Tag Archives: ensayo

El grafógrafo

Escribo. Escribo que escribo. Mentalmente me veo escribir que escribo y también puedo verme ver que escribo. Me recuerdo escribiendo ya y también viéndome que escribía. Y me veo recordando que me veo escribir y me recuerdo viéndome recordar que escribía y escribo viéndome escribir que recuerdo haberme visto escribir que me veía escribir que recordaba haberme visto escribir que escribía y que escribía que escribo que escribía. También puedo imaginarme escribiendo que ya había escrito que me imaginaría escribiendo que había escrito que me imaginaba escribiendo que me veo escribir que escribo.

Salvador Elizondo 

(México 1932-2006)

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Penelope, Robert, books and bookshelves.



One of the many things Robert and I had in common was a sense of domesticity. It is interesting to me now to think I was up a ladder hanging a picture, when the call came that changed my life. Robert and I hung pictures together in many, many places, as we moved and moved, made home where we found ourselves. Hanging pictures was one way we did it. Another, equally or more important way was making bookshelves. Robert, it turned out somewhat to my surprise, was a master bookshelf-builder. It came from years of practice, long before I ever showed up, that was driven by a need for order, and a need to keep his beloved books safe, sorted, out of harm’s way.


I have some recollection too of Robert’s telling me the first book he ever published was a small volume about poultry, perhaps more specifically about pigeons, which had been his childhood love. (When Robert went to boarding school at 14, he took his pigeons with him)


Sometimes Robert wished he didn’t have to ever open a book at all, even take off its shrink-wrap. He would say so with a laugh and a shrug, but there was truth to it too. He loved the perfect pristine fact of a book, its elegant containedness, its sense of pure potential.


For him the books had become a beloved record of his life. They contained the ideas, the thoughts, the speaking breath of his friends. He did not write in books, but he kept things in them. Letters, announcements, tickets, brochures, mementos of contact in the world with increasingly scattered, always dear friends. These were his book marks. These were the books wherein he had found his life. One of them was a copy of Pound’s Cantos. He had taken it with him to the Second World War. To Burma. Another was a book handmade by Robert Duncan and Jess Collins. The tape of the box cover they had made for it was fragile, yellowing, but the handwritten poem inside was unfaded. I understand now why we sometimes had to rush home from the beach if a sudden thunderstorm was threatening and we weren’t sure we had closed the windows before we left. A whole bookcase full of books was ruined one winter when the door adjacent blew open while we were away. They were soaked, warped. Robert was hurt, hurt.



Fragmentos del ensayo que escribió Penelope Creeley para el Symposium: Robert Creeley’s Library de la Univesirty of Notre Dame, el 7 de febrero (que será transmitido en vivo aquí).

Texto completo aquí.

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When I come to be old

Not to marry a young woman.

Not to keep young company unless they really desire it.

Not to be peevish, or morose, or suspicious.

Not to scorn present ways, or wits, or fashions, or men, or war, &c.

Not to be fond of children, or let them come near me hardly.

Not to tell the same story over and and over to the same people.

Not to be covetous.

Not to neglect decency, or cleanliness, for fear of falling into nastiness.

Not to be over severe with young people, but give allowances for their youthful follies and weaknesses.

No to be influenced by, or give ear to knavish tattling servants, or others.

Not to be too free of advice, nor trouble any but those that desire it. To conjure some good friends to inform me which of these resolutions I break, or neglect, and wherein; and reform accordingly.

Not to talk much, nor of myself.

Not to boast of my former beauty, or strength, or favour with ladies; &c.

Not to hearken to flatteries, nor conceive I can be beloved by a young woman. Et eos hereditatem captant, odisse ac vitare.*

Not to be positive or opiniatre.

Not to set up for observing all these rules, for fear I should observe none.

Jonathan Swift


*To hate and avoid those who angle for an inheritance

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“La caña de azúcar y el tabaco son todo contraste. Diríase que una rivalidad los anima y separa desde sus cunas. Una es planta gramínea y el otro es plata solanácea. La una brota de un retoño, el otro de simiente; aquélla, de grandes trozos de tallo con nudos que se enraizan y éste, de minúsculas semillas que germinan. La una tiene su riqueza en el tallo y no en sus hojas, las cuales se arrojan; el otro vale por su follaje, no por su tallo, que se desprecia. La caña de azúcar vive en el campo largos años, la mata de tabaco solo breves meses. Aquélla busca la luz, éste la sombra; día y noche, sol y luna. Aquélla busca la lluvia caída del cielo; éste el ardor nacido de la tierra. A los canutos de la caña se les saca el zumo para el provecho; a las hojas del tabaco se les seca el jugo porque estorba. El azúcar llega a su destino humano por el agua que la derrite, hecha un jarabe; el tabaco llega a él por el fuego que lo volatiliza, convertido en humo. Blanca es la una, moreno el otro. Dulce y sin olor es el azúcar; amargo y con aroma es el tabaco. ¡Contraste siempre! Alimento y veneno, despertar y adormecer, energía y ensueño, placer de la carne y deleite del espíritu, sensualidad e ideación, apetito que satisface e ilusión que se esfuma, calorías de vida y humaredas de fantasía, indistinción vulgarota y anónima desde la cuna e individualidad aristocrática y de marca en todo el mundo, medicina y magia, realidad y engaño, virtud y vicio. El azúcar es ella; el tabaco es él… La caña fue obra de los dioses, el tabaco de los demonios; ella es hija de Apolo, él es engendro de Proserpina…”

Fernando Ortiz

Contrapunteo cubano del tabaco y el azúcar


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