The need to return poetry to the people has been addressed at different moments with very uneven success. Since the 1980’s the poetry of Luis García Montero has become the standard for an entire generation of Spanish language poets. García Montero is a poet with a following of readers, but in addition he is a poet who has never eschewed depth or difficulty in order to attract them.
His poetry has resolved the difficult equation between quality and general acceptance, thanks to his knowledge of tradition and to his unflinching defense of his fellow man in the public arena.
Author Luis García Montero
Translation Gordon E. McNeer
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Poetry is useless; it’s only good
for cutting off the head of a king
or seducing a young girl.
Perhaps it’s also useful,
if it’s true that water is death,
for slicing into water with a dream.
And if time grants it its unique material,
it might possibly serve as a knife,
because a clean cut is better
when we cut open the skin of memory.
With a shard of glass,
makes messier wounds.
Poetry is you,
a clean cut,
a slice in the water,
-if water is the reason for existence-
the woman who lets herself be seduced
to cut off the head of a king.