing always happens; two images one after the other
in one, the triremes of Caesar (exhausted from lack of money) arrive; they beat the ocean with their oars, frighten the natives, vanish
in the second there’s nothing to be seen
but a heart in a shamrock trance pulses: Ireland! Ireland!
he carefully folds the newspaper, says
— relax, we’re on firm ground
“this city is an atoll governed by a crazed viceroy”
to open your eyes was to contemplate a garland of cigarette papers looped across the wall, on it the face of Antonin Artaud repeated to infinity
only an anarcho-mathematical muse could travel hundreds of kilometres, await the precise moment when an author (she or he) assigns her one, none, (or all) of those
/ / papers
Pleistocene: “the past is a far country” (m.o.)
AUTOBIOGRAPHY FOR TRUCHIS (written by herself)
* * * * * * * * *
-is it true madam that you wish to be Moses?
-well, it’s true that the possibility opens to me of leading my people across the Sinai
-are you aware of the desperation of your progenitor?
- i’m aware of the repression of his desire, finally i wasn’t thrown (baby stroller and all) off the New Bridge
-this saved you?
-rather, it saved my father; i’d survive anyhow
— do you acknowledge your signature on this document, madam?
— i acknowledge being an avid reader of the pages of Faust (Hadrián Leverkühn)
— ¿did you ever sign a pact with the Devil?
* * * * * * * * *
to be extracted from the mother like a blood sample is from our insides (the name, fragile fluid of civilization). the technique applied by the analyst is not exactly that of the circulation of the blood
Chus Pato’s Charenton (Vigo, Spain: Xerais, 2004) is a catchment mechanism: it navigates the border between the “real” (which does not exist and which, yes, exists) and fiction (which always exists) in the opposite direction to the usual: In it, fiction becomes reality. Charenton is a fluid that leaks, oozing political and textual fragments of our past and present. Its inventions do not coincide; in Charenton, the poem is a linguistic freedom machine.
Chus Pato was born in Ourense, Galicia (an autonomous community in Spain) and is the most radical and important poet in Galician today. A selection in English translation from her 2000 book m-Talá has appeared from Nomados in Vancouver Canada in 2003. In her words: “I lean toward constructions which investigate the possibility of a language-thinking that declines to repeat the already-written and lives in contact-lamination with the seams of the unsayable, of what hasn’t yet been written into the corporeality of the poem.” “My autobiography? Insofar as all autobiography participates in fiction, I prefer not to be forced to choose, so I opt not to have one.”