Sunday, December 14, 2008

Aimless Reading: The A's, Part 7

Aguilera, C.A.
Retrato De A. Hooper Y Su Esposa
(Portrait of A. Hooper and His Wife)

Carlos Aguilera is one of several Cuban poets I had the opportunity to meet in Havana in 2001. We're around the same age, and we both are obsessed with film. After the festival we were attending had ended, I stayed for a couple of extra days in Havana. With Carlos and Pedro Marques de Armas as my guides, I got to see a bit of the city outside the tourist zone. The highlight was going to an afternoon baseball game at the stadium in Havana. La Habana Industrial played against Camaguey, the latter trouncing the former.

Retrato was published when C.A. was 25 or 26, and I think it was his second book. Here's a very quick translation of the intro, which is a manifesto of sorts, flavored by an ironic hint of WC Williams' intro to The Wedge:

Portrait of A. Hooper and his Wife is a machine. Better yet: it has been "constructed" in the same way a machine is constructed: part by part, coupling by coupling. It's logic is as follows: to produce an account situated on the outside of thought-Institution. To produce, an account, situated (on the outside) of what has been thought as Institution. From there, its verticality, its conceptualism. That mechanical way of putting Writing together. From there, its "problem."

In Cuban literature there are hardly any: Problems. I mean to say: Literature as Problem hardly exists. As game. As transgression. As pleasure. Everything has been centralized. Brought to its maximum Ontologization. Everything has been converted into Territory. Territory has become ridiculous-boredom-parcel. Territory, which has become, Oedipal-knowledge-stagnation.

If they were to ask me (yes, they might ask) the way, or: the ways one ought to read this poem, I would tell them (like Nietszche): cynically and effectively. In the same way that (at night) we beat our wife and, the following morning (teeth brushed, face clean shaven) we ask her (sweetly) to prepare our breakfast.

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