Monday, February 8, 2010

Poem in Spain, novel in France

It might have been poetry. “It was the hour in Mogador when lovers rouse, their dreams still entangled between their legs, behind their eyes, in their mouths, lingering over their empty hands….” The writer of this poetic, sensuous prose does not believe in classification of genres.

“There is no difference between poetry and prose. The idea that prose is a reflection of reality is rubbish. The difference is cultural,” says Mexican author Alberto Ruy Sanchez, who was in Calcutta recently to deliver the Ashoke Kumar Sarkar Memorial Lecture at the Book Fair.

The tall, mild-mannered Sanchez, decorated by both the Mexican and the French governments, has an example to back his conviction. “My book Nine Times Wonder is classified as essay in the US, poem in Spain and novel in France,” he shrugs. “When you move in the middle they don’t know what to do with you!"

By “they”, Sanchez’s fingers point towards publishers, especially in Mexico’s northern neighbours, the US. “The Spanish publishing industry gives us more freedom unlike the US. We are lucky not to receive money from books. We earn from lectures and tours.” That leaves authors free to follow their impulse without having to shape their writings according to preconceived generic distinctions.

Full report here Telegraph

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