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Vicent Alonso

Visat núm. 10
(octubre 2010)
by Vicent Berenguer
Vicent Alonso appeared for the first time as a poet in 1980 after having his poems published in the Catalan literature magazine Cairell. At that time he was just 32 years old. Three years later his first book of poems entitled Vel de claredats emerged. This period of history was marked by political transition and the emergence of the so-called "generation of the seventies" on the Catalan literary scene. It had a strong effect in forcing a competitive spirit amongst the authors of the Franco period, such as Espriu, Andrés Estrellés, Llompart, Marti i Pol, Riba and Vinyoli amongst others.

Vicent Alonso is not exactly found in the margins of this group, but rather it is the author himself who decides to mark his distance and stay independent from them in the sense that his poetry is intellectually demanding and has a strength that makes it resistant to certain influencing trends at that time. Alonso’s earlier books actually express that tone using a trajectory that brings his work closer to the present and make it naturally more open. This is the tone that confirms his positive individuality.

Over the three years following the release of his first book, two more works Albes d’enlloc and Ritme de clepsidra were published. From that point there was a pause of twelve years until he published Cercles de la mirada and then Del clam de Jasó four years after that. Evidently, timing was not one of Alonso’s strong suites; however, it does indicate that his creative rhythm responds to a process of exploration and expression of the author’s own personal world, just as he himself desired the outcome of his work to be. His poetry deals with the transmission of a very personal vision, distanced from the logical seductions of famous Catalan poets, but still establishing a subtle dialogue with them at the same time that, without ignoring it, independently generates universal traditions. This lyric oscillates from imitations to the unspeakable and, consequently, everything that emanates, both now and then, are the unique words of a human being immersed in the world and in life itself as an expression of both familiar and social voices. In the end his poetry is a dialogue where the concepts of you and I are interchanged using a lucid vision which, however, does not go unpunished nor do the ideas of innocence or stupor shrink in size. Alonso’s poetry even has affinities with Hölderlin. Given his natural style, Vicent Alonso creates and positions words which keep their unperceivable modesty intact because the author dresses his work in a type of transparent veil. As all his work is autobiographical, transcending it is most definitely the sign of mature, humanized poetry.

Vicent Alonso has also penned a number of literary studies and written many opinion articles and reviews. He has also written prose and narrative and always positions his opinion far from any canonical or academic opinions. He himself has reiterated that he does not consider himself to be a critic, but rather a reader who enjoys reflecting upon and talking about the books he reads. His writing tends more towards dialogue, the clashing of opinions and interpreting the echo found in the work of others. This attitude can be seen throughout his own narratives which are best characterized as descriptive and reflective elements ultimately found in essays and far from any trace of preciosity and, obviously, bookish presumptions. If poetry is branded by the way it expresses synthesis, by the search for new senses or the infallible amongst others —as Vicent Alonso’s poetry does—, in his prose one can appreciate one single search for a new sense, but evidently with narrative resources that, despite their poetic feeling, do have properties of their own which are clearly marked by this aforementioned essayistic willpower. Therefore his style of writing allows for the overlapping of subjectivity and expression of various issues: novels, poetry, history, politics, the essay itself or daily life. Over time this work has had become increasingly better-known, but what it really allows the reader to do is get an at least partial idea. Although since his articles have started to be collected, much value has also been given to his narrative and essayistic traits, such as in Les paraules i els dies (2002), or Cròniques desinteressades (2010), or even his diaries like Trajecte circular and Notes d’un dietari (2003). The aforementioned are works of reference because they transcend the odd anecdote with a general vision.

Translated by Christina McGown
Cafè Malvarrosa
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Del Clam de Jasó
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Silenci contra silenci
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