Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sunday's Mini-challenge: David Huerta

Hi Toads & visitors to the garden! My feature poet this weekend is David Huerta, considered by critics to be one of Mexico’s major living poets. This judgment was confirmed in February of 2006 when Huerta was awarded the Xavier Villarrutia Prize, Mexico’s most prestigious literary award, by a unanimous vote of the jury for his four decades of poetic production.

David was born in Mexico City in 1949 & is the son of the well-known poet, Efrain Huerta. He is one the leading poets of the generation that first came to prominence during the 1970s in Mexico. He published his first book of poems, El Jardín de la Luz [The Garden of Light] (1972), while still a student in the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts at Mexico's Autonomous National University (UNAM). It has been followed by numerous collections, among them: Cuaderno de Noviembre [November Notebook] (1976), Huellas del civilizado [Traces of the Civilized] (1977), Versión [Version] (1978), El espejo del cuerpo [The Mirror of the Body] (1980) and Incurable [Incurable] (1987), a long poem in nine parts that encourages the reader to participate in constructing the meaning of the poem.

Aside from his poetry, David Huerta has translated works from Italian and English, and is an editor of the Mexican publishing house Fondo de Cultura Económica. He writes a column for the Mexican weekly Proceso, and teaches literature at the Universidad Autónoma de México. Huerta has been a central figure in two of the most influential poetic movements in late 20th-century Latin America - the neobaroque movement and that of postmodern language poetry. His imagery, intertextuality, and dense lyricism remain unparalleled in Mexican letters. (Source)

About his own work, Huerta says: I am a writer of traditional poetry. I write poetry of images, metaphors, metonymy, all sorts of tropes and figures of language. But I do not worship imagery. Instead, I believe it helps us to say some things that can help us live outside the logic of markets, if that is still possible.

Open and Shut

You open the blade of a flick knife
so it drips transparency.

You shut the restless cube of night
and a stream of shadow ramifies.

You open and shut the liquid diaphragm
of my heart - and at dawn I arrive

in the stately, tenfold
starlight of your hands.


Lord, save this moment.
There's nothing outlandish or
miraculous about it, unless it holds
a hint of immortality, a breath
of salvation. It looks like
any number of other moments...
But it's here now among us:
it casts its yellow light and swells
like the sun or like flaming lemons
 - and tastes of the sea, of loved hands
and smells like a street in Paris
where we were happy. Save it
in your memory or deliver it
into the light that sets
on this page,
barely touching it. 

You can read more poems translated by Jamie McKendrick HERE.

(translated by Mark Schafer)

The fruit descends
like a chapter of lightening:

Purified light,
fertile in its volume
of vein
and juice,
of peel and gleaming.

The fruit fills
the shadow burn
of your hand.

Shadow of transfixed
and curved delight.

Here, then, is the fruit,
its grams
stripped bare,
in the Sun of a hand.

There are more poems from Before Saying Any of the Great Words that have been translated by Mark Schafer. In the interest of copyright, please read the rest in this LINK.

Our challenge is to write a new poem or prose poem in response to David Huerta's words. Some examples of responses include affirming what the speaker said or using his title or line of verse as a jumping board for your own writing. The prompt is wide open so feel free to explore where your muse takes you. After you link up, please visit the work of your fellow writers. Happy weekend to all ~ Grace (aka Heaven)


Outlawyer said...

These are just beautiful poems, Grace. Thanks. k.

brudberg said...

Impressive poems Grace.. I read and read and really liked the brave way he presented us with images.. They really hit me in the gut.. Happy Saturday/Sunday everyonr.

hedgewitch said...

Beautiful imagery in these, Grace--I especially love the ten-fingered starlight and the flaming lemons.

Grace said...

His images are stunning indeed ~ I am glad you like his poems ~ Wishing you all happy weekend ~

Outlawyer said...

Thanks also for the links, Grace. k

Grace said...

Speaking of links, the Fruit is from here:

Anonymous said...

The poem about another poet's work interested me called, "Poem by Goffried Benn". I didn't do Heurta any justice as far as the beautiful images he uses in writing, but I tried to write in the same spirit as his poem that spoke to me.

Outlawyer said...

You know, I ended up going in a much different direction than expected, and I'm not sure I really like the direction this took--agh--but there it is--k.

Liz Rice-Sosne said...

This has been such a treat - thank you for the introduction and the wonderful poetry. Happy new Year, Liz

Anonymous said...

I can't even begin to capture his style. I just took a phrase and ran with it. Thank you for introducing me to a new to me poet.

Susan said...

Huerta rocks! I can not begin to image like he does, so I'll just dwell on some words he uses often in his poems. Thanks for the challenge, Heaven--what great reading.

Anonymous said...

Hi Grace, thanks for sharing such wonderful work from a poet I last read long ago. There's something about writing verse in Spanish that invokes such intoxicating spice in the mind -- like Paz and Machado and Jimenez and Lorca (and, of course Neruda), Huerta masters in living "outside the logic of markets" -- and shows, yes, that it's still possible, and makes be believe that outside the markets, an army of lovers can never be defeated ... Thanks for being such a great advocate for reading the poetry of others.

Grace said...

Thanks for the feedback, smiles ~

Brendan, there's something about the Spanish speaking poets that's very lyrical ~ I wish I can read the original poems in Spanish ~

I will be checking in during the week for late entries~

Fireblossom said...

What does Liz Rice-Sosne's post have to do with this prompt?

Fireblossom said...

And, as i said at your blog, Grace, another marvelous choice of poet and poems.

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks for sharing Huerta with us. I am new to his poetry.

Hannah said...

Thank you, Grace...I always enjoy being introduced to new, to me , poets...very inspiring!

Jim said...

Thank you Grace, for hosting today. I am a bit late, sorry.
I liked reading Huerta, I had read a bit of him sampled elsewhere but can't remember where. I also liked Machinery which only used the word once,
"I touch the sheets that cover your perfect shoulders and I fall silent
Profound machinery sounds amid the formidable blue
scrapes at its edges they say we are sick we are foolish"
Poets' license. Still I like the poem, using the word didn't add much for me.

Outlawyer said...

Hey Grace, Kerry, I so liked Huerta--I have done another poem. No need to go to it--I am going to post with the open link forum--but since it was (at least in my mind) influenced by him, I've included here if okay. Thanks!

Kerry--sorry it's so hot where you are! It was warmer today--in the 30s--but down to 7 degrees (Farenheit) tonight.)
(Agh.) I have to go to the City tomorrow super early so a little worried about ice everywhere--even in the car doors. (Grace--you may be familiar with that.) k.

Ella said...

I look forward to reading everyone's work~ What a wonderful prompt, Grace!

grapeling said...

Grace, an inspired choice. Sorry for being so late. ~ M

Marian said...

really wonderful, Grace... i too am very late, will share on Tuesday Platform. thanks so much for this.

Grace said...

I am reading the late entries so no worries at all ~ Karin, its very cold here, below -12 C & with the wind chill, may go up to -30 C ~

Thanks for all the wonderful feedback ~