Elena Medel / The State of Poetry in Spain

Added on by Jessie Aufiery.

Elena Medel (all images courtesy of Gesi Schilling) 

Elena Medel (all images courtesy of Gesi Schilling) 

This Thursday April 17, poet Elena Medel spoke to an intimate gathering about the current state of poetry in Spain. She presented a thorough overview of many of the small Spanish presses now publishing poetry, entering into the particularities of what kind of work each typically looks for. 

During the Q&A, audience members wanted to know why Spanish schools tend to limit teachings of poetry to the classics, eschewing discussion of more contemporary authors; Medel shook her head and smiled, agreeing that area leaves room for improvement. 

After watching a PowerPoint that included photos and videos taken during poetry readings in Spain, many of which were shown to take place outdoors, and in bars, and often with the accompaniment of a guitar, someone said: “Poetry readings in the US rarely include music. Is that common in Spain?” 

Medel nodded in the affirmative. “Music draws more people in,” she said. “When more people come to readings, books sell better. A book that might have sold 800 copies may now sell 1000.” Either way, if those numbers are accurate—classics in the classroom or no—it’s clear that poetry in Spain is alive and well.