- Eunice Odio
The Hidden Presence
The Fire’s Journey
Volume 2: The Creation of Myself
By Eunice Odio
Translated by Keith Ekiss with Sonia P. Ticas and Mauicio Espinoza
A review by Christopher Bernard
There is a compulsive uneasiness to being a poet in the contemporary world. He (or she) has little place in a society that only respects makers of goods or providers of services that can “turn a profit.”
But poetry has little place in a market economy; neither the work itself nor any way of presenting it can make enough money to provide a poet with even a modest living, let alone anything like a fortune for himself or his publisher. And, as we all know by now, if your creativity can’t leverage you, at the very least, a few million in investments, with a hundred mill in loans, for the transparency of a billion in mid-term prospect (a modest enough ambition in the world of globalized twenty-first century capitalism), what real value does it have?
Because to be a poet in the modern world means knowingly and deliberately to choose a life of almost indecent poverty, or at best a tight little corner in the dwindling middle class doing something that does not deprive the poet of the time, energy and emotional and intellectual freedom to make the poetry that gives his life meaning. Poets keep the wolf from the door by doing something—anything—else.
In even the recent past, the respectable poverty of the poet was mitigated by respect, even fame: the poet was the voice of his people, of their hopes, loves, defeats, victories, during the great period of nationalism of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The poet wrote his people’s love songs, laments, elegies, odes, satires, lampoons, manifestoes, gibes. People loved and admired their poets; they quoted favorite poems to themselves for pleasure and consolation. They found in poems the words they could not find for themselves.