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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts of activism

Sobral, Geraldo
Notes and discussion: vanguards of the underdeveloped world,   pp. 445-447 PDF (1.9 MB)

Page 446

representative-democratic), they challenge the Establishment.
By calling themselves Tzantzicos they reveal their radical intentions: to
shrink heads, as
the Tzanticos or Jibaros Indians of the Upper Amazon actually do. And the
but cohesive group of restless poets, led by Ulises Estrella (writing in
the Yankee
magazine TRACE, no. 65 (1967), Hugh Fox affirms that "Estrella is also
a power
there"), Alejandro Moreano, Francisco Proano, Alfonso Murriagui, Agustin
Cueva and
other young intellectuals, are unleashing a violent and aggressive movement
against the Establishment.
The Tzantizicos have maintained that their attitude is not an abstract defense
of an equally abstract dignity but rather the absolute denial of the very
of art held by the literary Old Guard: a vehicle for winning reputation.
it was necessary to destroy intellectual provinciality and the myth of literary
To conceive of art as a way of life, one of the Sartrian concerns of living,
and to
devote oneself to it entirely every moment of one's lifetime. "A poem
brings into play
the vital totality that is wholly engaged in the transformation of all forms
of life,
socio economic circumstances, and the sense that the Tzantzico poet gives
to his social
condition: that is why it is profoundly subversive."
Tzantzico Happenings
Facing the most diverse obstacles, including police repression, the poets
have gone to
the streets for what they called "an authentic literature with a popular
and revolutionary
projection." They did not limit themselves to publishing magazines (PUCANA
INDOAMERICA-65 have appeared) and books. They produced poetry to be read
public places, labor unions, neighborhood organizations, wherever people
concentrated. Or to be brought to the stage, dramatized in search of the
climate of
contact, of direct communication with the people as spectators and in a certain
446        way also as actors.
It was then a matter of bringing about something similar to the literary
cabarets of
Germany and also a kind of happening with definite political intentions.
In these
encounters with the people, the poet interprets poetically what is happening
in the
different spheres of total reality:
Vamos,                  Hey,
hay una rebelion        There's a rebellion
en la ventana           At the window
It was a rebellion on the march. The poets went to every part of Quito, they
to Guayaquil, held public meetings, promoted poetic agitation wherever possible.
Poetry was carried to the people, to those passive Indians and to that immense
mass of
mestizos, who at times showed some interest. And when it seemed that they
become involved in the happenings, as the Tzantzicos had hoped, police repression
followed. Poetry launched in the streets, introduced into labor unions, read
housewives, dramatized in public squares, constituted a monstrous crime for
the Establishment, which sought to confine it to its colonial salons. And
the poets
were made to feel like "America's outcasts" and many fled. Ulises
Estrella took
refuge for some time in Argentina.
jQuien se atreve        Who dares
a ponernos muros        To build us walls
que parecen naturales?
That seem natural?

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