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News & Features » December 2015 » Carlos Pintado: On Writing Nine Coins/Nueve monedas

Carlos Pintado: On Writing Nine Coins/Nueve monedas

To celebrate the release of Nine Coins/Nueve monedas —winner of the Paz Prize for Poetry, presented by the National Poetry Series; published in both English and Spanish — we’re pleased to feature a statement from author Carlos Pintado in both English and Spanish.

NineCoinsThe inspiration for Nine Coins/Nueve monedas comes from deep periods of personal interpretations of loneliness, from the desire to find meanings that have somehow accompanied me like ghosts throughout an entire year, and also from a personal quest for beauty. With this book I am trying to revisit old myths with a contemporary approach, a kind of fresh look at ancient temples through both sonnets, rhymed and unrhymed, and free-verse poems (some short, some long). It is also a book of questions and self-questioning with a philosophical backdrop: what would happen if we discover that the Minotaur still lives in us but there’s no Ariadne and no thread to guide us out of the labyrinth? It is the poet facing his inner monsters that made me want to write this book.

In the fashion of actors who go from one character to another, I try to give each poem a psychology on its own, an intrinsic music and a narration and a story. I wanted each poem to be able to stand and tell something that could not be told in any other way—while always maintaining a unity among them. It’s also an impossible celebration with some of my favorite artists: painters, poets, novelists, musicians, philosophers, who are kindly summoned to attend a feast with me. Just like every coin in our hand brings a past, promises a present, and then leaves us for an uncertain future, these poems came to me in the same way.

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La inspiración de Nine Coins/Nueve monedas proviene de profundos periodos de interpretaciones personales sobre la soledad y el deseo de encontrar significados que de alguna manera me han acompañado por todo un año, y es también una búsqueda innegable de la belleza. Con este libro he tratado de reencontrar antiguos mitos, que cada poema, ya sea uno soneto o un poema en verso libre, sea una mirada contemporánea hacia templos antiguos. Es un libro de preguntas e introspecciones con un leve trasfondo filosófico: ¿qué pasaría si uno descubre que el minotauro aun vive en nosotros, pero que ya no tenemos ni hilos ni Ariadnas que nos saquen del laberinto? Este libro no es más que el enfrentamiento del poeta con sus monstruos.

Un poco a la manera de los actores que van de un personaje a otro, he tratado de que cada texto posea su propia psicología, una música intrínseca y una narración y una historia. Quise que cada poema tuviese su propio significado y que, al mismo tiempo, contase algo que no pudiera ser contado de otra manera, manteniendo a la vez una unidad con el resto de los poemas. Nine coins/Nueve monedas es, sin dudas, un canto a otros artistas: pintores, poetas, novelistas, músicos, y filósofos que han sido invocados a un festín. De la misma manera que una moneda en nuestras manos ofrece un pasado, promete un presente para después abandonarnos por un futuro incierto, así llegan estos poemas a mí.

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Carlos Pintado_closeupCARLOS PINTADO is a Cuban American writer, playwright, and award-winning poet who immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s. His book Autorretrato en azul received the prestigious Sant Jordi International Prize for Poetry, and his book El azar y los tesoros was a finalist for Spain’s Adonais Prize in 2008. His work has been translated into English, Italian, German, French, Turkish, Portuguese, and Italian.

Posted: Dec 1, 2015

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