Samantha San Romé was born in Chivilcoy, Buenos Aires province in 1989
As proof that tenderness and ferocity can coexist, the poems by Argentine writer Samantha San Romé, published by Editorial Sudestada under the title Un lugar en el mundo, open the box of childhood and adolescence memories to find there verses that explain love, death, sexist violence and guilt, transforming poetry, as the author points out, into a “seam between memories and uchronies”.
San Romé was born in Chivilcoy, Buenos Aires province in 1989, a city where he co-manages the Chivilcoy Book Festival (FLICH). She also has a degree in Communication Sciences from the UBA, teaches and coordinates poetry workshops.
In this interview, he tells that his link with poetic writing was established in childhood. “The first territory of poetry is childhood. As also childhood is the first territory of love. The way you look at the world for the first time. The way you trust the world in childhood. The first poem talks about that, about a girl holding that sheep’s hair is made with wool and not the other way around. It’s all about the effort to go back to that first time she looked at herself and believed in something. And then, poetry can be that seam between memories and uchronies”, considers the author.
San Romé wrote obsessively at that time in private diaries, letters, songs. His parents also wrote but among so many words he clearly remembers a verse by the Spanish poet Pedro Salinas that his father read to him: “Now I know that the trees have their faithful birds because the branches do not bind: they offer”, he said.
“A place in the world” (Sudestada), by Samantha San Romé
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“We were talking about jealousy and I was very young. It was when poetry became the place of epiphany, of the revelation of certain sacred truths that you only access through there”, says San Romé.
Among his references, there is the Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik (she wears this one on her skin, with a tattooed verse of the poem “I ask for silence”) and the Americans Mary Oliver and Sharon Olds. The music of Fito Páez, Spinetta, Charly García and Indio Solari also influenced her poetic journey, which finds her with four published books Green Tuesday (2018), Permanente (2016), Ojalá el tiempo no fuera un prison (2017), Everything that happens to us (2017) and The sky of ex-boyfriends (2020).
Her latest book Un lugar en el mundo has, among its multiple themes, that of the family “as a territory and as an identity,” says the author. “The family as an origin, as the ancestral, as that place that somehow determines what one can count. It does not determine it as a destination, but as the territory that draws the experience itself on which to write. The living matter that we have in our hands to make art. That’s where the title comes from”, the writer specifies.
What is inherited and what is our own? What events constitute us? What are the pains we know made of? These were some of the questions that haunted San Romé at the time of writing the book. “I also wanted to narrate some violent events experienced by the women in my family and other women in my life: beatings, abuse, silence, suffering. And there appears another poetic territory that is that of poetry as a place to do justice ”, he adds.
“When you are not writing you are living, and living is the key seasoning of writing”
On this occasion, her interest in gender issues and the need for justice expanded. “Many of the poems in Un lugar en el mundo I wrote before Green Tuesday but even before that there was Ni una menos and, in my case, going through the University that completely transformed me. I think that in the book there are those marks of these years of feminist ardor and that excites me”, reflects the author.
Other poems have two sisters as protagonists and the scene of a childhood observed from the perspective of an adult. “In writing, memories are reconstructed not as they were lived but as they are remembered in the present. In that sense, they can continue to happen or be discovered, taken out of the dust”, observes San Romé and assures: “Writing what I know the most is what matters to me. I’m not interested in writing about anything else.”
And in that writing from the closest individual experience, San Romé dedicates the collection of poems to his daughter Gaia. How do motherhood and poetry come together, in terms of the craft of writing and in terms of the sensations that the writer captures in her texts? She “she Says ‘for Gaia’ as if it were a gift when she doesn’t know if what she writes for her children is a gift or a burden. But she makes me emotional this question. During pregnancy I could not write. It was a time of brutal silence. But silence is change and information, ”she replies.
“I am super anxious, however, I did not worry because I was sure that the writing would appear when my daughter was born, and with her, all my new selves. Furthermore, when you are not writing you are living and living is the key condiment without which there would be no possible subsequent writing. And I began to write with a different sensibility, another music, with other interests, other searches, to illuminate other corners”, says the writer.
“The first territory of poetry is childhood. As also childhood is the first territory of love. The way you look at the world for the first time”
Motherhood also implied writing with interruptions and, as she explains, “finding freedom in the lack of time” such as naps, in urgency, in those “five minutes I steal in the bathroom before taking a shower,” she details.
“Many times I feel that, for now, I only care about writing about her. And the guilt appears, how strange, because it is the first time that I question myself. With a daughter you wonder if you’re being selfish or if I should ask her if you can write about her, even though she still doesn’t know how to answer. If, as I said before, I am carrying a backpack for her or if she will ever discover the strength with which I loved her, ”she tells of her current writing territory that she has already left her mark on A place in the world .
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