Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts of activism
Notes and discussion: vanguards of the underdeveloped world, pp. 445-447 PDF (1.9 MB)
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 small 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 conception of art held by the literary Old Guard: a vehicle for winning reputation. Therefore it was necessary to destroy intellectual provinciality and the myth of literary patriotism. 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 and INDOAMERICA-65 have appeared) and books. They produced poetry to be read in public places, labor unions, neighborhood organizations, wherever people were 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 travelled 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 would become involved in the happenings, as the Tzantzicos had hoped, police repression followed. Poetry launched in the streets, introduced into labor unions, read to 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?