My interview with the Argentine poet Gladys Cepeda:
Last Part :
We are privileged to have an extensive interview of the contemporary Argentine poet Gladys Cepeda, editor of numerous literary magazines like 'LAK-BERNA', 'El Septyimo Cielo En Los Ojos' and poet in numerous anthologies of poems like 'Poetas de Avellaneda', 'La vuelta al mundo en un poema' etc.
Mainak: In India except the poems of Borges and other Argentine writers like Julio Cortázar, Mario Benedetti very small part of Argentine literature has been translated till today. Tell us how and from where we can re study and translate the literature of Argentina? Who are the most important writers (except Borges, Cortázar and Benedetti) we must study and translate?
Gladys: Regarding Argentine writers, I want to say that Mario Benedetti is the Uruguayan Argentine writer. Here we are called River Plates since we have many things in common and many artists from Uruguay have lived in Argentina and the Argentines also have a healthy relationship with Uruguay.
See, the list of our writers is huge because as I told you, Argentina generates many artists besides literature, painting, music, cinema etc., but we will only talk about literature.
I think, there are possibly some translated books in libraries or bookstores, because the key is there sometimes to reach the authors. You can also find literary journals or magazines which often manage to disseminate and make all of us ( whether the published or unpublished authors) well known and thanks to it, there are so many independent publishers or writers making literary or cultural magazines or blogs, for example, El séptimo cielo en los ojos (my blog) and La mansión del Doctor CLOCK ( blog of the artist and writer Diego Ollero) we do these two blogs together, but there are many more examples too where currently they try to make the platform where information can be exchanged on literature and the authors of each corner of the world and also many writers in their own towns organize literary cafes or literature meetings where many authors are disseminated and sometimes edited or published through the Internet, so that we have a record, some institutions are also created and publicized in various editions which achieved through subsidies edit but generally they contribute money from their own pocket, and as always the important thing is to be able to translate them to achieve the cultural exchange and also what happens here-- we fail to meet authors from other continents as we would like not to have translations in Spanish and would love to read the original text.
Regarding the list of authors, I think, all of them have something to give us.
It is extensive but I'll give you some names: Alejandra Pizarnik ,Olga Orozco, Griselda Gambaro ,Nora Langhe, Silvina Ocampo, Estela Dos Santos, Alfonsina Storni ,Oliverio Girondo ,Néstor Perlongher, Abelardo Castillo ,Bernardo Kordon ,Leopoldo Marechal , Aldo Pellegrini ,Manuel Mugica Lainez, Juan Jacobo Bajarlia ,Juan L.Ortiz ,Luis Alberto Spinetta, Roberto Arlt, Luis Franco, Joaquín Giannuzzi, Alfredo Veirave, Alberto Gerchunoff, Jacobo Fijman, Emeterio Cerro ,Aida Bortnik,Maria Elena Walsh , Susana Thénon, Antonio Porchia. Copi,Osterheld,Horacio Quiroga are at the end of the list unfortunately but I have not even enough space to spread all the names, what you can do is look inside these authors--- their stories, readings influences, etc. because through it you can find more information on many more authors (sometimes in Google there is a lot dissemination of authors but not sufficient) also ask people in Argentina who can lend a hand and see how contact with writers and also read new authors who tend to spread their work much through Internet, it would be very nice to be able to reach many readers in the world or to exchange with other writers.
Mainak: What are the unique features or elements showing the uniqueness of Argentina literature in the history of Latin American literature? The difference between Argentina and its neighboring countries such as Brazil, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay in terms of literature and art.
Gladys: I think there is no such uniqueness as the Argentine style as I mentioned before about the occurrence of several phenomena---- topic that we discussed earlier----- but if I have to first set in contrast to other countries of Latin America and even Spain the language, we have different dialects which make a very strong difference in expression, then cosmopolitan Buenos Aires with much influence from Europe, US, since we have a large community of European whites immigrants who gave us a very special form of customs and it shows in the expression of art, urban issues, with original words And many themes related to avant-garde movements of the world from the social ,romance , political ,philosophical ,police and policing the psychological humor ,the fantastic ,science fiction etc. and many more issues then we create some movements such as the art of Madi and particular invention that have autonomy with respect to other avant-garde in the world, also in the suburbs people development local issues, then we have the rest of the provinces where they manifest in different regions where rural develops with its languages and languages such as Quechua and Guarani and the rest from other provinces, which have their words, their stories and they are more closely linked to neighboring countries such as Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru even with Brazil despite speaking different languages (Many Argentines is fascinated by Brazil and others not so much) because many stocks are dark skinned and are descendants of numerous crossbreeding of indigenous, black and white races then a lot of these people migrate for social problems to Buenos Aires and brought their customs and culture others migrated to the capital carrying their utopias to Patagonia. They created HIPPIES congregations and developed a rather important Bohemian art, With Uruguay we have many things in common except in some things, but we're pretty twinned beyond some issues we feel very close in culture.
Mainak: How do you see there the importance of literary translation? It is a transcreation or the original should be translated such as environmental sense and linguistic style of the original?
Gladys: The importance of translation is crucial as it achieves as I said before to know people totally from its art, culture, since art unites the people more than other things and sometimes do not know the language limits-- the example is the beautiful relationship established through you Mainak thanks to your work of dissemination and translation we can set a beautiful contact and friendship with many readers of your beautiful country and also to spread here very good artists of your country, I think, in the translation we must respect as much as possible, the idea, language, concept and know times and idioms, since many authors speak of issues which are changed in different times or out of time or context, then we can't get the idea, and it is also necessary that the translator should relate the topic if he's an artist, poet or writer, he will surely take into account many details that much more unfamiliar technical parts for translation although he has to perfectly handle the language, since it is not the same like translating treaty of law or medicine than a story, poem or song lyrics.
Mainak: What kind of promotion and dissemination does the art get in your country (the commercial circuit)?
Gladys: Regarding the commercial circuit I will say that there are many spaces as government agencies, publishers, foundations, associations etc. but not always for everyone, with respect to this many artists complain, that's why they try and make their issues or distributing literature or other arts in their works independently sometimes managing to make pressure to achieve many objectives, artists' cooperatives or independent book fairs, now they're struggling to achieve the retirement of artists and writers, for now only they managed a grant for life, also there were municipal awards which were rather important in life even for the family members but now this with some problems, it was also complicated, then there was the issue of how to edit, the publishing houses had a great deal of importance in the decade of the 60s and early 70s, but due to the military dictatorship the independent publishers were destroyed, and then the writers began to make independent publishing houses which can sometimes gain support or subsidy to finance books and distribution, but it is quite complicated.
Another issue is the libraries used to have a criterion of excellence in the pursuit of authors and dissemination and they knew a lot about it, and they managed to make really major publishers who publish still unknown authors and managed to spread the material outside of the country, now it has been changed with much complication and the publishers have publishing chains and the foreign press to set aside the independent publishers and often they do not give much room in the windows of their business, for this reason the authors end up selling their books or perhaps from the meetings of art where they often sell their texts at the presentations of books, a modality that helps to publish on the Internet which makes it easier to disseminate the authors and artists, and often it achieves great satisfaction through direct and easiest way, I know some cases where they have managed to sell their paintings or books abroad only through Internet or they proposed them interesting projects from the Internet. A space that should contribute to spread the authors would be the school or university, but sometimes they tend to have limitations with authors and times, but there are teachers who dare to show other authors fortunately and they organize activities or include them in the readings of the literature class, the newspapers here also have conflict with education and the government at this time and they often disseminate their topics and authors they are interested in, but sometimes for various reasons they change their idea and often broadcast the authors who are not the prevailing system of elites that they govern the literary circuit but it is not easy. Also the literary magazines usually publish papers of many unknown authors and they can do so because they win competitions of literature or by receiving a subsidy from the university or many times they have led to confrontations and they have taken sites of culture of the government to defend the popular culture, both the actors and the other arts, in the case of government's institutions they tend to give space to their people by policy or cronyism or contacts, and sometimes the newspapers or radio channels give space for ideas, cronyism or because it arouses curiosity or because of pressure from the artists themselves. It happened to me even, they have made very important notes on my work in newspapers or tv here because these proposals are very interesting for them because the texts are rare or original and also because they were for reasons such as education or social issues and also I could disseminate my word for winning prizes for literature or contact, but also I had to spread many things endlessly, banging doors and generating all the time projects to move forward although sometimes it seems that it doesn't work.
Mainak: How the radio and television channels play their role in Argentina to meet new writers and artists and their works?
Gladys: There are cultural channels and magazines on art and culture but they do not always accommodate all artists and writers, they are usually more related to personal matters such as political interests or issues of friendship where these issues weigh more than the literary value, sometimes (but few) by coincidences or pressures of the public or the artists themselves generate movements or phenomena managing to make much noise, this in the good sense and they ensure that the media are also interested in the originality or the striking of the proposal, often the blogs published by big publishing houses have achieved reader's attention but that is quite atypical, It also happens that many authors are disseminated outside the country more than here and perhaps after death they get recognition here. But usually they are artists or writers who manage to have their media blanks for disseminating independent literature, and neither art nor the common people know new authors, but the same authors are known through also the orally or to make pressure to reach at times to the public, other medium is music. As I told you before, it is possible to know them clearly through Internet. Sometimes proposals also come from official bodies such as cultural industries but it's not easy to get them to achieve subsidies. Another major topic since subsidies are granted by some institutions with weight but now they are doing the process complicated.
Mainak: What kind of readers is seen there now for genres of literature?
Gladys: Readers are varied but unfortunately it seems that people do not read as before, they prefer visual topics which are gaining much ground, also it is given a type of reader who follows cultural trends, buying books by authors imposed by the media or school who does not always use the best criteria to disseminate authors, although for some time they are opening to take some new authors and are changing the concept to expand the list of authors, but well there would be a good space to disseminate certainly after authors themselves, and the cultured people tend to be the more reading of all or at least the most interested in the authors. Although the book fair concur millions of people but they do not come always to search for literature, but largely sometimes they get interest, also the meetings of literature as a literary coffees achieve that authors can sell their books and recover the cost of own edition. Also the videos or movies (if readers are interested in any author) can give an important impulse to generate interest but sometimes many film distort complexity of the authors but also the films help a little in the dissemination. And as I told you, the topic of musicians is a good possibility to have public concerned by the literature since many lyricist of bands are quite a few readers, and sometimes children are those who love reading the most and they can be good readers if they have an adult accompanying them, but could not speak of a set age.
Mainak: What are the current problems of literature there?
Gladys: There are still people who continues to publish on paper by force of much sacrifice, or paying as it is and if he's a good publisher, getting them to distribute it is rather difficult because, as I told you, publishers are increasingly in crisis. Others resorting to imprenteros crooks who are called jaja publishers they take money from the writers but they not to disseminate them, they do nothing even on newspaper but they keep on lying. Other writers themselves prepare their with more crafts and with a computer and a printer make their own book. Others try to get an institution to support them as some universities do but it also occurs very rarely, it is generally for own university. Others try to get by literary contests or subsidies but the topic is always the distribution and the criteria to get into all that here we have a problem. And many writers are using Facebook and blogs as a means of dissemination and some are already using E-Book but we don't accept this medium yet.
Mainak: How do you see the future of art and written language?
Gladys: It is a complicated issue but the features are developed in recent times, everything leads to a path without return toward a literature that is increasingly linked with technology, more than ideas, although many authors are taking the stance of a return to the feelings and rescuing an idea of more emotional literature, and others to a darker literature. The big question is whether to continue creating the same elements of writing and thinking that many times we're using symbols to sum up words (seen on Facebook by axis.) As in ancient times they were used to determine ideas when written language was not known, perhaps to reach a language it is only a thought think and it is not necessary to write or draw in any way, it is a subject to discuss new languages new media or perhaps advancing slower than one might think and we know the changes aren't coming so quickly.
Anyway it is a topic that we'll learn over time, one thinks some predictions of science fiction, for example, Fahrenheit where and books were eliminated and at times and unfortunately it happened and it can happen again which would be terrible, but it's a possibility, we will finally see how things happening in the future.
Mainak: What is your view on Indian literature ( what you have read through some translated works) ? And are there some elements of India or writers of India who inspired you or even inspired in your writing?
Gladys: I do not know widely the literature of India, things I regret because I love literature and I love to find new authors, but what I was reading is very satisfying, I liked, I liked flying, images, deep texts, personal form of expression which denotes an imaginative and high quality in their verses and feelings, very lyrical in poetic forms and stories. I also like to know if there are other genres of literature such as science fiction, horror or comedy, but it is not easy to find them out as the imported books are quite expensive, and we are reading what you find on the Internet, but well, these texts are also very good.