Language as shipwreck

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The poetry of Ana Marques Martins explores the end of the verse not by subtraction, but by prosaism, transforming the crisis of the lyric into the lyric of the crisis

By Vladimir Safatle*

Perhaps there are two types of poets who make the language sink. And we should rather look for them because it is possible that this is one of the central functions of poetry today, one of the last ones left to it, namely, to make the language sink. This is something that poetry inherited from music, this tacit awareness that language could not be immune to the hollowing out and hardening into a system of conventions, that such hollowing out was a political project: the project of stripping language of its margins. , its rhythm of implosions, in short, the incommunicability that resides in its foundation. And, like music, it was about making incommunicability cross the soil of language in order to constitute itself as expression.

But one must also remember the historical coordinates surrounding an operation of this nature today. In a country built on extorted agreements, consensuses that were nothing more than forced silences and unrecognized violence, we would even expect that, at some point, his poetry would begin to turn to the desire to make the silence imposed by language sink. O topos of exhausted language is not simply the expression of some form of lyric crisis but, if you allow me an inversion, of a lyric of the crisis that appears to us as a way of, at the same time, highlighting the limits imposed by us by a false order and take control of words from that order.

But as was said before, perhaps there are two types of poets who make the language sink. One makes language matter to be recomposed, refuses to speak as one normally speaks, makes language collide with its own grammar, against its norms. Such a poet writes as one who dissects words, as one who exposes his bruises. He decomposes the rhythm of speech and recomposes it in rhythms that are foreign to ordinary speech. His poems are often the millimetric exploration of writing.

Perhaps one of the last great poets of this type was Paul Celan. Faced with the historical traumas of the holocaust and disappearance, life that pulses after pulses always demands silence from the forms of prosaic language. For this reason, she makes poetry touch the points of decomposition of the language, touch the end of the verse to release the word and its original composition.

However, there are poets who seem willing to do almost the opposite operation. They are those who want to catch the language at its trivial point, as if to say: “it is therefore good to use borrowed words, if only to remember that we only have second-hand words”. They are those that assume a rhythm that most resembles prose, that touch the end of the verse not through subtraction, but through prosaism. Poets who seem to be talking, as if telling something that is normally told, but only to describe an unexpected form of collision, to talk about “the way their dreams seem like the thoughts of people who survived a plane crash”. This group is part Ana Marques Martins.

Ana Marques' poetry is not only willing to expose the fragility of prosaic language, and thus not leave it in order to make such fragility its strength. She seems to want to give voice to the ways in which the limits of prosaic life seem designed to be ironically perverted: “I don't know how to travel I'm not in the mood I don't have the courage but I can forget an orange over Mexico draw a sailboat over India paint the islands of Cabo Green one by one as if they were fingernails”.

In this gesture in which the map no longer represents the world, in which the system of representations collapses and sinks from the moment the representation ironically swallows up the represented, the lack of courage and willingness ends up transmuting into another form. on a trip. “It's a joy to have languages ​​that I don't understand from them all the memories have been swept away / in them the meaning passes between the words / like light between the plants”.

In abandoning the limitations of the language as a condition of communication vehicle, in the shipwreck of its communication, not knowing other languages ​​becomes a joy because speaking is transmuted into a relationship of misunderstandings that is the only condition to lead to something:

I walk the streets thinking how is it possible

so many people talking

nothing out loud

when they direct me by mistake

the word smile as if to apologize

then I'm tempted to run after that person

and give her back the word she left

fall by carelessness

This poetry, in a moment of inflation of the first person singular, surprises by saying so little about the Self. She feels much more comfortable talking about “you”, about things, about language, about the poem itself. When it comes to talking about the downfall of herself, she prefers to talk about the nature of the tables. Then:

more important than having a memory is having a table

more important than having loved one day is to have a solid table

a table that is like a day bed

with your heart of a tree, of a forest

it is important in matters of love not to get your feet in your hands

but more important is to have a table

because a table is a kind of floor

who supports those who have not yet fallen for good

Instead of the psychology of frustrations and feelings of love devastation, it is better to contain yourself (and all this poetry is inhabited by a containment that gives it its uniqueness) and turn your eyes to things, the description of things, the mark we leave on things when we transform a table into a day bed or, even, into a kind of floor that supports us while we still don't fall for good.

This table, which is a kind of floor, says much more than any account of itself. And it couldn't be different with someone who understood that: "a poem is nothing more than a stone that screams". For as has been said before, there will come a time when the stones will speak, after our language ceases to exist.

*Vladimir Safari He is a professor at the Department of Philosophy at USP

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