The final touches in the web of Basque culture

by time news

2023-12-07 17:56:13

Tuesday, December 5, 2023 | Updated 12/07/2023 4:56 p.m.


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During these days, the Durango Fair will be the place to expand the universe of Basque and Basque culture. From the 6th to the 10th of December, the 58th edition will take another step in the leap from being a mere outlet for books, records and other products and the latest novelties – if you can say so – to becoming a reference space that should be positioned much further.

With the years of the pandemic now completely behind us, the Fair has new challenges ahead and, although they are not few, the organization has clear lines of work: to be close to the sector to respond to the needs and to make the days useful for those on either side of the counters; in order to guarantee the future, create your own so that the new generation feels part of it and offers it every day, preferably together with them, and through the sites, understand the culture in the broadest terms, inviting Basque-speaking people to immerse themselves in the universe. We cannot forget the digitization that touches everything, the influence they have on the consumption habits of languages ​​and the situation Basque is experiencing today, closely linked to the latter.

Each year a slogan is chosen with specific images and colors and always has a message. This year, ‘Fantasia DA!’, is clear: it wants to reflect that the Fair is a web, a unique universe to discover new creators, discover the works of those we know or explore creative works from different disciplines.

Of course, it is impossible to collect everything that has been presented in one year in one text. As Beñat Gaztelurrutia said, even the novelties of Durango do not include everything. Thus, readers will find those about music on the next two pages and after the program those about comics and illustrated albums. And those listed below are not all. Forgive those who were left out.

The poetry of lists

“Is there a list that isn’t poetic?” asked Harkaitz Cano at the presentation of the book ‘Ulu izkei volondres bila’ (Susa). In 2023, the harvest left by the poets has been rich and, drawing on Cano’s question and affirmation, the list that makes up the poetry books will be ‘poetic’.

There are those created looking back, to the past. Castillo Suarez has turned to his childhood memories in his book of poems ‘Alaska’, inspired by the abandoned hotel of the same name located in Etzegarat, which was “a little Las Vegas” for them, starting from the narrative of the girl who collects the pieces of her house and daydreams. The latter, on the other hand, is the poetry of loss and grief, more violent than usual and far removed from the “idyllic perspective”. The same theme, embodied in a farm, will be raised by Oskar Gazteluk to the reader of ‘Farm (h)uz(s)ten’ (Erein), looking back and inward in front of the current pace of life. The path, on the other hand, has not been so easy and direct, as the difficulty of finding the words, as happens to children, was talked about during the presentation.

Iñaki Irazu went a little further, to the war of 1936, in his work ‘Barking Dogs’ (Susa), a call to dive into a “kind of collective memory”. Form and tone prevail throughout the 20 texts, taking the reader from the first line to the last. XXI In the exercise of returning to the 20th century, what better than the collection of World Poetry Poems. As usual, Susa has brought two great poets to the Basque language, in this case the anthologies of Bertolt Brecht and Mario Benedetti by the translators Irati Majuelo and Inma Errea, seeing the “importance and resonance” of their creators. “Although they are different, they fully grasped the socio-political context in their work, with a tendency towards flat and simple writing”, they pointed out. It was not the only translation, as Alain Lopez de Lacall translated ‘Spoon River’, the main work of the American poet Edgar Lee Master, “the starting point of American poetry”, for White Whale. It was a great success, but also a great controversy because the Puritan society of the time attributed to it “the use of free verse, prosaism, banality and obsession with sexual matters”.

Mainly novels

Like every year, most of the 689 books that will be presented will be novels. Many special names will be present this year with their latest work both to sign fan issues and to present content through talks; there will not be a few who will put more than one work on the counters and we will also find those who will have a book for the first time after presenting other products at the Fair, as well as those who will play a double role: editor-writer or singer-writer.

The counters will not lack, however, stories or essays. Elkar’s three stand out from the first harvest: Uxue Alberdi has seasoned ‘Ellarrico kilkerra’ with the audios of those around him during the pandemic; Esti Martinez reflects “the atmosphere behind that door we didn’t have to open” in the series “Domestic Animals” and Olatz Mitxelena writes from the wounds “A fish bone in the throat” in order to emphasize that “reality is also hard and there is also pain”.

Even children and young people

We cannot forget the works aimed at children and young people, although there are many works that adults also enjoy. Diversity and identity have been the focus of Irati Goikoetxea when writing ‘Nor’ (1545 publishing house), which was classified as a collective work in several presentations. It will reflect the experiences of five teenagers, just as Garazi Kamio’s ‘Bikini’ (Elkar) deals with bullying in the third person. The fact that he received the Mikel Zarate award is enough to give him a chance. This need for empathy is also the focus of Miren Gorrotxategi’s book ‘Golden Scissors’ (Elkar), the second work featuring Lima.

Finally, Olaia Irigoienen’s ‘Inesa Gaxen’ will be aimed at children among many others. The story of a brave witch’, a story to explain “who the witches really were” and to spread their “true history”; Written by Izaro Artoita and illustrated by Joseba Larratxe, ‘Lina plasticine (Elkar), the adventures of the protagonist girl who has become plasticine; or Jabier Muguruza’s ‘Jajatxo’, which narrates the experiences of a boy with a bad memory, can be mentioned.

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