<< The winners write History.
That is why I write poetry >>.
I declare war, Salva Soler
How free are the books?
Cage or word yard?
He discovers who opens them.
You can't be everything,
some are to be read,
and others are balloon air.
What is a poem's natural habitat? A blank sheet? The air? That seems to be one of the most recurring doubts about how to present poetry and the answer depends almost everything that is said about it. There are those who say that poetry was born from oral tradition and therefore its "natural" vehicle is the air, others say that the best examples of poetry are found in books and therefore must be written. From that dialectic are born debates and, of course, many variants of poets.
Salva Soler is a Slavic poet. He himself remembers that before knowing the slam he was already writing poetry (point for written poetry), but when he learned the dynamics of poetry slam in 2013 he got involved 100 percent. Even today he is one of the top representatives of this movement / scene / school / game in Barcelona and Spain (point for oral poetry).
It is clear that his poems were born to be heard and seen. This is where the most sweetened comparison in the history of oral poetry vs. written poetry comes in: Balloon air, Salva Soler's first (written) poems, is a score. It reads with pleasure and surprise, however, the written word is missing something: Salva's voice, his gestures, his gaze, his body, the space that spectators and the author should share. It lacks all that cannot be written because they are part of the live moment and even the recording.
It's not Salva's fault, it's the fault of how humans communicate. Psychologists say that the 93% (the number varies depending on who says it, but it is always an overwhelming percentage) of our communication is nonverbal. So, if Soler thought these poems to be presented on stage, it is clear that some of that 93% will not feel on the pages of the book. Because Balloon air Include in each poem your own video using a QR code. The difference between just reading a poem and seeing it / listening to it / reading it at the same time is total. For example, in the poem that gives its name to the book, Salva's arms say it all, they literally involve the taffy center of the poem. It is something that is not enough to appreciate with the mere reading of the text on the sheet.
“I also wanted, already put to love, that this book was an extension of the feeling that the listener may have at the end of one of my recitals. An emotional journey I cannot deny that I am a live poet. ”As in music. There are groups that are phenomenal live and that energy is not captured by the disk. Something very similar happens with Salva Soler and Balloon air. He knows it, his is the live one, the face to face, the living poem, the one that is born wrapped in his voice and the viewer takes home in the mind.
Also in the introduction he dedicates some lines to point out that for him poetry "is an adjective, not a genre" and that he flees from labels. There is another of the values of his work, which is not unique to him but a symptom of the time, let's define it as liquid poetry or liquid art (greetings to Sygmund Bauman). Yes, it is poetry, but it is also narrative, it is performance, even theater, all of it, in one person, at a time of about three minutes.
Balloon air, the written poems, is divided into 5 phases, a parent poem (the one that gives its name to the book) and an epilogue with two more poems. In total, 28 are poems with recurring themes such as the connection with innocence, the disenchantment of "mature" life, political criticism, wasted and used time, our mental borders and our migrant dreams that cross that imaginary line.
The phases in which it is divided into poems do not seem to have a clear theme. The first phase includes poems that address different themes, such as "Feel Word", about writing; "I want", a very cool declaration of love, I perfectly imagine someone dedicating this poem to their league; "Burrow for Alicias" and "Paulito", about the pathetic of modern life with its obligations and contradictions; and “Tortícolis”, about the life that goes away.
It is in the second phase when political issues appear. “They were scared” and “Hamelin” are an example that criticizes the gap between the powerful and the vulnerable and the manipulation of the masses, respectively, but it would be a mistake to describe this phase as the “politics” because it also includes “Horns”, It addresses infidelity.
The next three phases follow more or less the same themes. In them, Salva stands out for its ability to find glimpses in what seems inconsequential. Here it is important to take another part of the introduction: “And I make a parenthesis here to explain that I will refer to <<poems>> without knowing technically if what I do is poetry». If oral poetry vs. written poetry were not enough, with Salva Soler we return to the doubt of the thousand 64, what - hint - is poetry? Some will say that poetry is measured verse, perhaps rhymed, with a clear rhythm. But beyond the style of presenting a poem, I believe that poetry is this:
At the end,
after so much time agreeing to tame us
at an intermediate point,
what ends up destroying us
It won't be the storms,
Of course Salva Soler is a poet. It is clear that he is not a juggler of the middle ages or a poet of the Spanish golden age, he is a Spanish poet of the 21st century who takes advantage of all kinds of tools to present his work to the reader / spectator: his body, for the stage; the blank sheet, for the book; and his image, for the videos.
An interesting feature is that, in addition to the QR code, each poem also has an epigraph, all authored by Salva. They serve more or less as the "bullet" of the journalistic notes, they enclose part of the meaning of the poem although they are not formally part of them. The best of them, I think, is the following formula:
stress = (speed + weight)
Balloon air It was published with the seal of Planetary Mechanics. Draws attention to this editorial stamp, which shares its name with the show / poems by Dani Orviz, who, in addition to being another representative of the Barcelona poetry slam, also participates in Balloon air As editor and layout artist. The team of this self-managed work is completed by Judit Matas in structure, design, illustration and layout, and Belén Hurtado in the correction.
In the end, we will remain unanswered as to whether poetry "must" be written or oral, but in the meantime, we can reach the following conclusion: Just as "Balloon Air" (the poem) defines that each person is air, without need of a balloon to rise, Balloon air (the book) carries in his name his pride. It is air.