Speaking in whispers but without an iota of having lost his «poetic voice», the winner of the 2020 Cervantes Prize, Francisco Brines, has celebrated this Tuesday the award in l’Elca, the private paradise of a poet who has narrated love and death with extreme intensity and who conceives his work “always thinking of the readers who will come to it.”
«I think the important thing is that poetry belongs to those who read it. So you are condemned to read it », he joked before politicians, friends and journalists. He has done it from the balcony of the house where he lived his childhood, in which he wrote his first book six decades ago and to which he returned to grow old.
On the left, the sea. To the right, the mountains. In between, orange trees and a farm turned into a sanctuary of letters – it treasures one of the most important private libraries in Spain with around 30,000 volumes, most of them first editions – about which he has written so much, sometimes without even naming it.
In fact, the work of the first Valencian poet who is awarded the highest award in Spanish literature it would not be understood without his native olive, who has celebrated the victory as his own, with the conviction that justice has been done with his most illustrious citizen.
«The publication of poetry is always risky»He has said, but with Cervantes he has the satisfaction of having made “a diverse song” and the assurance that “it has reached the people” like the verses of Berceo, César Manrique or Ausiàs March, whom he “would like” to approach.
As soon as he received the call from the Minister of Culture to inform him of the ruling, he thought of his family, orange merchants, and how they embraced the unknown: «Mothers often shelter the extravagances of their children. That he accepted what I was doing, which was poetry, indicated that he was right.
Brines does not yet know if he will be able to travel to Alcalá de Henares on April 23 to receive the award, because his health “is what it is.” “I am not a whitewater swimmer, I am just a poet who feels”, He has responded, although the people around him believe that it will. A title that was also received by great friends of his such as Vicente Aleixandre, Claudio Rodríguez and Carlos Bagño.
While that moment arrives, the poet finishes his new book of lyrical prose, of which he did not want to reveal more than the title: Where death dies.
This «child of war», as the generation of 50 is known, has celebrated his «achievement» at the age of 88 by toasting with a glass of wine for a legacy that will be maintained through the foundation that bears his name and that he seeks to turn his house into a study center when he is gone. Trust that, by then, that voice that is now barely heard keep exciting those who read your work, as one of his verses says, “as if nothing had happened.”