Book Review for The Uplands: The Book of the Courel:

Subterranean Blue Poetry

Volume VII Issue X


Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: The Uplands: The Book of the Courel (an excerpt)

Author: Uxio Novoneyra

Translator: Erin Mouré

Publisher: above/ground press

Date of Publication: 2018

Pages: 30

"Can you hear the drums Fernando
I remember long ago another starry night like this . . ."
- Fernando by ABBA

The Uplands: The Book of the Courel (an excerpt) is an iconic poetic work by the Spanish Poet Uxio Novoneyra, writing in the beginning of the post-modernist era, this Chapbook is like a slice of a very large cake, with an introduction by Anton Lopo, translated by Erin Mouré and published by above/ground press. Uxio Novoneyra (renowned Galician Poet, writer of children's stories, journalist) studied literature and philosophy, and worked in TV and radio in Madrid. In the introduction Anton Lopo writes of the Poet's years from 1952 to 1961 when he was struck with pleurisy (a painful disease of the lungs) and is living in the Courel Mountains of Galicia with the poet Maria Marino. He may have been largely bound to his bed. During this time he wrote The Uplands: The Book of the Courel which was published in 1955 by Galaxia, the story of how the mechanical print pages were torn apart for corrections by Novoneyra until the publisher, Pineiro, put his foot down so the book could be published. The introduction introduces the Poet and his life and times, giving context to the excerpt.

Novoneyra in his introduction to The Uplands: The Book of the Courel writes: "the possibility of ephiphany and that first promise of the bird of night: to make songs not yet sung in the forest" heralds the beauty of what is to come. This work is a celebration of landscape of the mountains of Galicia, it is as if the poem is in constant motion, the poet, the alone traveller, walking or riding a horse through the trails, the vineyards, conjuring the mountains and sky, the forests and creatures of the land, impaired by his sour lungs, compelled to write from his bed, in a state of longing. The poet's deep connection to the land is a celebration of place, every word considered, every word a deep integral of the Poet's relationship to the landscape, a prayer. In the poetry is the idea of silence, a grand silence, perhaps born of time alone, a man alone within landscape before God.

This work is a genre of Imagism and influenced by the Beat Poets of the time. A repetition of place names creates a beat within the panorama. This poetry is spare and doesn't rhyme, except accidentally. The Uplands: The Book of the Courel is a mastery of the written language, a Zen of poetic execution. This Writer wonders how the original Spanish would sound against the ear.

A fantastical history and presentation of the renowned Spanish Poet Uxio Novoneyra, The Uplands: The Book of the Courel (an excerpt) makes its debut in English form, brought to life by Erin Mouré and Anton Lopo, a brilliant write.

Available at above/ground press.

Subterranean Blue Poetry

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