Talking Poetry

With Monste Fillol Ferrin

The first friend we made when we came here to live on Lanzarote seven years ago was the island´s arts scene. Through that we made friends with people like Larry Yaskiel and his good lady Liz, and with yoga facilitator and poet Mercedes Minguela, and the Spanish ladies from Coro De Yaiza. More recently we have met photographer Adriyana Hodge, visual artist Claudie and have introduced all these friends to our readers of these pages on Lanzarote Information. As recently as last week we made friends with a poet called Montse Fillol Ferrin. So, come follow your art, taking sidetracks and detours across the sea to another Canary Island where poetry carries echoes of love

We had met at The Lanzarote Poetry Festival in November. We had exchanged only a few words as she told me she had enjoyed my reading of one of my poems. Suddenly, in a rush of words, we had agreed to ask the organiser if we could deliver it again as an English-Spanish version so that the Spanish audience might understand what this old English guy had been talking about, with his ´can you hear me Major Tom?´ echoes of David Bowie. The organiser, the tireless Mercedes Mingeule, gave her permission.

So, I and the lady who´s name I didn´t yet know returned to the stage, still whispering a performance routineto each other as we reached the microphone.

I´ll read a verse in English,….

Yeh, then I´ll read a verse in Spanish.

That sounded like a plan, Stan, so off we went, Doing The Spacewalk.

After that performance, we stepped back into the crowd, and my wife helped us exchange cards and contact details and I went one way and Montse the other, and I don´t suppose either of us really thought we would have occasion to stay in touch.

However I was intrigued, because among the papers we had swapped with each other she had included two or three beautiful poems of her own. I also found out from her address that this poet lived not on Lanzarote but on Gran Canaria,

I felt certain she must be a poet with a story to tell so I sent over, via e mail, my five friends, Mr. Who, Mr. When, Mr What, Mr, Where and Mr Why.

That didn´t give me the right to receive any answers of course, and so on sending the e mail I pretty much put it out of my mind. But caming straight back at me with a first class stamp was an e mail the following morning.

It read

Hello good morning Norman. Thank you very much for your interest in my poetry. And of course count on me for any collaboration. I’ve been taking a look at your blog. Very interesting. But I have to sit calmly. Thanks to Dee, also for her warmth and I thank both of you for including me in the translation. I will put you in touch with an English friend who writes poetry. Greetings,….so to answer your questions,…..

WHO is Montse Filliol? 

I am a journalist and poet, born in Manresa, raised in Venezuela and living in Gran Canaria since 1993. I have worked as a journalist in Caracas, in the defunct Diario de Caracas, in Barcelona I have collaborated with the EFE agency and with technical magazines, and in Gran Canaria, I worked in La Gaceta and La Provincia, in the latter as a correspondent for the municipalities of the Southeast of Gran Canaria, covering local information. Since 2001 I work in the Public Administration in the area of Security and Emergencies, training in crisis care, and presenting several communications on security issues at the Gutiérrez Mellado Institute in Madrid.

Poetry has been a constant in my life, and I have won several awards. One of them the second prize of the Tomás Morales prize, with Guerrero en Llamas, another second prize of Love Letters in Fuenlabrada and the second prize of the Floral Games of Santa María de Guía. I have published another collection of poems entitled La Playa. And I have created from a group of Women Poets, with whom I have occasionally organized, poetic recitals to make visible elements of historical heritage that are precarious as the tree of responso.

WHO is Monste the poet and writer?   

My poetry is bathed by three seas, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The culture, people and music of the cities of Barcelona, Caracas and Las Palmas are a source of inspiration for my poems. Poetry as a language, universal of peace and coexistence, which in turn is the best bridge to tolerance and coexistence. My work as a journalist has allowed me to contact people and environments of all kinds, contributing to create another parallel river, that of dreaming.

WHEN did you start writing poetry?  

Since always, with more or less assiduity. Poetry always accompanies me everywhere. It is a way of dialoguing with the world, of feeling alive. Poetry allows me to fulfill what the oracle of Delphi preaches, know yourself. Poetry allows me to exercise reverie, to recreate imaginary landscapes, in which to speak from an ethic of the human.

WHAT are you trying to achieve with a poem?  

A poem is a way of sighing. To feel a minimum part of the beauty, of the contradictory human condition, always staying on that philosophical edge, on that threshold, where the poem is an atom of all its essence.  The poem always opens a door or a window, which we only look at, to sigh.

WHAT allows poetry to speak to us?   

The excitement. 

WHERE else have you read your work in public?  

In Gran Canaria.  

WHERE does your poetry take you emotionally?   

To sigh on the edge of the cliff of the world.

Poetry is the echo of love, therefore, it seeks a language of peace, of tolerance. Behind the great poets there is an ethic that helps us to be above violence, war, discrimination or hatred. Poetry is a way of traveling through the territory of querencia, of recreating its hidden values of tolerance and dialogue, poetry, is what we sometimes think and do not dare to say because we can seem very naïve in a world of complex discourses, which shy away from simplicity.