Horacio Benavides
(Colombia, 1949)   
Horacio Benavides

Horacio Benavides has published eight books of poetry, the last two of which: Sin razón florecer (To blossom without reason) and Todo lugar para el desencuentro (All the places for mix-ups), won important national prizes. He edits children’s books and has also written a couple himself.

Written in a spare style at which he has worked diligently, Benavides’ poems conquer profundity by using simplicity; by simplifying language, he amplifies its capacity of expression. Brevity in his poetry must not be misunderstood, then, as a limitation of language, but rather as its power to create sensations and suggest other levels of reality.

Benavides’ poetic personality creates a lucid awareness of poetry, by retreating into silence and in this way situating the poem outside of the author, making it speak with its own voice. Metaphorical or symbolical beings from the animal kingdom or the natural elements, stand out against an unaffected texture, in which words recover their essential quality.

The Colombian poet, Juan Manuel Roca finds in his work, “something quite unusual in Colombian poetry: a tone that covers the simplest observations without falling into mere simpleness.” On the other hand, the writer Fabio Martínez remarks that, “Horacio Benavides’ interest is in starting from the simplest elements to arrive at a poetical result where language is metaphor and artifice at the same time”. All of this is present in a poem like ‘Limitless Prairie’, where the image of a cow ruminating on a field has an eschatological echo:

            As just emerging
                     from the Deluge
            to make her debut in the limitless
            comes the cow

            its time is the purest

            and when the final trumpets
            awaken our ashes,
            it will stand
            its eyes half asleep

Simplicity here is a way of approaching complexity by giving the exterior of the statement the necessary transparency for the reader to fathom the feelings and secrets revealed in the depths where poetical creatures dwell.

© Nelson Romero Guzmán (Translated by Nicolás Suescún)

Orígenes, Editorial La trova paralela, 1979.
Las cosas perdidas, Ediciones Arte color, 1985.
Agua de la orilla, Ediciones Arte color, 1989.
Sombra de agua, Centro Editorial Universidad del Valle, 1994, ISBN 958-9047-93-9.
Por el hilo de las estrellas, Deriva Ediciones, 2002.
La aldea desvelada, Editorial Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia, 1998, ISBN 958-660-037-8.
Sin razón florecer (Instituto Distrital de Cultura de Bogotá National Poetry Prize, 2001), Alcaldía de Bogotá, 2002, ISBN 958-8109-47-7.
Todo lugar para el desencuentro (Eduardo Cote Lamus National Poetry Prize, 2005) Gobernación de Norte de Santander, 2006. ISBN 958-33-8675-8.
Agua pasó por aquí (Riddles), Deriva Ediciones, 2004. ISBN 958-33-5881-9.
En la carpa de un circo (for children), Deriva Ediciones, 1998, ISBN 958-33-1867-1.

In Spanish
Page of the International Poetry Festival of Medellín: Poems and short biography http://festivaldepoesiademedellin.org/pub/es/Revista/ultimas_ediciones/68_69/benavides.html


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