Fri. Feb 28th, 2020

Gamoneda finds himself

The poet and writer publishes «Poverty», the second volume of the Cervantes Prize memoirs, one of the most personal voices of current literature

“Poverty has conditioned my life and my work,” said Antonio Gamoneda in his thank-you speech when he received the Cervantes Prize in 2007. It is not strange, then, that his second volume of memories has entitled it “Poverty” ( Gutenberg galaxy), which is the culmination of the work of one of the most personal and recognized voices of current literature. Gamoneda makes a retrospective look that, while self-portrait, is a chronicle of the hard years after the war, difficult years for him and his mother, a living fresco of that society gripped by the moral and material misery that began in 1945 when, with barely fourteen years, Gamoneda goes to work as a meritorious in the Mercantile Bank of León having to leave his studies to earn a living and contribute to the family economy. This moment marks his premature entry into adulthood and allows him to know first-hand the labor reality. Learning novel as well as a post-war chronicle, “Poverty” hides a newspaper that includes reflections on poetry and poetry, dreamlike episodes and glimpses – sometimes hilarious – about society, work and travel.

Doubts and failure

In his presentation, Gamoneda began talking about the first part of his memoirs of which he said “that there was a will in them, there were doubts and there was failure.” And he explained: «It was not about achieving something bright or attractive, my older employer when faced with them had to consist of being an authentic encounter with myself. If I succeeded, although then my memories were intervened by forgetting, it seemed to me that the writing was going to be reliable. And with another essential aspect – he pointed out – in that reunion with me seventy years ago, I also wanted to know about myself, try to find out things that I ignored, some of which, latent, provided me with something similar to a situation of existential emptiness that it produced a great restlessness ». In that confrontation with himself he asked himself: «What had I done, what had I not done or what had been done to me? This introspection necessary to remember and write had to occur through that personal reunion. And he continued, “Here is my life, my near and dear ones, but also my time, and this begins with the Spanish postwar period and in this field I wanted to place the title of the book,” Poverty “, not only the material which includes its most visible aspects, such as hunger, but it is possible that poverty also meant experiential emptying, that guarded emptiness that was our Spain and that I am sometimes afraid of continuing to be. The book begins with the postwar period and sometimes I wonder if it’s over, I’m not sure, because it is possible that what we expected, has not happened yet. With this desire to attend to the seen and heard and lived I have tried to do it from the maximum of reality, ”he concluded.


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