Rafael Patiño, born in Medellín in 1947, is a poet, painter, translator and an expert in bioenergetics. His poems have been published in some outstanding magazines and journals, and he has translated poetry from around the world. A classic autodidact, he went on to hold university posts in French, English and cybernetic art.
That good poetic works should remain concealed from the public for many years may seem strange but it is not uncommon. When he was 23 years-old, a university published Patiño’s first book in a very small and modest edition and afterwards he self-published the rest of his books, including an anthology of African-French speaking poets, with the aid of a computer. Rafael Patiño has written five books of good poetry but they barely exist in Colombia’s poetic canon.
When the nadaísta group of poets (the Colombian version of the Beatniks) began to dominate the Colombian poetic scene, Patiño was a young man with the intuition and the will to go his own way, choosing — instead of the falsely revolutionary, prosaic vocabulary of the nadaístas —unusual words or neologisms replete with suggestive power. This way he could give form to his strange imaginative visions, evidently influenced by his reading of European avant-garde poets. His poetry was akin to surrealism, but he was no follower or imitator of it. Indeed, far from cultivating automatic writing, he works on his poems with meticulous refinement.
Patiño’s poetry is suffused with sardonic humor and peopled by imaginary beings and animals that perform marvelous deeds; language is freely associative or distorted, creating odd yet vivid images. The poet has, in sum, found his own quite peculiar form. Patiño is certainly a poet who as he says in one of his poems, in his quite characteristic manner, “[is a] solsticed excrescence of humanity, /gathering the froth of miserable cries.”
The Ballad of Count Cut-Throat
The Ballad of Jean Arthur the Gaul
The Ballad of the Jealous Man
Village of Delirium
Matinee in your tide
Madame of Labiated Universes
Dance of Masks
My ferocious continuity
El Trasego del Trasgo, Collection Pandora’s Box, Pedagogic University Bogotá, 1980
Clavecín Erótico, self-published, Medellín, 1983
Libro del Colmo de Luna, self-published, Manizales, 1986
Canto del Extravío, self-published, Medellín, 1990
Le Néant Perplexe, Bilingual French/Spanish, Medellin-Québec, 1999
La Guerra Santa, translation of French poet René Daumal, self-published, 1987
Máscaras de Poesía Negra, selection and translation of black poets from Africa and the Antilles, self-published, El Retiro, 2001
Virtual Library Banco de la República: El verbo no se hizo carne Essay by Rafael Patiño
Virtual Library Banco de la República: El sol nace en los llanos. Essay by Rafael Patiño