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The experience left an indelible mark on the budding poet and sowed within his protean spirit the seeds of the international avant-garde. It was in the great cosmopolitan capital that young Torre witnessed new forms of art, including verbal-visual poetry, paintings, the cinema, photogra- phy, collage art and jazz.
He became enamoured with this new urban landscape impregnated with febrile activity and growing dynamism. Huidobro — , a Chilean poet and inventor of Creationism, was visiting Madrid following a trip to Paris, where he had come across and clashed ideologically with the principal European avant-garde movements — Cubism, Futurism and Dada — and with the liter- ary celebrities of the period, including Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Jean Cocteau, Blaise Cendrars and Pierre Reverdy.
Huidobro not only popularized the myriads of literary innovations that had sprung up in Paris; he also supported and promoted the movement known as Creationism. Indeed, he considered himself the founder of this literary school, as did Pierre Reverdy — , igniting a rivalry between the two. This is not the place in which to analyse this literary querelle. Creationism, linked to the aesthetics of French lit- erary Cubism, was frequently confused with Ultraism by critics.
The most important Ultraist magazines, Grecia —20 and Vltra —22 , showcased this unruly melting pot of ideas, and featured as constants the stylistic and lexical markers of Italian Futurism. See Torre: Literaturas europeas de vanguardia, p.
In his declarations as a young writer, Torre frequently stated that the first homegrown Spanish avant-garde was primarily a syncretic fusion of diverse aesthetic trends and styles. To do this, the new generation of poets had to challenge the past and embrace a new technological mythology. This formal crossbreeding of various avant-garde movements was fostered by an expressly Futurist declamatory spirit: The angular aesthetic trends of the avant-garde flow into our equidistant vertex. We draw upon the Wireless Imag- ination and Words-in-Freedom.
We are participants in the Cubist norms when they shed light on their hexahedral perspectives and when they position an image in space based on the juxtaposition and interpenetration of levels. And together with American cinema, which cheers us up with its exciting muscular and mental exploits, we love this desired return to primitive structures and the baroque orgasm, which involves the statuesque, sharp and incomparable subconscious of Black Art.
The origins of literary Cubism gave us the images of Creationism, a primordial cell of this brand new lyrical organism. Torre wanted to depict Ultraism as a polygon or network of elements that comprises the intersections of two or more equidistant lines of development in the European avant-garde.
If seen in this light, or cum grano salis, then the statement of an Italian critic that our century is a Futurist one rings true.
Neither the Generation of nor Modernism are able to offer any solution to the problems and transformations of the moment, derivatives of technical and scientific progress — mass civilization, urban life, industrialization, instant communication, cars, aeroplanes. They included the use of capital letters for emphasis, words printed in ascending or descending diago- nals, lines that step down to another line, the absence of punctuation and blank spaces.
When first published, the collection received a largely negative response. It was considered a purely formal experi- ment or game. Its literary value and its position within the Spanish and European avant-garde were ignored. For additional editorial information, see the footnote in the Italian translation Eliche, p. However, seen as a whole, it was a qualified failure: the works are quite heterogeneous, they reflect a lack of depth and theoretical codification common to Ultraist manifestos and, above all, they clearly show that they are the product of the fashions of the times, rather than a genuine poetic expression.
A careful analysis of these assessments reveals a great deal of subjec- tive evaluation, often combined with prejudices. In each of his compositions, Torre was obsessively searching for a revolution- ary space in which to re-create reality. The book is immersed in a context worth highlighting. It affects the relations between Industry and City, social exploita- tion and the song of a New Man.
We shall sing of the great multitudes who are roused up by work, by pleasure, or by rebellion; of the many-hued, many-voiced tides of revolution in our modern capitals; of the pulsating, nightly ardor of arsenals and shipyards, ablaze with their violent electric moons; of railway stations, voraciously devouring smoke-belching serpents; of workshops hanging from the clouds by their twisted threads of smoke; of bridges which, like giant gymnasts, bestride the rivers, flashing in the sunlight like gleaming knives; of intrepid steamships that sniff out the horizon; of broad-breasted locomotives, champing on their wheels like enormous steel horses, bridled with pipes; and of the lissome flight of the aeroplane, whose propeller flutters like a flag in the wind, seeming to applaud, like a crowd excited.
Anyone who today uses the telegraph, the telephone, and the gramophone, the train, the bicycle, the motorcycle, the automobile, the ocean liner, the airship, the aeroplane, the film theater, the great daily newspaper which syn- thesizes the daily events of the whole world , fails to recognize that these different forms of com- munication, of transport and information, have a far-reaching effect on their psyche.
The poet undoubtedly spent hours scrutinising handbooks on engineering, chemistry and medicine, with a view to providing this long list of unwarranted technical terms and neologisms. In actual fact, what Torre wished to achieve in these and other texts of the collection was a hybrid of diverse registers, not a plethora of technical terms to impress the reader.
Young Torre was awestruck by this revolution of inward looking poetry, from both a thematic and formal perspective. The very word is interpreted as a sensual body, in continuous met- amorphosis, engaging in congress with any element of reality.
The body absorbs reality through the skin via osmosis and continuously succumbs to the truth of its existence. In this way, the lyrical subject sings of the explosion of eros, creating symmetry between its physicality and that of a country — the Spain of the times — during a phase of industrial expansion.
The act of creation is no longer reserved to God: it is part of humankind and, thus, of the poet. This is the historical year in which the armistice ended the Great War; this is the time to re-create reality ex novo not ex nihilo , through the power of language.
Why do you sing the rose, O poets! Hacedla florecer en el poema. Let it flower in the poem. Do things live under the sun. Y del horizonte rasgado desciende niveamente And from the ripped horizon the fertilizing el polen fecundante. En su estuario vorticista naufragan las In their vorticist estuary traditional gazes are miradas tradicionales. Through technology, through the cumbersome prosthesis of a car or aeroplane, they exceed their natural limits and reach a supernatural state.
It develops slowly, in the heart of the night of this cataclysm, and follows the ascension of the human spirit, which, from the depths of the abyss, illuminates humanity and the cosmos. There are therefore two sides: one of night and terror, one of glory and joy, just as man has to undergo the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly.
This could be interpreted as a visual reference to a chalice from which the New Man might quench his thirst. This entails the categorical refusal to employ traditional codes and leads to the adoption of new language structures as proposed by Marinetti. Visual poetry, in searching for aesthetic freedom, in per- forming a self-referential linguistic exercise, restores the immediacy of sensory experience. Noise demonstration of the dynamism of objects ; 2.
Weight power of flight of objects ; 3. Smell the ability of objects to scatter themselves. These synoptic tables must not be thought of as an end in themselves but as a means of increasing the expressive lyrical force. We have therefore to avoid attempting pictorial effects, or amusing ourselves by playing around with intersecting lines or unusual typographical distortions.
In Words-in-Freedom we must totally eradicate everything that does not aspire to express the fleeting, mysterious Futurist sensibility by means of this most innovative geometrical and mechanical splen- dor. Intellectually he belonged to Apollinaire, but temperamentally he resembled Mari- netti The Aesthetics of Visual Poetry, p. In this Cubism-related calligram calligramme , the poet endeavours to merge the earth rockets — fireworks — hair and sky comet — Urania, the muse of Astron- omy by means of a game.
Certain key words summer, sun, siesta, azure, thirst, mirage, etc. Previously published in Grecia 29 12 October : 4—5. The calligrammatic words appear to be projected on a canvas or a cinema screen.
The circle could be a visual metonymy of the wheel of the threshing machine or, simply, the trail it leaves behind.
The poem illustrates a cosmic dawn, with the symbol for the astrological sign Libra standing in the centre of the poem and suggesting of balance and stability. Like Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in ,74 Guillermo de Torre is flying high in his epic universe, undisturbed by the critics. Ex-Libris for Guillermo de Torre. Ultraism undoubtedly possessed a heterogeneous nature and was the result of a cross-breeding with the aesthetics of other avant-garde movements.
However, the resulting claim that it was devoid of ethics and ideological organicity pro- duced a stalemate that has been detrimental to the development of Torre studies.
The hybridism and protean nature of Ultraism are undeniable; therefore, further investigations are needed so that its composite identity can be revealed in a more detailed fasion. The Spanish writers formed an intellectual association that was based on the Italian model. However, this alliance was incoherent, inconsistent, chequered, and therefore not as supportive as one would hope for, or as organic as — at least ten- dentially — the Futurist group was.
Yet, the Spanish avant-garde did band together formally as a group, comprising of guiding figures and various subdivisions. Above all, an indigenous identity, featuring formal and original devices, incisive terms and neologisms gradually emerged. Although the Ultraists adopted some of the aesthetic devices from the Italians, they nevertheless eschewed all forms of sterile imitation. He substituted the Greek prefix poly- with the Latin prefix multi-. Bibliography Anderson, Andrew A.
Madrid: Taurus, Buenos Aires: Devenir, Sevilla: Alfar, Poemas Sevilla: Renacimiento, A cura di Daniele Corsi. Arezzo: Bibliotheca Aretina, International Yearbook of Futurism Studies.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Madrid: Alianza, Bonet, Juan Manuel, ed. Brihuega, Jaime, ed. Torino: Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, Carrouges, Michel: La Mystique du surhomme.