“Evil is human in nature, we will never be able to free ourselves”: Mircea Cărtărescu

“Evil is human in nature, we will never be able to free ourselves”: Mircea Cărtărescu

“Poetry is linked to youth. The poet, like an athlete, has to be young. You cannot run the 100 meters when you are over 40 years old. The same happens with poetry, it is the art of youth. Of course there are exceptions, but they are simply to prove the rule.”

These were the words of the Romanian poet and novelist Mircea Cartarescu (Bucharest, 1956) after receiving the FIL Prize for Literature in Romance Languages ​​2022, at the start of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL Guadalajara), which this year can finally specify the presence of the emirate of Sharjah and Arab culture as Guest of Honor.

“I believe that poetry, like food products, has an expiration date. And I think that this range of guarantee for a poet is about seven years. Statistically, a poet begins between the ages of 22 and 24 and ends around 30. Then he tends to repeat himself. And he will be able to write many verses throughout his life, but he will never have the strength of youth, which is when you want to show everything, when you want to show in all its dimension how strong and how powerful you are. Later, you hide, you pretend”.

As Cărtărescu spoke, he kept his left arm close to his chest, at the level of the pit of his stomach, like a taciturn one. As he said, his gaze was evasive of the people attending the conference in the Expo Guadalajara. He spoke in Romanian and his translator accompanied him. Each sentence was brief, like a verse that he matched with other twins by rhythm as if it were a poem.

Cărtărescu, author of works such as the novel “Nostalgia” and “The Brown Eye of Our Love”, a compendium of thoughts, repeatedly considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature and holder of the most important living pen in the Romanian language, said that when As he approached his 30th birthday, he vowed never to write poetry again, and he kept that promise for at least three more decades. But recently he published a new compendium of compositions close to poetry, under the title “Don’t ever scream for help.”

“In all this time I had not written verses at any time. Only after suffering from a severe variant of covid that affected my mentality and personality. That is why I could say that I did not write this new volume of verses, but that the volume wrote me. I felt compelled to write it. The words sprouted, I can’t say where, and pushed me to write them. The book is absolutely unlike anything I had previously written. In fact, it is not poetry, properly speaking, but a kind of collection of cries of pain”.

Mircea Cărtărescu was later asked his opinion on the persistence of authoritarian states in the middle of 2022 and after surviving a pandemic that promised profound changes in humanity.

The FIL Award 2022 He reasoned: “It’s a question that I doubt anyone can answer because I think it’s human in nature. Kant said that human nature is a kind of crooked wood that will never straighten. We have the evil in ourselves and in my opinion, we will never be able to get rid of it.”

Then he gave as an example the military aggression that Russia exercises over Ukraine. “It is a war of such incredible brutality that it would not have even taken place in the Middle Ages (…) every day, continuously, we see how evil is manifested, we find discrimination and injustice of all kinds; we find injustices, sexism, racism. We see it every day despite the fact that more and more people are fighting against it.

Due to the above, the author assessed that “our own destiny is marked by suffering, madness, disease. That is why negative feelings are so strong. Kafka said: ‘I express all the negativity of my time’. So expressing that negativity of an era is absolutely important, it’s as if the poet put a band-aid on all our wounds.

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