(SOS) is a poem by Spanish poet José Ángel Valente (born 1929, died 2000). Valente was a member of what is called Generación del 50 (50’s Generation includes several very important Spanish poets such as Ángel González, José Agustín Goytisolo, Jaime Gil de Biedma…).
Valente’s writing is transformed to a language influenced by Christian and Judaic Mysticism (especially San Juan de la Cruz), Cabala, Sufism and Zen Budism.
The words used by the mystics are ambiguous. Though Valente is not a mystic (he is only influenced by them) I found in this poem a place where I was able to experiment with the ambiguity of this language, telling in three minutes the story of a relationship which is sinking like a ship in the ocean. I wanted to use these symbols, water, ocean, ship… for exploring the meaning (or at least one of the meanings) of the poem, the powerful expression of the bodies fighting to show their feelings, also the fight for the power in the relationship of these two women. Of course, I made my own personal interpretation of the poem, using it almost as an excuse for developing the story of the couple. But this is one of the ways, I think, videopoetry works. Even as readers we are always making thousands (as many as there are readers) of interpretations and potential interpretations of the poems, novels, theatre plays etc.
For me it was a privilege to work with the actors Maria Huhtinen and Gabriella Roy. We talked a lot and worked on improvisations in which the roles were adopted. When I first chose this poem four years ago for developing a videopoem, I thought of a man and a woman. But when finally I was thinking of actors for recording, I paired these two talented actors and I thought that the story would turn even more powerful, more symbolic, purer, without the influence of gender in a male and female couple.
Music by Four Hands Project is also very powerful and symbolic, evoking the sound of a ship motor. And once again Jean Morris produced a beautiful English translation of the poem which makes it possible to reach to non Spanish speaking viewers.
of the line of shadows
where everything turns to water,
where the ocean arises or dissolves,
and the imminent shipwreck
has not yet happened, blindly
I love you.
translated by Jean Morris
de la línea de sombras
donde todo hace agua,
en que el mar océano
se engendra o se deshace,
y el naufragio inminente todavía
no se ha consumado, ciegamente
Eduardo Yagüe: was born in 1970 in Gijón (Spain), where he studied at the Drama Art. He then moved to Madrid, where he lived for twenty years. There Eduardo studied in the Corazza Studio for Actors and Hispanic Philology at UNED. He worked as an actor, theater teacher and many other jobs. He also wrote poetry and stories. In 2012 Eduardo started to make videopoetry, where he found a great creative freedom and where he feels that he can completely become an artist. His works have been screened in videopoetry and videoart shows and festivals in Europe and America. He currently live in Stockholm.
Jean Morris is a British writer, editor and Spanish/French/English translator living in London who came late in life to poetry and poetry film thanks to brilliant friends met online.
One thought on “(SOS)”
Thank you for this great post Lottie.