Born in Cali, Colombia, Orietta Lozano has published five books of poems, a novel, a long essay about Alejandra Pizarnik and an anthology of poetry from her native region of Valle del Cauca. Her poetry has been published in many reviews, newspapers and anthologies in Colombia and abroad. In 1986 she was awarded a national poetry prize and another for erotic poetry. In 1995 she was invited to the XIII Biennale Internationale des Poètes in Paris, and, by the Fondation Royaumont, to the Seminar on the Translation of Foreign Poets to discuss the translation of one of her books.
In the work of Orietta Lozano we perceive silence, darkness, chaos, the act itself of writing, love, solitude, memory, dreams. The juxtaposition of earthy, subterranean tones and a distancing of the senses can be seen as experimental. She is able to write, for instance, “The tongue brushes the pink ulcer of the wound / that became speech with the imprecise word.” In its imprecise nature, Lozano’s poetry embodies a desire to unite the universe and language in an absolute intimacy, far from the word itself.
As a crisis of desire, her poetry establishes an absolute transience, beyond thought and what is explicable. Desire, like poetry, no longer belongs to the world; rather, it takes its place, trying to compensate for real-world existence through language. In Lozano’s poetry, desire is like a living organism, and it makes no concessions.
In this space that favours a perpetual beginning, the ruins of language are shown as an unrepeatable metaphor, and the continuity of language assumes the utopia of desire; it is a fragment that is never completed, and its incompleteness defines it. What is not concluded comes to represent what is unutterable, because desire can be everything and nothing, darkness and brilliance. One can justly say that in Lozano's poetry there is nothing hidden, rather that there are multiple paths of perception.
In Lozano's hands the poem becomes a shadowy figure, a secret, joining the beginning with the end, recognising the union of contraries:
Shadow without memory adhering to fire,
first day that lasts in the secret of the waters
and in the inevitable trap of emptiness,
breath scattering the silent ashes
on the multiple face of time.
Fuego secreto (Secret Fire), Ediciones Puesto de Combate, Bogotá, Colombia, 1980.
Memoria de los espejos (Memory of the Mirrors), Ediciones Pusto de Combate, Bogotá, Colombia, 1983
El vampiro esperado (The Awaited Vampire), Ediciones Puesto de Combate, Bogotá, Colombia, 1987
Poesía del silencio (Poetry of Silence) (with Antonio Zibara; an anthology of poetry from Valle del Caucpoetry from Valle del Cauca), Colección Biblioteca del Centenario, Secretaría de Cultura del Valle, Cali, Colombia, 1989
Antología amorosa (Love Anthology), Editorial Tiempo Presente, Bogotá, 1995
El solar de la esfera (The Backyard of the Sphere), Ediciones Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia, 1994
Alejandra Pizarnik: Antología poética (essay), Editorial Tiempo Presente, Bogotá, Colombia, 1990,
Luminar (Luminary), Ediciones Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia, 1994
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