Luis Antonio de Villena
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I consider myself a vocational poet, but I was not immediately aware of this. It was clear to me since my adolescence that I wanted to write, that I was attracted to writing, although initially it was the essay what claimed my attention being around 12 or 13 years old... An accessible "Greek Mythology" fell into my hands, and I read it with enthusiasm. I really liked those gods that seemed so human, but that provided everything with a flash of beauty and brightness. Magic. In some way, the vocation of becoming a wise-man came to me (an please do not take it as pedantry). As a matter of fact, at that time I dreamed of becoming an egyptologist. A bit later (I must have been hardly 15 years old) I read the biography of Franceso Petrarca. As it is normal, the biographer highlighted the famous lyric quality of his sonnets, but also made emphasis in other aspects that normally only appear in biographies and more specialized studies... Petrarca was a great and famous humanist who searched and found antique manuscripts (e.g., some speeches by Cicero), and who on top of writing important works in Latin (e.g., his famous "Secretum"), was so interested in learning Greek that he did not hesitate to travel to the south of Italy where he had been told -and it was true- that there were still Greek-speaking villages remaining, due to either the remote vestiges of Magna Grecia or to the more recent presence of the Byzantines in those latitudes... I loved that wish for learning, but something else and complementary appeared with this wish. On top of being a humanist and a wise-man, Petrarca was also a poet, thus I also needed to write a sonnet just like he did. Not in all of my life I had found myself in such a mess. How do you write a sonnet? I could only think in looking for the necessary rhymes of quatrains and tercets, and later see how a love poem continued filling in the spaces until the hendecasyllabic. Fortunately, I had a really beautiful neighbor of my age named Susana. Her real name is irrelevant because in Spanish rhyming with "ana" is considerably easy ("gana", "manzana",...) and solved half of my invention. It is quite lucky that I no longer conserve this poem, because it was really bad. But, as luck would have it and without realizing it, I had become a poet -although I was on a quest to become a wise-man- and I have not quit being one until the present. If I have to define my work (very diverse, including journalism), I would call it the work of a poet. Cocteau used to speak about "poetry novels", "poetry films", "poetry drawings", etc. I like to feel inside a similar atmosphere, where poetry rules everything. But at the time of the first sonnet, although I was already a poet, the total and carnal poetry (beyond Petrarca or Lope, which is saying a lot) was still to reach me...
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