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Exegetic Dissonance in Pureza Canelo’s Dulce Nadie

From: Hispanófila
Volume 169, Septiembre 2013
pp. 113-129 | 10.1353/hsf.2013.0053

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[A] symbolic system develops as an independent order moving according to principles independent of things it would represent….

Jacques Lacan’s illumination of the search for the authentic self provides an appropriate theoretical base from which to investigate Canelo’s poetic representation of subject (implicit poet) and object (other). From her first volume Celda verde (1971) to Pasión inédita (1990), the implicit poet keeps close company with a silent interlocutor (“tú”) whose primary role is to pay heed to the poet’s metapoetic misgivings. Since the ‘exchange’ focuses exclusively on the creative process, the interlocutory presence may appropriately be deemed a ‘creative other.’ Following Lacan, one could say that “‘the subject’ depends on the signifier [the poem] and ‘the signifier’ is first of all in the field of the Other” (Four Fundamental Concepts 205). Moreover, the poet, in her constancy to the Heideggerian notion that “poetically man dwells” (Poetry, Language 209), views the other’s field as a dwelling place, which she configures, successively, as a house in Habitable (Primera poética) (1979), a ‘circumference of grass’ in Tendido verso (Segunda poética) (1986), and an apse in Pasión inédita. But with No escribir (1999), her regard for the field of the other diminishes, and in Poética y poesía (2008) she concludes: “Todo ha sido una cárcel de dos y en ese deslumbrar de esferas esta ciega mano deshaciéndose” (55; my emphasis). Thus, the partner with whom she had “moved, danced, and rolled on the floor” (“Con ella me moví, dancé, me tiré a ‘los suelos’” [55]), especially in her middle works, abandons the poem. The split apparently mutual, Canelo declares in No escribir her decision to “sortear la cita con el llamado fingimiento de la creación poética.”1 To avoid future encounters, she abandons the fertile colloquy of her previous verse and engages again in the unencumbered, imaginative flights of her earliest compositions. This fresh approach to writing she calls “escritura frugal” (No escribir 33).

In the books that follow her 1990 volume, No escribir, Dulce nadie (2008), and A todo lo no amado (2011), Canelo, accordingly, assigns alterity to a variety of objects or others, none of which possesses the degree of constancy of the creative other of her middle works. Concerning Dulce nadie, a book that came to life in her hometown of Moraleja in the summer of 2007, the poet says the following: “El libro va vestido de su signo: en la unidad de alimento2 que hoy me traspasa, en un vuelo de desposesión, con un lenguaje que busca transparencia y lo esencial alejado de la antigua obsesión metapoética” (Poética y poesía 56; my emphasis). She then adds: “Es un poemario de soledad rotunda, donde se cruzan los tres vértices del triángulo de mi existencia: el desamor por tantas cosas, la ausencia materna y el egoísmo humano que nos invade” (57). At this time of life, Canelo says that she has found only one substance, one element to which she can cling: “Desde estos años de madurez de vida y creación no encuentro otra manera de supervivencia. Tiempo. Nadie. Nada. Madre sí” (Poética y poesía 57).3

These are unexpected statements for readers familiar with Canelo’s trajectory, first, because they suggest that she has abandoned what has been her exclusive approach to writing; and second, because she has introduced an intersubjective element, that is, her own mother, into a process that has been largely intrapsychic. These revisions are interrelated, since they suggest that Canelo has moved from an intrapsychic landscape – one in which each element acquires the status of a mental object – to a terrain occupied by a flesh-and-blood referent. My position here is that, despite the poet’s remarks in Poética y poesía, the poematic object, which I have heretofore referred to as the creative other, does not in any major sense yield to the mother but, rather, stands her ground, albeit in latent form, before reassuming her position as silent “tú” in A todo lo no amado, where the poet, concomitantly, revisits the...

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