Ángel Rupérez

Ángel Rupérez (Burgos, 1953 - ), a scholar on English Poetry and a poet himself, has often dealt with the poetry of Claudio Rodríguez. He was in charge of two editions of selected poems (Mondadori, 1992 and Espasa-Calpe, Austral, 2004). He provides in-depth introductions to both editions (“The Life Forever” and “Where the Self Comes Together”, respectively) with interesting personal reflections on the meaning of this poetry.

“When a poet looks into himself, he is searching in the chiaroscuro of his conscience for a justification of the reasons for the why and how he has lived”. This statement by Ángel Rupérez in his foreword to the selection in Mondadori (p. 38) offers a complete image of Claudio Rodríguez as a poet “who never gives up his whish to be a man among men”, so that “he wants to extract fraternity from his solitude, as a kind of moral exigence”.

Rupérez’s words reflect the conclusive meaning of poetry for Claudio Rodríguez, previously analyzed by the scholar in all the poet’s books. He understands Gift of Inebriation not only as a sustained “adolescent exaltation” but also as something deeper, the development of a thought that unites “a sensorial complexity” with “a revealing tension (…) in the ambivalent condition of man, in his split destiny between clarity and darkness”. He bases this idea on the two main themes in the book: a feeling of exaltation and an awareness of limitation, of separation, which gradually prevails “as reality stops being itself (…) and begins to become a reflection, a way out into the past”. This way, a process of lights and shadows rises, a subsequent symphony of chiaroscuros transferred to the following four books, from Conjurings to Almost a Legend. In this process emerges that conviction, alongside the exulting awareness of being alive, that “the attraction of the beauty of the moment does not lead any further from that moment, not towards its depth, but towards memory’s reflection”. That lends the poet’s writing an undeniable retrospective dimension.

Regarding his second introduction, “Where the Self Comes Together”, Ángel Rupérez enters an introspective field of ontological nature that relates the poetry of Claudio Rodríguez with the knowledge of reality as something unfolded in matter, in things as a “manifestation of meaning”. “There is no self without perceivable matter”, Rupérez concludes, and he adds: “The self is matter ready to be acknowledged as such, as pure transcendent materiality”. The frequent presence of Castile, the path as the original process that confers meaning to the poem or the quest for salvation in life (“Is everything resurrection?”, asks the poet in Almost a Legend) are also traces that mark the meaning of a poetry whose final referent, in Ángel Rupérez’s words, is “the sheer apprehension of the self”.