Nilo Palenzuela: "East Africa also appears in the poetic genealogy of Tomas Morales"


The writer Nilo Palenzuela presents the facsimile editions of 'Las Rosas de Hércules'. / C7

The writer and professor of Literature presents this Thursday at the poet's house-museum the facsimile editions of 'Las Rosas de Hércules'

GABRIELA VICENT The Gran Canarian palms

The
House-Museum Tomás Morales de Moya continues to celebrate the centenary of the poet with the publication of the facsimiles of the two volumes of
'The Roses of Hercules'one of the most emblematic editions of contemporary Canarian literature.
Nile Palenzuela, writer and professor of Literature at the University of La Laguna and one of the great connoisseurs of the work of Tomás Morales, defends the importance of the poet as "an unavoidable great figure" and
referent of poetry of the 20th century.

East
Thursday, at 6:30 p.m.in the Assembly Hall of the aforementioned museum of the Cabildo Gran Canaria, the facsimile of the two
volumes of 'Las Rosas de Hércules' (I and II), with covers by Néstor and Miguel Martín Fernández de la Torre, endpapers by José Hurtado de Mendoza and portrait by Colacho Massieu"just as his contemporaries conceived it and Tomás Morales himself devised it," says Palenzuela.

Interestingly, Palenzuela's most recent work,
'Another sea, another soil' It is a long poem that connects, like a Homeric journey, with Africa, just like Tomás Morales in 'Las Rosas de Hércules', without losing sight of the Atlantic connection of the two gazes.

Are there similarities in both visions?
«My book is published in 2022 because I wanted it to coincide with the centenary of the second installment of 'Las Rosas de Hércules'; and also with the year in which 'The Waste Land', by TS Eliot, was published, the poem that taught that the ascending Western order had bottomed out after the Great War. 'Another sea, another soil', precisely for this reason, follows in the wake of a land that is becoming increasingly barren.
Take the opposite direction to the 'Ode to the Atlantic' from Morales, towards the East, towards this complex space that is Africa, our continent, and which, with few exceptions, has been taboo for poetry in our language», points out the professor.

«Homer, Odysseus, Morales, are here, but trying to listen to other voices that will not end, like Ulysses from 'Inferno', drowned in the environment of the Canary Islands, in the solipsistic environment of a culture that always wanted to move towards the West. Let's say that I start from 'Ode to the Atlantic' -and from Quesada- to listen to voices that come from the East, from Africa,
a bit like Walcott's Omerus. From my closest domain, my starting point is Morales », he says.

«The curious thing is that in the poetic genealogy of Tomas Morales East Africa also appears.
Leconte de Lisle, the Parnassian poet who promotes an intense Greco-Latin recreation and who is his predecessor, was born on the island of La Réunion, in the Indian Ocean, and was an anti-slavery. It is after several trips to La Réunion that I was able to recognize my Atlantic space and also find spaces
african experiential who face the expansive sleaze of Euro-American economic and neo-colonial power”, he adds.

'Another sea, another soil', like the photo of
Theresa Belt taken from the Pont des Martyrs in Bamako and which serves as the cover for the book, draws bridges under the traces of tragedy. "It is, so to speak, the reverse of the Atlantic look, something that could not have been carried out in any way without turning the world upside down.
Tomas Morales tripeven in his way of 'exoticizing' the world of the slavers, that invisible tragedy for modernists», advances the essayist.

Palenzuela has reflected on numerous occasions on the
identity Concept, usually highlighting its dispersion or as a counterpoint to universality. When asked about the role that our Atlantic insular position plays in the complex world map that is presented to us in this second decade of the 21st century, he replies: "A long time ago, after the 'Islands' exhibition, held at the
CAAMshowed that identity is meaningless if it does not open up and is willing to transform itself into a dialogue with others, if one is not aware that it can only exist under a poetics of the relationship, which takes in multiple directions (towards the bottom of memory, towards other cultures and languages, towards other territories)».

«That porous and constantly changing identity, from my perspective, can occur in the concentric circles of any nationalism, in the broad sense of belonging to a place, a country, a state, a culture. Identity is always temporary, but it requires time and space, a regional vision, be it a small or huge region (whether insular, national, European, Latin American...).
At the moment I share more 'identity' with some Saharawis from Dakhla than with the President of the Government of the Canary Islands or Spain. Politicians are also determined to create regrettable mantras », he maintains. “When I was young, I thought that this identity existed, that metaphysics of insularity. After having traveled through thought, art and literature, it seems to me the simplicity of believers and megalomaniacs».

According to Palenzuela, the edition of
'The Roses of Hercules'edited just after the end of the First World War and just two years after the October Revolution,
shows a world of contradictions that comes from the old memory of a culture and that collides with the irruption of a different historical condition. "Tomás Morales is the Canarian writer of the first half of the 20th century with the greatest presence in the Spanish editorial space," he concludes.



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