Claudio Rodríguez Mike Mudrovic - Essay

Mike Mudrovic

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Claudio Rodríguez must be considered one of the foremost poets writing in Spanish today. It is little wonder that, for those of us who hold his poetry in such high esteem, the release of a new volume after an eleven-year silence should create immediate excitement…. The new volume [Elvuelo de la celebración] is a much different experience than its immediate predecessor [Alianza y condena] but continues to demonstrate Rodríguez's fundamental and intriguing approach to the act of poetic creation.

In all of his books, Rodríguez not only writes individual poems, but fits these poems into a total pattern in the structure of the volume. El vuelo de la celebración presents a unified paradoxical experience, as evidenced by its structure. The first section of the volume, "Herida en cuatro tiempos," sets the atmosphere and the direction of the volume. Each of the four poems of this section then has a direct relationship with the four remaining sections of the volume. The experience this creates seems first to describe a serious loss suffered by the speaker and then to show the various ways in which he comes to grips with his subsequent situation. The spectrum of tones—all intimate and personal—is astounding. A few of the poems that immediately stand out are "Herida," "Arena," "Ciruelo silvestre," "Lo que no se marchita" and "Noviembre." Throughout the work there appears to be a constant struggle between desolation and hopefulness, as the title possibly indicates.

The final poem bears out this duality. The elegy is traditionally a lament caused by the death of an actual person or the poet's contemplation of the tragic aspects of life. But in this lament the poet also finds consolation in the contemplation of some permanent principle. Thus "Elegía desde Simancas" presents the paradoxical resolution of the poet's experience throughout the poems of El vuelo de la celebración.

This new volume appears to be a transitional work in the context of Rodríguez's lyric production. In spite of some obvious changes in style and tone as compared to his earlier works, El vuelo de la celebración maintains an intrinsic appeal that is exciting and fulfilling to discover. More and more, Claudio Rodríguez is rising to a preeminent position in Spanish poetry. (p. 88)

Mike Mudrovic, in World Literature Today (copyright 1978 by the University of Oklahoma Press), Vol. 52, No. 1, Winter, 1978.