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Gonzalo Márquez Cristo
(Colombia, 1963)   
 
 
 
Gonzalo Márquez Cristo

A poet, fiction writer, essayist and publisher, Márquez Cristo has published four poetry collections, an anthology of his poetry, a novel and a book of short stories. In 1989 he participated in the founding of the well-known literary review, Común presencia. He is a director of the literary imprint Los conjurados and the weekly webzine Letra viva. His poems have been translated into several languages and included in 21 anthologies. He has received several awards, and his work has been reviewed by, among others, E.M. Cioran, Roberto Juarroz, Antonia Gamoneda, Roger Munier, Claude Michel Cluny and Antonio Ramos Rosa.

If Gonzalo Márquez Cristo was to try to define what a poet is, it is likely he would think of a visionary of the night. Borges said that an author creates his or her predecessors. Márquez Cristo’s lyric poetry seems to search for its nocturnal roots and its oracular shadows both in the Romantic poetry of England and Germany – especially William Blake’s prophetic books and the proverbs of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the odes and hymns of Hölderlin and Novalis’ Hymns to the Night – and in the work of the Austrian poet Georg Trakl, who foretold in his books, fraught with pristine and terrible images, the fall and destruction of the Austrian Empire.

In the poetry of Márquez Cristo, darkness has flashing clefts; desire burns and wounds; the night vigil clarifies the ominous signs of our dreams; sailors lose the stars; and each step on the high road of life takes us, little by little, deeper into the fatal fog.

Full of admirable, enigmatic verses, the poems of Oscuro nacimiento (Dark Birth) subdue us. Eugenio Montejo, in his foreword to La palabra liberada, observes that “[in] open, loose verses, confessing that he despises the ‘vertical body’ of poems, [Márquez Cristo’s] voice contributes to the combat of the shadows, in a tone with a certain cryptic slant”. Like augurs, wizards or the sibyl, the poet according to Márquez Cristo gives ambiguous and dark answers, with both poetry and oracles identified as “a torrent of signs”.

‘The Incandescent Shadow’ is an especially remarkable poem which encapsulates his work, evoking the despair and catastrophic world of Georg Trakl’s poetry. One one level, the poem is about personal defeat and failure; on another it is also an emblematic, tragic portrait of the last fifty-five years of political life in Márquez Cristo’s native Colombia, which has lived under “the voracity of power and its avalanche of mire” and suffered “war with its black trees”.

Faultless publisher, feverish reader, Márquez Cristo had no childhood or adolescence in his writing. From his very first poems, the fruit in his arbour was ripe.

© Marco Antonio Campos (Translated by Nicolás Suescún)

Bibliography 

Poetry

Apocalipsis de la rosa (Apocalypse of the Rose), Quimera del oro, Bogotá, 1988
La palabra liberada (The word Liberated) Los Conjurados, Bogotá, 2001
Liberación del origen (Liberation of the Origin, an anthology), Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, 2003
Oscuro nacimiento (Dark Birth) Los Conjurados, Bogotá, 2005

Prose
Ritual de títeres (Puppet ritual, a novel), Tiempos Modernos Editores, Bogotá, 1992
El tempestario y otros relatos (The tempestario and other stories), Común Presencia Editores, Bogotá, 1998 

Links
Gonzalo Márquez’s blog
Biography, poems and interviews in Spanish

Arte poética
Biography and poems in Spanish

Poéticas
Biography and poems in Spanish

Eldigoras.com
Biography and poems in Spanish

Confabulacion
Notes by Gonzalo Márquez in Spanish 

 



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