April 5, 2011

Discovering Poet Punk Roberto Bolaño

Just discovered poet bad guy Roberto Bolaño's quote:
"In one way or another, we're all anchored to the book. A library is a metaphor for human beings or what's best about human beings, the same way a concentration camp can be a metaphor for what is worst about them. A library is total generosity."
This led me to:

I am now fascinated by this literary punk! 

He created the infrarrealismo movement, along with Mario Santiago Papasquiaro, in the 70's. He was posthumously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for his novel 2666.

I decided to order The Savage Detectives (possible senior novel?) and The Romantic Dogs (Soph colonial poetry offering?)...

There's also a new book coming out in May: Between Parentheses of Bolaño's Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003.
Between Parentheses collects most of the newspaper columns and articles Bolaño wrote during the last five years of his life, as well as the texts of some of his speeches and talks and a few scattered prologues. “Taken together,” as the editor Ignacio Echevarría remarks in his introduction, they provide “a personal cartography of the writer: the closest thing, among all his writings, to a kind of fragmented ‘autobiography.’” Bolaño’s career as a nonfiction writer began in 1998, the year he became famous overnight for The Savage Detectives; he was suddenly in demand for articles and speeches, and he took to this new vocation like a duck to water. Cantankerous, irreverent, and insufferably opinionated, Bolaño also could be tender (about his family and favorite places) as well as a fierce advocate for his heroes (Borges, Cortázar, Parra) and his favorite contemporaries, whose books he read assiduously and promoted generously. A demanding critic, he declares that in his “ideal literary kitchen there lives a warrior”: he argues for courage, and especially for bravery in the face of failure. Between Parentheses fully lives up to his own demands: “I ask for creativity from literary criticism, creativity at all levels.” -- amazon.com product description
Ordered it ...

And, yes, I ordered 2666, too.

What an interesting literary journey this turned out to be, and it all started out with that fabulous quote about libraries ...


P. S. Here are more Bolano quotes, from Wikiquote.