When reading a poet, we try to identify the voice in the poem, a feature we assume to be the poet's mark of authenticity. But we are unwilling to grant poets the right to fable, a right novelists and playwrights uphold as their own: the right to express themselves by means of multiple personalities. If a poet carries out such practice, we dismember his or her psychical integrity in search of the syndromes that may explain such unhealthy dissociations. Yet, without a doubt, Cervantes was not Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, nor the celebrated country girl of humble birth, Dulcinea. These personalities, or characters, were part of the daydream of one so-called Miguel.
To displace oneself through a diversity of voices is inherent to the flow of one's being. A shifting multiplicity of imaginary selves, we should emphasize, is not a Postmodern epiphany. Buddha, founder of multiple paths, proclaimed it an essential key of his psychological religion: do not seek out a Being within you, there is an infinite number of beings. Our era's technological supra-nature allows even the least imaginative to participate in the illusionism of that multiplicity of beings by means of television, video,
holograms, and virtual reality. As individuals, we are akin to receptive channels, fragmentary confluences of what we temporarily love, covet, or disdainfully discard.
Poetry is a linguistic and symbolic mediation of feelings, intuitions, and ideas. The subject, the created personality we perceive, or believe that we perceive, when reading a traditional poem, is a scrupulous projection of the poet's ego. That projection involves fabulation (fabrication)—partial or total—of a poetic being. Every poet, every writer, either bases himself on, or breaks away from, literary and linguistic conventions. By using them or rejecting them, in other words, by tracing the shadow of such conventions, a poet constructs his or her voice.
Following Unamuno's and Pessoa's example, I prefer to call my tri-dimensional characters poetic beings or heteronyms. They are as real, if not more so, than Nicomedes. My conscious schizophrenia emerges from a key metaphor: the imaginary forgetting of my self to become others. That metaphor is amnesia. In 1568, Abelardo Nuñez de Arce proclaimed the cogency of amnesia to the vision and structure of poetry, titling his writings “Letters to amnesia”: texts whose borders overflow a particular writing and become webbed into infinite signs. Logically, those messages cannot have an answer; their presence itself must suffice. I do not believe my poetic beings are conscious of being projections of my self: these beings are surer of their voices than I am of mine.
[ see also ]
Seven Poems of César Marañón translated by Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz
Abelardo Núñez de Arce's "Letter to Amnesia #2,046" translated by Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz