Admission rights, The collection of poems by Yeison García López, an author who defines himself as Afro-Colombian-Spanish, arrives at a particularly attentive moment —or it should be— to the migratory process and its derivatives: the journey itself, the geographical and sentimental distance, the cultural and family reorganization, the rethinking of identity, administrative and economic difficulties, awareness of how the majority current operates with respect to minority ones… The dialectical tensions that flow under this process become the most contemporary and faithful map of our social situation.
Langston Hughes considered poetry a form of action that ends up influencing the psyche of the group represented by the author as well as those with whom he necessarily comes into contact. García López shares with Hughes ethical coordinates and democratic urgency (“I don’t give myself time. I don’t have it”), encourages the same expectation of himself as a poet beyond race and other corrosive social pressures, and generates the same empathy in the reader. It’s not by chance. Both were molded in a moment of emergence of groups considered practically as foreigners by the country to which they belonged or belong.
The vitality, the talent, the spirit with which a young generation of Spanish Afro-descendants is being forged, can be compared – and so does the Valencian artist, bookseller and activist Ken Province – with that other vibrant moment of modern culture: the Harlem Renaissance. A moment when North America realized the imaginative potential of a community that, until then, and with rare exceptions, had been viewed exclusively as a workforce or as a problem of coexistence. Beyond the economic boom to which it contributed so decisively, Afro-America would also end up being a determining factor in the ethical and aesthetic landscape of the United States. If Spain does not know the experience of the groups that populate it, it does not know itself. If you do not accept the rich contribution of citizens who are in direct contact with other ancestry, with other imaginary, you will deprive yourself of the best possibilities for renewal.
Every poet must live in his time. Admission rights includes QR codes that guide our steps beyond reading (wasn’t lyrical poetry accompanied by music in ancient Greece?): we listen to the poet read his verses, and we know, through videos made by Heidi Ramírez, the various elements that contextualize the collection of poems. García López’s inner voice is precise, courageous, revealing of a simple and direct beauty. Political intention, which can be a grave for poetry, can also save it; and whoever achieves that difficult balance wins twice. “I only collect what is sown,” writes García López. “Love yourself, poet, of your own words. If not, you are dead ” (Hang yourself, poet, in your own words. Otherwise, you are dead), Langston Hughes wrote.
Yeison F. García López. La Imprenta, 2021. 80 pages. 12 euros