“But pure poetry will not really be the ability to give vulgar language (written and spoken) a certain mystery that, once thoroughly researched (academically), is revealed hidden behind mere prosodic, syntactic, rhythmic, metric, semantic structures…?”
Perhaps Roberto Manzano when writing Lyrical Diary (Selvi Ediciones, 2020) has not intended a document for posterity. But in his condition as a diarist1 his desire to share a spiritual thought about the world is discovered with full awareness. The generalization, however, leads us to want to know the privacy of the author. In fact, would it be convenient to define an orb that, beyond spatial-temporal experiences, represents a reality expanded by imagination and dreams from the poet’s experience?
Why does Manzano write this diary? In principle, his writing is allied with poetic freedom, but does the fixity of certain morphological, syntactic, phonic and semantic agreements not end up stumbling on the unfinished nature of the diary? There are many questions, but at least they suggest a truism that deserves to be remembered: like any other, diaristic writing depends on the will of the writer and, more than on this, we better recognize that the first obeys a trade that reveals and hides a time tricks, skills and even a style. Not to mention more? Well, you have to keep saying.
According to Philippe Lejeune, the “series of dated prints” comes to be defined by that desire for simultaneous writing that is equivalent to the religiosity of autobiographical notes, to revealed secrets. Intentionally promiscuous between genders, it involves both the registration of a fragile figure and fragmentary spontaneity with desires and achievements to become familiar with different identities, although related: “So I am, and I go, giving of my own lack / a loose abundance that brings everything together ”(“ That everything that I keep foreign to me becomes… ”). No matter how particular the writings are, the interest will continue to fall on what they reveal about the human being. Not for nothing does Manzano justify the genesis of these “arbitrary links”, also children of situations and allegations, by recognizing in his preface the following: “A human being is not only his or her miserly or constricting circumstance. The potentialities of his inner world speak more about him than his absolutely recordable acts. And a lyrical annotation is always a projection of our endearing person ”.
Manzano’s office does not sacrifice scriptural freedom. He is heading for the poem of reflective beauty and, for the moment, he settles on it. Breathe, watch and apprehend to continue. Note the above throughout the notebook, but listen to yourself reading with special attention “Towards the hunt bigger than it lasts …”, “On polished surfaces I copy the wind …”, of course “Here I go, walking between narrow elbows …” and even “When the night falls, without knowing how soft …”, “The duration of the verse knows the lungs …”, “I would like, at each dawn, when leaving for the dust …”, “Barely a wing passes, almost a smoke that flows … ”, but the self-referential, programmatic and imaginative force of these Alexandrians is sometimes represented by a single poem without any prior notice or permission being glimpsed. It is the case of
I already saw where the remaining singers advance:
I beheld their workings and their hidden gods.
And I mapped the course that leads to the port.
But what am I going to do? I have my ships.
There are many trails, the ways to hurt
the waters with the oars: I look at my hands,
I go around mute, I draw my joint
and I throw forward –only– my deep canopies!
José Luis Piquero, who in turn evokes previous references that I do not need to mention, writes: “A poem does not have to be. The poem is us or it is not. ”2 Mound favored with the risk of more than one relapse, Manzano’s set of notes from August 2004 is summation, script and, if you like, memory that does not want to be pigeonholed in the hubbub of a habitual, rigorously identifiable self, because if we consider it with the most daring and impartial academy, then we agree with Hans Rudolf Picard when, on such an imprecise genre, he states:
“As a linguistic product of self-awareness, the diary is not at all a document about the way in which an individual limits himself to verifying in a neutral way how he finds himself in the world; quite the opposite: in its quality of self-centered confession, the diary is the image filtered through a particular temperament, the project of an idea, more unconscious than conscious, that the ego has of itself ”.3
As a lyrical newspaper, it is not convenient and cannot be an ordinary autobiography. Poetic expression broadens the specific fact, emotion, and thought. It is not surprising that more than one of these poems is offered which confidence, such as: “If you saw my heroism –because it is heroism! – / in front of the daily anguish of the daily, / against forgetfulness and misery by lifting the page , / that tiny and slim glory, that battering ram! ”. Then it gets better.
If it is possible to illustrate it, make sure the newspaper dates the shock in the face of the recent event or the remembrance that gains validity due to the aforementioned or mentioned. The present of the diary goes beyond the chronological in favor of the ontological. But in Lyrical Diary, between the entry of the first poem and the return of the last, the successive is in question by the expansions of the gerunds (walking, knowing, growing, accumulating, gilding, writing, escaping, casting, vibrating, singing, covering , pondering, walking, sculpting, tending, overvaluing, looking …). Conjugation of the verb that does not indicate the transpersonal for the lawful to identify with us –as expected–, but rather highlights the self inserted in the world, penetrated by it, in a lasting action.
In the preliminary assessment (“And everything entering together, like a blue storm …”), what arrives and is reached to be assessed, represents an understanding, although not total, of what makes up the body and prompts it to leave, as after it will occur in “This is how I grasp myself when I look at myself, and contemplate myself …”, from which it is worth pointing out a defining fragment in which the lyrical subject (se) states:
With what little affection, what a deep pity
I see myself: tell me, how did you live?
in that sad way, my double, my brother?
How did life twist you that way
when you came out to the sun with that beautiful verve
of the blunt, in the initial of your blood?
It is a cautious exit, in effect, since it is convenient to take distance from the world to try to appreciate and appreciate it better, which is like returning to the loneliness of the background –not definitive– but influential for the poet. Consequently, Manzano practices a kind of self-examination in “And everything entering together, …”, even if it includes a beginner before life or one with an advanced path. It is an examination, without a doubt, initiation or balance, respectively. Whereas in “I’m going back, going back, because I’m going forward …” a cycle seems to be closing, because in honor of the manifestation of the images, we attend the reunion day, the one that contravenes the end of the volume.
Upon reaching this point in Diario Lírico, where there are testimonies of bewilderment, utopia of personal hopes that are also collective, an exciting journey and a cathartic exercise, it remains for the reader to let himself be carried away, for Roberto Manzano himself to convince him: “I am very clear about the place where I left one day: / But the future calls with the voices of Today. / Oh new spaces, times that gather their shadows. / I fulfill my duty: I walk towards the Entraña itself! ”. Ω
1 There are those who prefer the term dietarista, which refers to books in which the chroniclers of Aragon selected records for history, based on those events that were most notorious to them. Recently, Santos Sanz Villanueva, in his recommended essay “Ricardo Piglia, historian of himself”, calls the Argentine a dietarian following Emilio Renzi’s diaries. See Hispanic American Notebooks, No. 834, December 2019, pp. 126-133.
2 José Luis Piquero: “Quinta del deado”, in José Luis García Martín: The Generation of 99. Critical anthology of young Spanish poetry, Ediciones Nobel, S. A., Spain, 1999, p. 267.
3 Hans Rudolf Picard: “The newspaper as a genre between the intimate and the public”, in 1616: Yearbook of the Spanish Society of General and Comparative Literature, No. 4, 1981, p. 116.