"Riddell’s great strength is his positive view of human existence."
- Capital Times

Ron Riddell

A selection of publications by Ron Riddell are now available for purchase on the site.

It Takes Two To Tango PDF Print E-mail

The first New Zealand writer to participate in a major literary festival in Latin America was the late Alan Brunton in 2000, when he attended the Tenth International Poetry Festival of Medellin in Colombia. "I felt like a rock star when I walked out on the stage of Cerro Nutibara for the opening ceremony reading of the Medellin Festival in 2000", he told me over a coffee in Wellington in late 2001, (only months prior to his death in 2002). There were approximately ten thousand people in the audience that day in June 2000. Later, over the ten-day period of the festival a total of some 140,000 people attended the other festival events. Since that time a number of other New Zealand poets have attended the Medellin Festival including Te Kupu, Katarina Kawana, Michael Harlow, C.K. Stead, James Norcliffe, while David Howard and Sue Wootton have attended the Granada Festival in Nicaragua and Doc Drumheller has attended the Havana Festival in Cuba (and subsequently published a selection of poems by young Cuban poets in his New Zealand literary magazine, Catalyst). There is a profound appreciation of poetry and literature generally in Latin America. This is reflected in many ways – for example, in the numerous literary festivals and book fairs held throughout the subcontinent. In Colombia alone there are more than a dozen such festivals every year, many of them open to international participants. Then there are the one-off conferences such as the P.E.N. International World Congress in Bogotá, the Colombian Capital, which New Zealand P.E.N. delegate Nelson Wattie attended in 2008. There is a large Spanish-speaking population in Latin America (as of 2010, estimated at more than 590 million). If New Zealand is to register more as a literary culture in this part of the world, it must have a greater presence by way of translated works. I have had eight bi-lingual (English/Spanish) collections of verse published in the Hispanic world; from Spain to Central and South America.

Ron Riddell with Ernesto Cardenale

Ron Riddell with Ernesto Cardenale, Nicaraguan
poet, priest and former arts minister in the Sandinista
government, International Poetry Festival of Costa
Rica, May 2006.

The Language of Poetry PDF Print E-mail

The Language of Poetry

What is poetry? What is the language of poetry? What is its essence, its living heart or pulse and how can we locate or connect with it? These are often asked questions and over the millennia many answers have been suggested. It is fair to say that there is no one definitive answer not is it my intention herein to provide one. Rather, it is my hope that some of these ideas will provide further insight and inspiration through the study, craft and pursuit of poetry.

Poetry above all else, is a special language, a special way of saying, both physical and metaphysical in its register; its content, frame of reference and applications. It is a spiritual language that lives in the world much like the language of music and it best modes of expression possesses a lasting resonance, which outlives by far the moment of its creation or performance.


El milagro de Medellín y otros poemas PDF Print E-mail
Medellín, la ciudad mítica de Ron Riddell, poeta neozelandés (por Raúl Henao)

Your browser may not support display of this image.¿Es Medellín una ciudad mítica a la par -pero a diferente escala- que París? Roger Caillois, ese autor inquietante y siempre indefinible (André Breton lo calificaría sucesivamente de "literato de viejo cuño", "brújula mental", "espíritu lúcido y audaz") al que los latinoamericanos debemos la traducción francesa de Jorge Luis Borges y una espléndida Antología del Cuento Fantástico (Editorial Suramericana. Buenos Aires, 1969). Nos señala al respecto que un espacio urbano reviste dicha connotación sólo si consigue conjurar los poderes de la memoria y la imaginación a su favor, configurándose como resistente o irreductible al paso inexorable del tiempo. En lo que a "París, Mito Moderno" se refiere, Caillois enumera los valiosos aportes que en tal sentido le hicieron algunos de los grandes poetas y novelistas del siglo XIX, como Lautréamont, Baudelaire, Hugo o Balzac, al igual que los autores más notorios del folletín y la novela negra y policíaca.

¿Puede decirse otro tanto de Medellín, ciudad del interior de Colombia, fundada el 2 de noviembre de 1675 en dos poblados diferentes al sur y al norte de un valle interandino, que desde sus orígenes mismos ha sido tema o motivo de evocación e inspiración - y simultáneamente, de desaire y desamor - para muchos escritores colombianos entre los que se encuentran los más grandes como Tomás Carrasquilla, Fernando González, Porfirio Barba Jacob o León de Greiff?

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