Washington Cucurto
(Argentina, 1973)   
Washington Cucurto

Washington Cucurto has invented a new literary form. He calls it realismo atolondrado: ‘headlong realism.’ It puts a Latin-American twist on the hard-boiled writing of the likes of Charles Bukowski and William S. Burroughs, mingling Beat with Spanish-language sensibilities and a pan-Latino consciousness.

This collection, the first of its kind in English, attempts to provide more readers access to Cucurto’s vivid poetry. I have curated it in collaboration with Cucurto. We’ve decided to call it Some Dollars after one of the poems in the book. The title reflects the appropriation of Cucurto’s work into the language of the yanqui (the Argentine word for American Gringo). It was, after all, American neoliberal policies in Argentina that, in part, pushed Cucurto to first take to the typewriter after a long shift at the supermarket.

When I first encountered Cucurto’s work, I was struck by its character. His writing was so different from the flowery Spanish poetry to which I was accustomed. Cucurto offers a hard-hitting respite from the white, bourgeois narrative that characterized Argentinian poetry in the 21st century. He writes from the margins of Latin American society, taking up the narrative of the immigrant, the homosexual, the street vendor and the whore. Here again comes a strong chiming with the other writer from a very different L.A. – Bukowski. Yet Cucurto has a sharp social critique at the center of his work that I have never felt in Bukowski.

© Jordan Lee Schnee, EEUU, Brooklyn, 2012


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