Thursday, October 6

Constantino Molina: «My father is in my book, but also Paco Umbral, El Qujote or José Bono»

Toledo

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He has been working at the Thyssen Museum in Madrid for three years, although he is from Well Lorente (Albacete). «Every afternoon of my life trapped in the museum; I say that I am a grocer at Thyssen, a store staff a little more focused on the book, but I collect postcards, magnets and things like that; at least I’m surrounded by art, which has its charm “, says this 36-year-old poet from Albacete with his characteristic irony, who has won the most prestigious awards at the national level, from Adonáis, with ‘Las rama del azar’, to the National Prize for Young Poetry in 2016, when he worked in a supermarket. “A week after winning it, they threw me out,” he says.

Then he went to live in Madrid, and found a flat.

Now you have almost finished a new collection of poems that you would like to publish in 2022, but the last thing is that his first prose book, ‘The Song of the Red Partridge in Interior’, has just been published (Editorial Mr. Scott), a diary-text where childhood experiences, vital reflections, descriptions of his town and recent memories are mixed, such as the death of his father on Christmas Eve 2018, something that marked him and is very present in the story, but without being very explicit, although it acts as a constant background sea in the 142 pages.

«The body asked me for prose and the vital circumstance occurred that I had to go to town because of my father’s illness. I wrote this book in an almost therapeutic way and it has a narrative thread in which the present and memory are mixed ». His father died of a devastating cancer, which no one knew about until he showed his face, and the poet reflects on the unknown presence of the disease, of that “pearl” inside his father’s body that “no one saw although it shone more than the reactor of a thousand nuclear power plants together ».

The story of Constantino Molina in Pozo Lorente continues, and its people appear, the bar —the nerve center of the town’s social life—; animals as people, sharing the lives of humans. «Describe your people well and you will have described the world» (Leo Tolstoy) is the date with which this story begins.

Y the landscapes, his father’s vineyards, that art of pruning in which «many things have to be taken into account, a three-dimensional vision; It greatly affects the way each one is that day, and that, in some way, is later brought to the wine ».

The animals that Molina comes across on his daily walks, also nocturnal, such as that lonely ojeva always stranded in the same place, or those dogs known by name to all the neighbors, are more characters in the story. “Living with the animals in the village is very striking because true ecology is very present, as is death. In that coexistence with animals, that part of rawness is very clear that is still very beautiful, the truth, “he says.

The bar and depopulation

The bar is also fundamental in the story, «Not only in my town but in all the towns of Spain; A town may not have a town hall or a shop or a school or a medical center, but if it does not have a bar, it is dead, it is going to collapse ». Pozo Lorente, with about 370 inhabitants today (it reached 1,500 in the 1960s), it is not saved from depopulation. «I perceive it every time I return to my town; One year the school has closed, and another two of the three stores there were. One can be self-sufficient here if one is not very demanding and has a Franciscan and hermit soul. If your body does not ask for a lot of march, you can subsist, you can buy clothes in the market, but sometimes the Amazon package arrives to some door. Of course, the world of capitalism reaches everywhere and one can buy anything from Pozo Lorente ».

The poet has “at times” the franciscan soul, the birds, the stars, the cold winter nights, the lúganos, and “the song of the red partridge indoors” (his family lived with the partridge cages that his father brought), but others he moved away from the town “to appreciate it more when I return from the city. The charm of contrast.

With other authors who have gone from poetry to prose, such as Manuel Vilas, who blends private lives with current politics or the Monarchy, the poet from Pozo Lorente says he does not identify himself. «They told me about Vilas because of the presence of the father, but in my book it is present Paco Umbral, Don Quixote, the irony, the humor, the nonsense, which comes from both; Julio Camba, with a certain more detached, crude sárita; Michel Houellebecq or Iñaki Uriarte. That would be like the ‘playlist’ of the book ».

As for politics, through the pages of ‘The song of the red partridge in interior’ one walks Jose Bono. When I was a child, Bono was the King of the world. The true King did not care, for us he was Bono, and that has not existed again in Castilla-La Mancha. Then he disappeared and left us a somewhat orphaned region without that media star. Bono is unique and inimitable, he was the messiah of Castilla-La Mancha. And now Page is trying to drink from it, it is a clearer influence than mine with Vilas (smiles), which for me is not a literary reference. What I steal is from further back. Bad writers imitate, good writers steal, as Picasso used to say ».

The truth is that the death of Constantino Molina’s father, that presence that is in the book, but invisible in a way –“Pain actually leaves you speechless”, he emphasizes—, has given readers of his poetry the opportunity to meet him as a narrator. It is a pleasant, funny and sad book, tender and sometimes cruel.

When asked when that novel is for, he replies: “Let’s see if they ask me for it from the Planeta publishing house and when I agree with them for the award, we’ll see.” But above all: “I’d love for Bono to read it.”

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