Seeing and Touching

Seeing and Touching

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Author: Vicente Huidobro

Translator: Tony Frazer

Publisher: Shearsman Books (2023)

Ver y palpar is one of two books from 1941 which between them include some of Huidobro’s finest work, something that most commentators have tended to ignore, preferring usually to engage with Altazor or with the earlier books such as Poemas árticos, and their attendant Creationist theory. On the other hand, the rupture between the poetic text and empirical reality, exemplified by Creationist theory (but not always adhered to by the author) may well have become embedded in the subtext of these later poems, with their disrupted syntax, and their clearly surrealistic tendencies. Almost certainly under the influence of surrealism, in many of the poems Huidobro moves towards something far looser than his original theoretical position. There is a deliberate instability in many of the poems, arising from unusual, even awkward syntax, and the suppression of syntactic linkages within the poems, something that was also evident in later cantos of Altazor.