In the poetry of Felipe García Quintero there is both verbal and emotional reticence, which does not imply that his words are weak or that his emotions remain occult. On the contrary, the images in his poetry are vivid and powerful, as is the pared-down linguistic form he uses. In this, he is one of the few Colombian poets who reject the strong rhetorical and verbose traditions of the national poetry.
Felipe García Quintero studied Hispanic Philology in Spain, Cultural Studies in Ecuador, and Literature and the Spanish Language in Colombia. He has published four books of poetry and an essay on the Colombian poet Rafael Maya. He has been awarded several prizes and scholarships in Colombia, and in Chile and Spain. He is editor of the poetry review Ophelia, and a professor of Journalism in the Universidad del Cauca, in Popayán, his native city.
Quintero’s surrealist black humor is most original. In an early poem, the rats eat the hands and lips of the Pied Piper of Hamelin; the children end up in the rat holes and the Piper’s marvelous flute in the lips of a “rat with eyes of dust”. In other words, the folk tale is turned on its head. In another, quite short, early poem, the poet expresses in just two sentences the lack of communication so frequent between father and son. The narrator’s father tells him to hide in the house and that he will look for him, but then forgets his words. “I am still hiding — he comments — waiting.” This economy of words is most effective; paraphrasing it I have used more words than he does in the poem.
Quintero’s is a poetry in which there is no separation between thought and experience, and where experience is deformed, so as to express feelings of alienation and estrangement in small, cruel narratives or in series of mournful lamentations, interspersed with striking images.
It is not then surprising that such a young and inventive poet who has consistently refined his very personal voice, has already won several prizes in recognition of his creativity and freshness.
Translated by Nicolás Suescún
When my Fat Mother is Sleeping . . .
My House, like the Desert . . .
Little by Little the Silence . . .
I Travel in a Train of Twenty-One Coaches . . .
Birds Sink their Beaks into my Flesh . . .
You Bring a Bit of Bread and Some Wine . . .
vida de nadie, in the poetry collection ‘Encina de la Cañada’, Altorrey Editorial, Madrid, 1999. Second edition, Editorial Universidad del Cauca, Popayán, 2000.
piedra vacía. Wesaldi imprint, Temuco, Chile, 2000.
piedra vacía, Editions La Línea Imaginaria, Quito, 2001.
la muerte, bis, Ministerio de Cultura, Bogotá, 2002.
Casa de huesos (Selected poems), Mérida, Venezuela, Cuadernos artesanales de poesía, IMC, 2002.
La herida del comienzo. Editions Alhucema, Granada, 2005.
Finca Raíz y Propiedad Horizontal. Lectura del legado poético de Rafael Maya. Fondo Mixto de Cultura del Cauca, Popayán, 1998.
Electronic Review Eldigoras
Selected poems from Quintero's books Vida de nadie, Piedra vacía, La muerte.
Online poetry magazine
Magazine of the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities at the University of Chile
Magazine Alhucema No 14
Review of Vida de nadie by César Eduardo Carrión published in the magazine Acanto; Universidad EAFIT.
Prometeo Magazine No 71-72
Electronic Magazine rabodeaji.com
Issue number 2, Selected poems from Vida de nadie.