- Spain -
(Alcaudete, Jaén, 1976), besides a poet, is an aphorist, a literary critic and a creative writing teacher. To this date, she has published the following titles: Arrojada (2007), 777 (2007), Minimás (2008, 2009 -2nd edition-), La mujer del tiempo (2011), Campo de fuerza (2008, reprinted 2018). Letra pequeña (2014), Vuelo doméstico (2014), Zona franca (2016) and Deslengua (2020). Las versiones de Eva (2014) is a personal anthology of her own poetic work. She has also published Fuegos de palabras (Fundación José Manuel Lara, 2018), an anthology of the 20th and 21th centuries poetic aphorisms in Spanish.
Also, as an anthologist she has edited Seré bre/ Aforismos poéticos y otras breverías (Universidad de Sevilla, 2015) and 10 poetas jóvenes desde Andalucía, published by UNAM (Universidad Autónoma de México) for the 2006 Guadalajara International Book Fair.
In 2011 she was awarded the Premio Iberoamericano Fernando Quiñones. Her work has been translated into several languages (Germany, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Arab, Macedonian, Albanian and Armenian) and included in relevant contemporary Spanish anthologies of poetry and aphorisms. She is a member of the editorial board of the poetry publication Nayagua (Fundación Centro de Poesía José Hierro).
A specialist in International Information, she holds a degree in Journalism from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Her weekly op-ed pieces appear in eldiario.es, Diario de Sevilla, the rest of publications in Grupo Joly and in Canal Sur Radio, the public radio in Andalusia. She also writes for many other poetry, art and philosophy publications and magazines.
Due to her deep interest in the dialogue between poetry and the arts, she has designed scenic poetry shows, written dramatizations and carried out collaboration projects with photographers, painters, musicians and other artists. Toma de tierra, her latest work for the stage is the meeting of texts - written and performed by herself - and contemporary dance, cante jondo and other forms of stylized yell, in collaboration with dancer Raquel López Lobato and cantaor Juan Murube. In a 2015 collaboration with the rock band Pony Bravo, she wrote the dramatization of Alessandro Baricco’s Omero, Iliade, premiered at Itálica’s Roman theatre, Sevilla, in which she played Helen of Troy.
She has held poetry readings, lectures and workshops in festivals and institutions all over Spain and other European countries, such as Portugal, Greece, Italy, France, Ireland, Macedonia or Germany; Latin America, such as Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Puerto Rico; and the Arab world, such as Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, and in Russia.
She has been a coordinator, curator and consultant at several poetry and contemporary art venues, meetings and exhibitions. She has been a jury at both national and international awards. Currently she manages several groups of poetic creation. She lives in Sevilla, doing her thing.
ABOUT HER POETRY…
On Campo de fuerza
“Poems like Igual a cero (I recount hotel nights: / nights of men clawing/ my bedroom door and howling) should not be forgotten when thinking about poems written in that sad Spain of the dawn of the new millennium”””.
Ben Clark, Culturamas
On Vuelo doméstico
“From its very title, Vuelo doméstico displays a concept of the world as an oxymoron uniting the exalted and the homely. Its texts are near-distance as well as high-lyricism travels. But even if someone could, through an etymological leap, come up with a correspondence between the terms domestic and domesticated, there is nothing less meek than the characters and the poetic voice in this book (…). Its pages are a lost-and-found office where reality presents itself as decontextualized items inviting us to rebuild the history of those who no longer own them. Like the shelves in that imaginary office, Vuelo doméstico is inhabited by lips forgotten between sheets, the finger of the mad scientist pointing at the direction of the wind, the all-too-familiar noose hanging from a tree or a plague of typos”.
Erika Martínez, Granada Hoy
“Carmen Camacho elicits a strange poetry from random associations (“El bolso de Jane Bowles”), brings forth poetic shine from mundane coincidences (“Tres Enriques”) and defines with taxonomic intensity the ways and customs of certain endangered species (“Rara avis”, “La posmoderna”). Beyond the defamiliarization effect very often achieved, one of the many virtues of this domestic flight (Vuelo doméstico) is its ability to gobble up any extraliteray speech. The code of advertisement and street graffiti entwine themselves with utmost ease in sequences that hold brevity as their creed, or expand into the imaginative density of versiprose”.
Luis Bagué Quílez, Ex Libris
On Venus track, a performance of poetry in dance with Raquel L. Lobato (Cosmopoética, Córdoba, 2011)
“Carmen and Raquel walk backwards on stage. And then they diverge. The precision of the set of lights combined perfectly with the voice and the bodies. The sound system never malfunctioned. The technical setting was exquisite, an extra achievement in an avant-garde honest show that shines when the lights are off and which point of departure is an engagement with poetry. I don’t know whether I should desecrate poeticizing silence, Carmen declares whilst the heart pumps to the rhythm of the drums and the body is shaken by the ruffle of a dress. Something awakens on the edge of a chair: a comforting feeling. Today is this, followed by the most beautiful gesture of Andalusia: the unfolding of a red fan. (…) It was about time that eroticism came into Sala Orive the way it should: wearing dark t-shirts and trousers, with ordinary clothes, with every day verses”.
Sobre Zona Franca
“In her minimás, Carmen Camacho adopts various means to avoid the dangers of pithiness, of the haughty, heavy or bombastic sentence. The first one is a mindful ear for the nameless findings of “official” street speech: expressive innovations, double entendres extracting literality, or rather wringing it like the neck of the proverbial Verlainesque swan. Then we have humor -irony or sarcasm, the sting of a wasp- and a masterful use of ellipses, of things suggested but never uttered, the invisible underside of things somehow insinuated or revealed but never said. And there is, above all, a professional uncertainty, doubt as a non-Cartesian method of facing reality and its paradoxes from a perspective that is critic and self-critic at the same time. Opposed to those discourses that only substitute certainties for more certainties or submit themselves to the dictum of palliative doctrines, an exposed stance devoid of self-indulgence is needed in order to subvert or question dogma. A ludic, irreverent tone characterizes many of the aphorisms collected in Zona franca, but, in the absence of alternative recipe-books, one feels there is a deep truth written in lower case lying within them”.
Ignacio F. Garmendia, Europa Sur
“Do not be deluded. The apparent -but extremely complex- simplicity in Carmen Camacho’s minimás is the result of a painstaking and pursued exercise of verbal contention, and their expressive capability demonstrates as well that they are the legitimate daughters of the speech and thought of an old and wise people -accustomed to be silent-, as shown by the series entitled “Popular Metaphysics” (Metafísica popular), a whole repertoire of tenets of universal validity”.
José Luis Garrosa, Nayagua
On Fuegos de palabras
“If we add some remarkable doses of intuition, daring, enthusiasm and ingenuity to all that has been said, it becomes easy to understand why reading these pages will expand and nuance our points of view; the same happened to the author through the writing process. A book that does not bring forth such fruit will only live where there was never life: in the coteries of academia. However, this is a living book, it belongs in the streets. It is so alive that it must be heard and read by those who hardly ever hear and only read what will make them thrive and grandstand. This is the reason why this book by Carmen Camacho is an open window, a breath of fresh air that will stoke every fire, the fire inside the words, the hearts and the intelligence of its readers”.
José Carlos Rosales, República de las letras
The poetry of Carmen Camacho is voice and word, both united in a constant dance. Every word in his writing must be said immediately, otherwise the full meaning that emerges from the depth and ends in a flight is not completed. Each of his poems always includes this game of heights, of abyssal depths and stratospheric lightness. Hence, many of its titles: "Force field", "Domestic flight", "Earthing", which continuously describe the duality between the subject and his aura, between matter and the immaterial, between gravity and lightness. And it seems then that what is written and described weighs more than the paper where it is printed, and yet its declamation it is completely detached from its physical quality and acquires the properties of the wind.
Her poetry goes through a range of sensations, all the edges of the idea, with a fickle physicality that is altered in an inversely proportional sense. This is: when the poem is gestated the idea is free and vaporous, it is a slight resentment, a small whisper. Then Carmen binds it firmly to its symbol, she endows it with valence until it becomes matter. Little by little, the idea acquires the weight of the experience that transits in the poem, adding layers of meaning, building a house of connected rooms and nesting in each of the rooms. And yet, in this process of "fortification", its verbal referent, which is what previously had the burden and weight, is fading and rising until both signifier and signified are in the air, levitating above our heads.
Carmen Camacho continuously repeats this process with such a level of efficiency in it that the dynamic has been transformed into a game, into fun, into an experiment. When she recites on a stage, she displays in the air a whole zoo of great ideas magnetized among them, from love to indifference, from illusion to death, from beliefs to detachment. A bestiary of absolutes that Camacho makes descend and rise like soap bubbles, tying them when she wants, releasing them when necessary.
It is not easy in poetry to acquire the ability to enjoy the terms, to change their weight and properties as Camacho does. To do this, she uses two accurate formulas: on the one hand, personal experience, which one would say is what makes everything "landing", the one that sews the word to the skin that embodies it and screams it. It is the personal experience that turns the verb into body, the one that gives it nails and eyes, the one that turns everything in red like her hair. The other one is humour. A humour that unravels what comes, an extraordinary laugh that uncovers the imbricated and resolves the complex. A humour that releases ballast with shovelfuls. A humour that is the passage of time, and acceptance, and pride and understanding. A humour that runs around the concept and frees it, making it graceful, light, ethereal. This is how in her poetry everything ends up naked, without a mask, without lead, without rope or sanity. Everything floats, everything levitates, but we can never forget that what is so weightless is also the solid rock that builds our soil.
FINE PRINT / LETRA PEQUEÑA
Some damages are not covered
by the combined home insurance, I know.
Missing calls, for example.
broken letters, the rope of silk,
the night that lies behind mirrors,
this plague of glass in my chest.
The ablation of my thirst.
That is the way I contracted the soap-bar disease.
That is why I loved him with abject horror.
Against a life on tenterhooks
I became a hole in his hole, cold in the glovebox,
I let the walls of this house grow
with me inside.
Centuries, clock centuries, went by.
I will not elaborate further, madam.
I will only say that I tore the door up,
that I was merciful enough
as to throw the icing sugar
to the mud,
that now light enters my pantry.
The policy does not provide coverage for
love to third parties, solar storm,
street riot or ant mutiny, I know.
But this is a case of finesse majeure.
And I only called to tell you, dear madam,
that I have just granted myself
the fully comprehensive incertitude
of a wide-open life.Translated by Jacinto Pariente
DECOY / RECLAMO
Breast of mine
tiny ivory skinned
the holy heart
that lights up sometimes
in the centre of the night.Translated by Jacinto Pariente
ETHOLOGY / ETOLOGÍA
All the animals
will know how to bawl
come the moment of my flesh
to each its roar
its cawl its neigh
echo of a howling the wolf around the boulders
the braying of the males
at the back of the stable
the beating wing of the bird of prey around the battlements
the bee’s winding buzz
piercing the silence in the meadows
the grazing of the cicada’s belly
over the field
Circle syrinx abdomen estrus
You lost your creatural voice
and your sense of smell
But they don’t forget.
will know how to bawl
come the moment of my fleshTranslated by Jacinto Pariente
We women from this village can only / Las de este pueblo no podemos ser
be this way
identical to the neighbour
every morning I adjust my suit of armour
hit the streets set myself up shout
the explanatory brochure of my strength
in the mailboxes
suckle a printer
press my finger against the cracks
bang on the bars
We women from this village are strong by law
this is no place for sissies
turning sweetness into a craft
is without a doubt a reactionary act
And yet sometimes
we see women who
speak with a warm voice
tremble when they say I love you
walk the streets without mascara
cry without attending the mortuary
They are strangers
very odd girls
How dare they!Translated by Jacinto Pariente
[ Φ ] / [ Φ ]
When I said
two more beers please
two more beers please
I wasn’t dwelling in the realm of the sign
the skin of our hands
or the coins on top of the bar
the skin of our hands
or the coins on top of the bar
magnetic fieldTranslated by Jacinto Pariente
THE BAD POEM / EL MAL POEMA
it is really handy to carry a good old bad poem in one’s bag,
a bad or clearly improvable poem, with enough signs
-commonplaces, trite verse, emergency adverbs-
to be suspicious of it:
a poem, by myself or someone else’s, possibly a bad one.
A calendar poem, prefabricated, auxiliary,
with felted stanzas and no way out,
a heap of shabby words
like women, tree, moons,
memory, sorrowhood, refectory.
A poem looking like a poetry,
a soldier’s letter, a piece of gum sticking on a folder,
an academic verse, the tango of a liberal,
a fake, predictable, out of tune poem
that I only use in solitude
like a piece of sculpted latex.
A one-night text
that will be lost, that will rot, that won’t keep,
a paper poem
to wipe my tears,
my glasses, my scar, semen.
Words of love with no room for love.
or some other
an out of a can poem, a temp poem, a wall poem,
vivacious and fuchsia like every bad poem,
urban and plaintive like every bad poem,
a bad poem like every award-winning poem.
But a convenient poem, a poem of immediate effect,
a folding, an extensible poem
on which I can sit down for a snack on the threshing floor
or shelter from the suddenly pouring cloud.
An ugly, worn out, utilitarian poem,
a nail file, fan, playing card, lighter,
ramp, penknife, banister poem.
to bridle my heart this morning,
to pickle black olives in salt,
to wash my father’s body when he can no longer manage.Translated by Jacinto Pariente
TANKA OF THE MAP / TANKA DEL MAPA
The same star
that lights up the North
brings light to the South
Watching the sky on the puddles
walking to meet youTranslated by Jacinto Pariente
KANSAS CITY, SEVILLA / KANSAS CITY, SEVILLA
Some nights a resdskin inhabits my skin. Crosses the iron bridge. Borrowed shoes with chattering soles. He could easily buy himself any old pair of shoes, become a white man, register with the Social Security System, get a job working as a sad man, sell his Apache graveyard to Isla Mágica. People say about him: “he walks around half barefoot”. Only the shoe shine boys see his dazzling Cuban heel ankle boots.
Two plainclothes break the bow and arrows of Ángel de la Rosa, el Indio de las Tres Mil. Oblivious to the scene, bisons graze on the magnolias in the Jardines de Murillo.
During “America’s Indigenous Peoples Week” held at El Corte Inglés, a tall and blonde mannequin wears the quiet hat of the sad Quechua. And what a price!
The albino Indian is locked in the cage of the Self. When I visit, he asks me to speak to him about The Great Plains. I tell him the little I know. I wipe off the drool from his mouth, change his robe, comb his hair with cologne. He takes my hands between his warm hands and looks into my eyes seeking a way out: “It’s not so bad in the Museum of Anthropology, is it, girl?”.
My old man got a wad of black money stolen. Those dollars were for my dowry. But I will not be sleeping alone nor will the strawman sleep with the fire woman. The shaman woman said.
I am sorry I am late, but I had to select a past before I could be present. I am a Navajo boy. Would you like to dance?Translated by Jacinto Pariente
TO DIE STANDING UP / MORIR DE PIE
abducted beings from an instant of life
of cutting edge clothes
of making the gesture of those who have been
through it all
of dying of our own things
of concealing it
and continuing on our feet
in the never-ending
Sunday afternoonsTranslated by Jacinto Pariente
WILLIAM BURROUGH’S BAD TRIP / EL MAL VIAJE DE WILLIAM BURROUGHS
I doze off for a second,
a terrible vision awakes me:
I am my wife
at the other end of the gun.
Fire.Translated by Jacinto Pariente
DEHABITATIONS / DESHABITACIONES
The bastard time of moving house arrives
Whose is what thing:
books photos socks
whose is each object yours and mine
How to divide up without destroying
the picnic blanket for example
if not unknitting
the warp that the hands
of the clock wove
stitch by stitch
and burying the trembling skein
in some drawer
and finding it maybe
who knows in how many years
taking it in our hands nostalgically
bringing it to our face
smelling it and finally
giving it to the cat.Translated by Jacinto Pariente
I don’t know if I should
that you exquisitely
keep me in
boxTranslated by Jacinto Pariente
ADHAN / ADHAN
I guess someone
has already said
it is the cock’s crow
that cracks the dawn
but it would be nice
-five times a day-
to go up a minaret
and proclaim it once more.Translated by Jacinto Pariente
I fell asleep crying
I dreamt of fishTranslated by Jacinto Pariente
ON FLIGHT (bird poetry) / AL VUELO (poesía pájaro)
I keep a metaphor in my fist. A warm body breathing in my hand:
1. The flying fish wants to live in the crack between the sky and the sea.
2. The finch alights on top of silence.
3. To touch a trace of the vegetal and blind butterfly.
4. Because I know the name of the bird, I see it.
5. To rip out the sharp eye out of an eagle will not cure your shortsightedness.
6. Some days the amputee bird has a flightache.
7. A raven barked and my wisdom teeth came out.
8.The canary dreams that his keeper wins the muteness award.
9. I whisper obscenities at the parrot so as not to sleep so alone.
10. Last spring the blackbird paid a visit. It was black but it was bird.
11. Clarity-chirping birds. Birds that would steal themselves from the tree on the square at sunset. Birds that can only sing at night.
12. The serin picks at a moonlight beam moving about the branches. Moves its head like mad, laughs to itself. Sings.
13. The minute wave of water that the wasp sipped.
14. The song, I mean, the flight.
15. A non-flying bird
keeps his luck.Translated by Jacinto Pariente
EQUAL TO ZERO / IGUAL A CERO
I recount hotel rooms
you uncork the warm little champagne bottle
I recount hotel rooms:
nights on man clawing
at my bedroom door and howling
wishing to enter and lowly crawl
nights of man inside
looking at himself in me with the full moon
of the wardrobe
nights of man and my weariness
looking at the modest flats in front
but not opening the window
Nights without night
without meTranslated by Jacinto Pariente