Sep 27th, 2017, 02:07 PM

Talks of Time With a Peruvian Poet

By Fernanda Sapiña Pérez
Image credits: Camila Craig
This AUP student is making us all feel Vértigo.

Vertigo
noun
1: a sensation of motion in which the individual or the individual's surroundings seem to whirl dizzily
2: a dizzy confused state of mind

Poetry is considered to be good for the soul, for broken hearts, or for the lonely. Camila Craig is a Brazilian born Peruvian poet and AUP student who will provide us with the cure for all our ailments. At 19 years old, she has published her own poetry anthology: "Hablemos del Tiempo" which translates to "Let's Talk About Time," and it is divided into two segments: "Vertigo I" and "Volatilidad II" (Volatility II). Craig is also a photographer who captivates her audience with her words as much as she does with her photographs.



Image Credit: Stephanie Alexis Rusell

She is one of the youngest poets in Peru to ever publish a poetic anthology; the poems awaken a dormant hunger in the reader that can only be quenched with turning the page. Her visuals are like portals that transport you as you read it, deeper into the depths of the phrases and words dancing upon the page before your eyes. Poetry and photography are in perfect symbiosis, as we take a journey with the poet through adventure, joy, heartbreak and most importantly of all, love. 

"You never let anyone love you
you hide
between the bread crumbs
you have for breakfast
covering
your defense mechanisms
your knowledge
about sentimental martial arts"
Extract from "Se validan sentimientos" (Validating Feelings)

Craig plays around with our understanding of conventional poetry due to the haphazard form that her poems are in; the structure is bent, words skip around, but most importantly of all there is not one comma to be found. The commas are replaced by gaps that the poet creates in order to allow us to sigh. Craig truly does talk to us about time, but not the time that us the readers know; she speaks about her time through her images, her words; she is telling us her own story. Beauty is expressed throughout the entirety of the anthology with a contrast between urban and rural, nature and concrete as well as faces both young and old. 

Volatile
a: characterized by or subject to rapid or unexpected change.
b: unable to hold the attention fixed because of an inherent lightness or fickleness of disposition.

With this anthology, it is as if Craig is writing a love letter to life itself; she expertly understands and evokes the fragility of life between the pages of her poems, with a masterful tact and a fire that only a Latina poet could provide to words. Remaining close to her roots, the entirety of her book is in Spanish, which provides an incredible contrast between the way that the poems can be interpreted. As a Spanish and an English speaker, I remain in awe at both the similarities and differences that can be found in translation. Nevertheless, the poems remain exquisite in both languages.


Image Credit: Camila Craig

The poet also approaches love in an unconventional way; nonetheless, she represents it in its purest form: raw and carnal but also platonic and melancholic. This tenderness towards the emotion is seen in both her sense of wanderlust but also in her more intimate poems. She awakens an inner adventurer in us, one seeking out not only destinations but experiences of the heart. Love for a city is expertly penned in a platonic and nostalgia-filled diction as she navigates what forms it can take, but so is the human condition as she ventures into the uncharted waters of longing and the abyss of the heart.

"Your love hurts me so much
That I want to bite you
And make you bleed
Bleed
and bleed
Mark you
Until your poor spilled heart has no other option
But to love me forever"
-Extract from "Consumación de una fogata en invierno" (Consummation of a Bonfire During Wintertime)

Her valiance and brilliance are more than blatantly evident throughout the entirety of the text. She offers a simply refreshing perspective on vanguardist 21st-century female poet with her mixed medium, her perspective and her understanding of human fragility. The entirety of the anthology is an intimate and personal affair as if the poet had allowed us into her mind in order to explore her views of the world. Craig is a pioneer and an inspiration for all of us Latinx and female Latin artists as well. This anthology reaches further than poetry, it becomes a first aid kit for those in pain or for those who are seeking to understand life just a little bit better, in all its magnificent vibrancy. Alas, it is a memoir for all of us hopeless romantics out there who still believe in love, freedom, truth, and beauty. 

You can find information, more art, buy a copy of the book or simply chat with the artist on her Facebook page, Vértigo and keep your eyes and ears open because an event with readings by the poet herself will be coming to AUP at a date to be announced.