On little poets, great poets and mysterious influences: interview with
by Guillermo "Rojo" Córdova// translation by Svetlana G. Pribilowska
Raquel Jodorowsky, who was nationalized Peruvian some years ago, has mainly developed herself as a poet. She has also been a translator (from quechua poems into Spanish), a puppeteer in Los Andes and even a TV model in Peru during the seventies. It is important to say that her lyric task is deeply related to her early practice of piano music and her constant pictoric work, which has already appeared in several art exhibitions.
She has never stopped writing and she often appears in poetry readings through out Latin America. Her work as well as her life is pretty separate from the mainstream. In such a way that her fifteen books (most of them translated into English, French, German and Italian) are impossible to find in Mexico. Up to this point I have only been able to find four of them: The Ajy Tojen (1964) which is the number 12 of the legendary journal El corno emplumado; Custodies for stopped brains (1974), in FES Acatlán from UNAM; Salty candy (1977), which I found with the help of Sergio Mondragón, and Without before or after (1984) in the library of COLMEX. But, Where are the other eleven books? Most of them can be found in American Universities, some of them can even be found in the Council Library, others in the National Library of Chile…
Even though it is not very easy to find her books, and their publications didn’t come out one after the other her poetries have a very good projection, they can be found in various specialized magazines (such as Alforja), some anthologies or in the internet. For 2007, Raquel tells me, she is planning to present for new books in Mexico, including a volume of her Complete Works.
Raquel’s poetic voice is fascinating: it’s a feminine voice that screams, that protests, and urges poetry to become a weapon that perturbs and awakes, that dismantles and builds consciousness, a voice that delights itself powerfully in the lyric creation, becoming purely magic.
From October 18th to November 9th I established a series of e-mails with the author from which the following interview was born:
Guillermo Córdova: Because of your “Presentation” I know that you are a Gemini but What is your birth date?
Raquel Jodorowsky: I was born in June the ninth of the year 5767, of the Hebrew calendar. , in the city of Iquique, Chile...
GC:¿What influence does nadaism had in your work?
RJ: I don’t believe that nadaism had any influence in my poetic work at all…I lived in Mexico City when Gonzalo Arango invited me to travel to Colombia for the Cali Festival. I arrived with a book under my arm, The Ajy Tojen, published two years before that. The great Gonzalo Arango attracted every young poet from other cities where they returned to continued this adoration. The great Gonzalo struggled to erase from the map the old fashioned Colombian Catholicism, specially with its influence in the education sector. He made it, there was a change. That day people received my poems lovingly. Many years later I was invited back to Colombia and those very young poets had become into very important intellectuals. There where some who envy Gonzalo. Lately, one of them (less of a poet than Gonzalo) published a book against him...a very bad book.....I wasn’t really familiar to nadaism. When I arrived to the airport the press asks me. “What do you think about nadaism?” and I answer “NOTHING”… they took this for a witty question but it was the truth…………..
GC: Recently I read an interview on the Internet by Jota Mario Arbeláez, where he claims having shown you the a passage from his autobiographical book, The House of Memory, where you appear, but I haven’t been able to find your name on it, ¿Where and how does he mention you?
R.J.: I have read some pages of his book The house of memory...I didn’t make it to the end, wasn’t that interesting, but there’s no allusion to me on it. Jota Mario, in his work Nothing is forever. The Antimemories of a nadaist, published a photograph of myself next to Gonzalo in a poetry reading. It was marvelous- There were people sitting on the floor. That day, I did a nadaist act. I showed up to the room sitting on a donkey, believing this is a kind of vehicle that will never be out of fashion. The donkey sat in the back of the room, quiet, listening… But when he heard the racket of the applause he ran away and the owner lost it. He never asked us to pay for it.
GC:¿What influence does the Beat Generation has in your work? ¿Can you tell me anything about your relationship with Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs?
RJ: I don’t know why you keep TRYIING TO FIND INFLUENCES IN MY WORK....My work is unique.
I met the beatniks when I had already published twelve books. They turned out to be the most brilliant minds I’ve ever met. I lived in an apartment building in Mexico, and they came to live there too. Every afternoon we gathered to read our poems aloud, Allen Ginsberg, sometimes Burroughs, Philip Lamantia, Gregory Corso and many others... DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY INFLUENCED EACH OTHER?.....Look, Guillermo, each poet is a world of its own…even though he is side by side with an other poet his creations are unique and different. What brings together a generation is their state of mind: open, free, intelligent. Nobody influences nobody, except for minor little poets…
With Allen Ginsberg… We were like brothers. He really liked my poetry, but he was really cruel towards other women poets. He cooked me lunch while he told me his secrets When he came to Lima it was quite a scandal. From all over the world, people from places where he had read his poetry used to send me his books, till he died.
Guillermo, I am going to send you a poem that I wrote to him and that he translated to English (I never know where he published it)
In his book Sandwich of Reality he mentions me...I remember he says: “there, sitting in her necklaces…”
GC: ¿How do you imagine poetry will be in a hundred years? ¿What will be the future vehicles of literature?
RJ: I think that the future vehicles of literature wont be books any more. In the long time interstellar journeys that will be happening soon, books would float without gravity. So they will have to be projected in front of the seats. I wrote a book when I was in Mexico Cantata from the Outer Space... I WENT AHEAD ON TIME WITH THIS ELECTRNONIC POETRY: ALNICO AND KEMITA… POETRY IN A HUNDRED YEARS will only exist in projecting light tubes. It will be a reminder of our human nature when we live in other worlds, designed by men.........
 One of them is volume III: Rebels, by Leticia Luna from the Poetic Trilogy of Hispano-American women: mischievous, mystique and rebels, La Cuadrilla de la Langosta publishing house, México, 2004.
 This year corresponds to 1927 in the Christian calendar
 “Nothing” in Spanish “Nada”. “Nadaísmo” can be understood as an art of “nothingness”
 Alnico y Kemita. Cantata from the outer space was Publisher in 1965.