Antonio Martorell. Oda a la lagartija: poema de Pablo Neruda; grabados de Antonio Martorell [Ode to the Lizard: Poem by Pablo Neruda; Prints by Antonio Martorell (Campo Rico de Canovanas, Puerto Rico: Antonio Martorell, 1974). Limited edition: 150 copies.
Oda a la Lagartija [Ode to the Lizard] is part of Nuevas Odas Elementales [New Elemental Odes] by Chilean poet and 1971 Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda. In these poems Neruda writes about everyday, common things and issues; he sings to socks and numbers, to time and tomatoes, to the dictionary and the artichoke. Neruda himself said, referring to these pieces: "My poetry became clear and happy when it branched off towards humbler subjects and things."1 Antonio Martorell has captured this elemental quality that is inherent to the poems. He recreates the chant to the lizard, this little, humble animal that Neruda describes as in a constant state of transformation, fused with nature. At some point, the poet wonders if lizards come from another planet. The woodcuts, like the poetry by which they have been inspired, give much importance to empty space, to the rhythm created by letters or lines (words or images), and to the composition of forms on the surface of the page.
Antonio Eligio Fernández (Tonel)
1. Quoted from Margaret Sayers Peden's "Translator's Introduction" in Selected Odes of Pablo Neruda (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990).