On First Looking into Chapman's Homer
BY JOHN KEATS
Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific—and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
What book has had an impact on you comparable to Homer´s impact on Keats?
Reading and analyzing John Keats´s poem was an important part of the process. Then, I deeply thought about the books I have read in my life. I have chosen “Kane and Abel” by Jeffrey Archer. That book has had an impact on me comparable to Homer´s impact on Keats. I have read the book twice, the first time I was a teenager and the version was in Spanish. It was really amazing. Being so young, the book has opened my eyes. it helped me to understand, to be more curious, to want more. Not only did I learn about other people´s lives but I also learnt geography and economy. The second time I read it was like a reassurance, like a deep breath. It was 10 years later and the version was in English. It was a review of the book and of the things that happened to me. I gave the book another meaning, perhaps more complete. (Probably, if I read it every decade, it will be a different book each time).
Specific topics caught my attention: First, the story about two brothers being so different and so similar at the same time. Second, the way to face human life, from birth to death. Third, ambition, which is shown to the reader as different shades of an apparent bright color. Since then, I started to believe that basically, there are two kinds of people: One who looks for opportunities. Other, who waits for things to happen. No matter which one we are in, we always need perseverance.
I felt inspired to create... I intended to convey in a poem the nature and meaning of the book´s impact. The reason I have chosen the shape of a poem and not a short story is because of the strong feelings that the book produced on me: I could only express them in a poem. I have tried to use words related to books and play with them regarding disposition. The structure of the poem itself and the movement I gave to certain stanzas has to do with the meaning I wanted to transmit.
What was challenging for me was to put together my “impact”, taking into account “John Keats´s impact” and at the same time feel the poem as an artistic creation. For the author, there is always a challenge in the artistic creation. The ones who will read or see the product: It may be the reader; it may be the critic or the need to be understood. In my opinion, artistic creation should be free of fears or worrying about who or how is going to interpret it/to be interpreted. But there is an inner critic inside the artist and the balance between them has to be reflected in the artistic creation.
Looking at the index
of my own biography,
I have found pages
with nothing to hide.
Following a canon
did not know which one
simply following it
did not where
I have been smelling,
until one day
I have not been reading
I have not been reading
An archer shot an arrow
at the target of my age.
My life made a twist
in the less
I discovered a tool
that gave sense
to my entire history.
The language of literature
was in me
waiting to be clicked.
The arrow left behind
to give another shot.
When there was no need
of reading again
the same biting chapter,
a highlighted character
invited me there
for just one more time…
To navigate through seas of words
To open a door
I always wanted to open.
A desert island.
A tempting dessert.
A door I will never close.