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CON AGUSTIN CADENA
"Carne verde, piel negra"
WITH AGUSTIN CADENA
"An Avocado from Michoacán"
C.M. Mayo: ¿Cómo fue que llegaste
a la literatura?
han sido tus influencias?
ha sido tu fuente más grande de inspiración?
¿Te consideras un escritor tradicional?
¿Cómo te ubicas dentro de la literatura mexicana?
¿Cuáles son las virtudes que más aprecias
en un escritor?
¿Cómo ha sido tu relación con México?
¿Qué opinas de la literatura mexicana?
¿Cuál sería tu consejo para los escritores
C.M. Mayo: How did you first become interested in writing?
Agustín Cadena: When I was small, watching television had not yet become a way of life. There were other things to do. Storytelling was the popular afternoon activity. We children would go to the patio of someone's house and listen to the stories the grownups told. And when there weren't any grownups, we'd make up our own stories. We spent hours doing this, until it was dark and someone would come get us to go home for supper. That's how I began to like stories and characters.
CM: Which have been your influences?
AC: My influences. I have had different influences at each stage of my life. Some I don't even feel anymore, though I suppose they are still there. The most lasting, I think, have been Dante, Dostoevsky, Dickens, Chekhov, Emily Brontë, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his sister Christina, Henry Bauchau, Ernesto Sábato, Juan Rulfo, José Revueltas, Mijaíl Bulgakov, Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski, Tolkien, Kazantzakis...
CM: What has been your greatest source of inspiration?
AC: Paintings, especially those of the Pre-Raphaelites, and the old Mexican love songs. That might look like a strange combination, but there it is.
CM: Do you consider yourself a traditional writer?
AC: I try to be. I don't like fads.
CM: How do you see yourself within Mexican literature?
AC: I think, in a way, mine are works of manners; they deal with the lives of people in specific communities, as do those of Mariano Azuela, Juan Rulfo, José Revueltas and, in a different context, José Agustín. I follow along these lines. If you'll notice, among the names I mentioned as my influences, several of these are also writers of manners: Carver, especially.
CM: Which are the virtues you most appreciate in the writer?
AC: A love for life. When you have this, you can make your characters come alive, to give the reader the emotional experience of encountering them. By this I don't mean a naive celebration of humanity. There have been great writers who have suffered a great deal, who have written very dark things and nevertheless, at the very bottom, they went on loving life, at least the lives of others. Kafka is example of what I'm talking about. In his work there is a lot of darkness and pessimism, but this was the effect of love that was frustrated and still alive. Or you have Charles Bukowski: he seems a cynic, it seems everything is shit to him, but if you read him with care, you can notice a great tenderness.You have to be very strong and very pure to be this way. On the other hand, there are many writers among those in fashion today, who seem to not feel anything. The only thing that interests them are intellectual games, the fashions of Harvard professors. Like the neutral angels in Dante's Inferno, they follow neither light nor shadow; they only want to live for themselves. I find them infinitely boring.
CM: How would you describe your relationship with Mexico?
AC: It's been tears and laughter like all great loves.
CM: What do you think of Mexican literature?
AC: I don't know where it's going. It's like those teenagers who don't want to work or do anything for others, they just want to live as they like, asking their parents for money.
CM: What is your advice for young writers?
AC: They should study economics, law or engineering, or open a grocery store. The important thing is to be able to make a living from something other than literature. This way they don't have to sell-out, become camp-followers of some bureaucrat, or beg for grants, or compete against their colleagues tooth-and-nail for some privilege. It is very sad to see and there are many writers like this.
CM: What do you read that would surprise your colleagues?
Orgía de palomas. UNAM
Primera sangre. UAM
Para enterrar la memoria. 69 ediciones 69
Ritos de inocencia. Fondo Editorial Tierra Adentro
Astillas y fragmentos. UNAM
Geometría de la soledad. Editorial Praxis
Todos los días azul cielo. Gobierno del Estado de Hidalgo
Fábulas del crepúsculo. Editorial Ficticia. Biblioteca de cuento Anís del Mono.
Los pobres de espíritu. Editorial Nueva Imagen
La lepra de San Job. Editorial Planeta
Cadáver a solas. Editorial Joaquín Mortiz
Tan oscura. Editorial Joaquín Mortiz
La sabiduría de Edgar Allan Poe. Planeta
La sabiduría de Franz Kafka. Planeta
Gordas, feas y chismosas. Ediciones Arlequín
Diáspora. Hidalgo: Una narrativa en exilio. Gobierno del Estado de Hidalgo
Apocalipsis. (Antología y estudio de la novísima narrativa mexicana). Times Editores
De la imagen a la letra. Ediciones Grahma.
Las ideas y sus caminos. Ediciones La Libélula.
El cuento-historia de los gatos. Gobierno del Estado de Campeche.
La guerra de los gatos. Editorial Progreso.
haga clic aquí.
Su blog es El vino y la hiel.
His blog is El vino y la hiel.