Fernando Rendón, Columbia
Fernando Rendón was born in Medellín (Colombia), in 1951. He gained his first experiences writing poetry and having it published in journals as a teenager. His debut work Contrahistoria (Editorial Coopiss, Colombia, 1986), a visionary idea of the future in complete opposition to the realities of apocalyptic excess in his country, was published in the 1980s. He has published another poetry books: Bajo otros soles(Colombia, 1989), Canción en los Campos de Marte (Colombia, 1992), Los motivos del salmón (Colombia, 1998), The Way of Salmon (United States (2010); La cuestión radiante (Venezuela, 2006; Egipto, translated by Saafa Ragab, 2007; Costa Rica, 2007; China, 2014; La question radiante (translated by Stéphane Chaumet, Le Temps de Cerises Editorial, Francia, 2008), La Rama Roja (Sur Editorial, Cuba, 2010), Canti del ramo rosso(translated by Gaetano Longo, FrancoRosso Editorial, Trieste, 2011); En flotación (Colombia, 2010, Venezuela, 2012; translated by Zhao Zhengyan, Qinghai, China, 2014); Piedra de la Memoria (El Quirófano Editorial, Guayaquil, Ecuador, 2015).Carte de Navigare (Editorial Grinta, Rumania, 2015); El imposible realizado (Hipnos Editorial, Colombia, 2015); Qual era la domanda (translated by Antonino Capponetto, Italia, 2016).
He is cofounder and the General Coordinator of World Poetry Movement (WPM) and member of Circle Poets (Greece).
His poems have been translated into English, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Swedish, Catalan, Romanian, Croatian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Hindi, Arabic and Uzbek.
He has founded the poetry magazine Prometeo (1982). The Latin American poetry journal has issued 110 numbers to date. The creative journal sparked off the establishment of many poetry initiatives in the cultural metropolis of northwest Colombia and in the country as a whole. This helped provide an ethical and aesthetic counterweight to the terror of the civil war, which has now been raging for 40 years.
In 1991 he and a team founded The International Poetry Festival of Medellin, which takes place every June. It regularly attracts crowds of over 160,000 and has become the biggest event of its kind in the world. So far around 1600 poets from 167 countries all five continents have participated. The large number of visitors is, however, not the main reason why the festival in Medellin is such a remarkable event. It has become such an extraordinary phenomenon due to the frankness, intensity, enthusiasm and directness of the mainly young audience from all sectors of society, who come together in a true celebration of poetry at the free event.
Fernando Rendón believes that the persistent and overwhelming fascination for poetry can be explained by the perilous times the people are enduring, as well as their hopes that they will see the end of them. Pain sensitizes us. Poetry enables us to cope with the crisis and to identify with our city despite the hostilities and the war.
The Foundation Right Livelihood Award with its headquarters in Stockholm has officially announced at September 28, 2006, that a jury formed by ten international personalities has decided to grant the 2006 Alternative Nobel Prize to the International Poetry Festival of Medellín, “in recognition of its courage and hope in times of despair”, among 73 candidates of 40 nations, activists for truth, peace and social justice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjPgth1yAPU
Fernando Rendón was received the international poetry prize Poets Against War (Casa de Poesía Morada al Sur, (2010, Los Angeles, USA), the Arabian Bahrahill Foundation Prize (2010) “by a high cultural achievement”, Rafael Alberti Poetry Prize in Havanna, Cuba (2010) and 2013 Mkiva Humanitarian Award asThe Foremost Cultural Icon, South Africa (2013).
People welcome poetry because it is a way of living life again. It also reminds us of the past, when poets spoke directly to a community rather than through the print media. Poetry is a real test: the search for the unknown and the resurrection of humankind. It also provides certainty that life has not been completely lost or destroyed. That is why the people who live in and around Medellin heed the call of poetry. In 1993 the first of the international poetry series Colección Prometeo appeared, now numbering 16 volumes. During the poetry festival of 1996 the Poetry School of Medellin was founded by Fernando Rendón and Jairo Guzmán at the Universidad de Antioquia. The first Latin American school cooperated in this with the Schule für Dichtung of Vienna.
His poetry has been translated into several different languages, including English, French, Italian, German, Arabian, Portuguese, Catalan, Croatian, Hungarian, Ukrainian and Uzbek. It sometimes alludes to myths, sometimes to centers of art. He questions the fate of humankind in times of sudden, earth-shattering catastrophes; he restlessly and rebelliously seeks the original sources of lost dignity, intellectual diversion and creative freedom. His poetic language is sonorous, quasi Dionysian, vivid and dynamic. The poem “The Storm” considers the natural cathartic power of poetry in itself. “The rain/washes the blood away, /washes the memory clean of cruelty”.
Consider the song of a wounded bird.
Its fair plumage –sky-blue, gold and blood– level with the grass.
Consider the flight of the falcon, coming down in circles after sighting its victim.
As the life-oozing wound comes nearer to the claws, beauty seeks death, hope seeks the ordeal decreed by chance, and they remain in suspense.
However, even at the risk of the chain of cause and effect’s breaking, consider also that the hand of poetry will touch the bird of prey in its fall, bringing death down, for love too has arrived at the rendezvous heralded by fate.
If Odysseus had turned a deaf ear on the sailors
he would have rejected wax and mast
would have plunged in after the songs of madness
of those women ended like a fish
thus crossed the threshold of this world’s kingdom
there would burst the song of new love in all cardinal points
we mortals would conceive children with Dream
a school of invisible warriors would arise
the most heartless tyrant would lose his mind
listening to the thunder of reinvented drums
the sun and the wind would give back their senses
to the self-willed blind and deaf
someone would cure at the root the forest’s old plague
in all latitudes the paths of instinct would be found
Ah Troy, exiled from yourself,
your sages publicly shamed
and ferocious cutlass fishes prowling your iron beaches!
The unwary Margarita gave a terrified scream when her delicate foot sank into a gelatinous swamp that called her by name.
For nearly eight endless hours she howled, holding an invisible child in her arms.
It rained, and only the word hell could be made out.
The wind and the spring, peer juries, silently condemned her executioners.
Trees leaped, cursing, and then went back to their roots.
Pain meandered, eroding the water’s shores.
In the distance: the age of the earth.
Nerves were stung by the poppies’ stalks. And we waited between patience and impatience.
Maddened plants, we could not run – as in nightmares.
After the supreme effort, we barely held on to life, in the lowest rung of human ridiculousness: a clockwork drunkard.
On the next day, the battered body, the wings more vigorous than ever.
Lying like logs, our red bark wrinkled, we are as buffaloes who rotting melt on the green meadow.
But due to an inexplicable random act, lying like mushrooms on the grass, we explore all the millennia, flee from prehistoric beasts, fight all the wars, are millions of beings stretching under the arc of eternity, while dragon and yearning fight in the clouds.
The sun calls us and to hesitate is to die. Fly, fly, beauteous swan of desire, everything can be achieved.
Walking on the white dew, remove your shoes: the age of man is that of his gaze upon the legendary forest.
War Is Peace
To the grave we go not, we go not to fear or to pain.
This bluest of regions will not be forgotten, let us not return now.
Red times passed by, green times flew by, hope belongs to the past.
Millions of us form the body of light.
At the doors of another civilization that sings among us, the species will die, the species will be born, suffer no more.
This bomb is dismantled, the huge highway is enlarged, we pick each other up, complete each other.
Each century is a moon once the eagle of time is vanquished.