Aproximación a las auto poéticas de cuatro poetas latinoamericanos: Diana Bellessi, Antonio Cisneros, Eduardo Espina, José Emilio Pacheco

Martinez Millan, Juan, Spanish - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Opere, Fernando, Department for Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia

This dissertation examines the use of autopoetic texts in the construction of the authorial figure and the reader through a study of four contemporary Latin American poets: Diana Bellessi (Argentina), José Emilio Pacheco (Mexico), Antonio Cisneros (Peru), and Eduardo Espina (Uruguay/USA). I selected these four poets because each represents a different approach to poetry within the same period.

In her poems, Bellessi traces the root of female poetic discourse in order to establish a history of literature from the perspective of women. She sees her poetry as a nexus between the feminist literary tradition that she establishes and the future of literature created by women. Her poetry embraces outcasts and outsiders because she views women as outsiders in the history of literature and ideas. In Pacheco’s poems, he seeks a poetic formula through which he reveals the social turmoil of the 1960s. He uses his poems as a forum to discuss events such as the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre, the Vietnam War, and the rise of globalization. In Cisneros’s poems, he evaluates the impact of European culture on Latin American cultural production. His cultural criticism is further distinguished from Bellessi and Pacheco’s form of social criticism by his use of strong religious imagery. Espina’s poems are marked by his concern with aesthetics and form. His poetry celebrates “art for art’s sake” and does not engage wider social issues. However, he does see himself as a part of the Hispanic immigrant movement in the United States, and his bicultural, bilingual life is reflected in his use of language in his poetry. He writes his poems in Spanish, but traces of English syntax and grammar permeate his work.

I analyze the authors’ own prose writing and oral comments about their work as well as their metapoems. There is a tension between the critic and the author in the study of literature. Contemporary literary criticism has been guided by the theories of Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida that grant literary critics exclusive power to define the poetics of an author. Yet, through the study of autopoetic works, we see how authors take control of their work, of the market, and of their readers. Moreover, these texts show how authors consciously create an authorial figure and image. These self-conscious texts cannot no longer be ignored by literary critics during the process of defining the poetics of an author. Autopoetic works offer critics direct access to the creative process. The author uses these works to explain how they view their own work in relation to their contemporaries and how their work fits into the larger literary tradition. By bringing the study of autopoetics to the field of literary criticism, an additional, invaluable perspective is added to our understanding of an author’s poetics.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Autopoetics, Latin American literature, Spanish, Diana Bellessi, Antonio Cisneros, Eduardo Espina, Jose Emilio Pacheco
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