Other Literary Forms

(Poets and Poetry, Complete Critical Edition)

Blas de Otero experimented with progressively freer verse forms. An evolution began with the collection Pido la paz y la palabra (I ask for peace and the right to speak) and continued until his poetry approached prose. In their brevity, their imagery, and their dependence on sound effects, the pieces collected in his only full-length book of prose, Historias fingidas y verdaderas (1970), resemble poetry more than prose, as in “Andar” (walking): “And I saw the world as a sea churning with people, hanging on to one another as they went down; and the world just risen among broken tombs and inscriptions that lied.”

As Geoffrey Barrow has noted, Otero’s prose represents a further slackening of poetic convention rather than an abjuration of poetry. The first section of Historias fingidas y verdaderas (false and true history) includes fifty-six pieces in which Otero meditates on his own personality. The next section comprises his thoughts on Spain, its long and tangled history and how it could profit from the Socialist Revolution. The third section is devoted to speculation on the human condition in general. In contrast to the confidence that typified his writing of the previous decade, he raises doubts about the effectiveness of his role as a poet; it is now self-scrutiny rather than faith in the revolutionary potential of the majority that occupies him. Although no political theory of art emerges from his desultory observations, he attributes the social marginality he experiences as a poet to the written nature of the transference of his poetry. The secular millenarianism to which he subscribes, his belief in the imminent redemption of Spain and the world heralded by the Cuban Revolution, betokens the incontrovertible romanticism of his revolutionary stance.