Carles H.

In the first two months of this year, quite a lot of well-known people in the performing arts died
before their time (or at least before the average Western life expectancy of 80): Black, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, David Bowie... Here in Catalonia, at the tail end of January, we lost Carles Hac Mor, a performance poet (or maybe just poet would do) who never reached nor wished to reach a wide audience, but who will remain very much alive in the memories of all those who read him or saw him read. It would be easy to pigeonhole Carles as avant-garde, but he went way beyond many avant-garde artists, who tend to end up imposing certain limits on themselves. Carles didn't believe in any limits whatsoever. A literary anarchist, he revelled in writing anti-poems and anti-novels which defied all conceivable norms, but would then take things a step further by undercutting his own defiance: 'There's no point in making an institution of everything "Anti"'. On occasion - and they were good occasions - he would write material that was anarchist in the simple political sense. For example, when the current King's sister got married in 1997 (both bride and bridegroom, incidentally, are now up on corruption charges) Carles defied Spanish laws which prohibit criticisms of the monarchy with a 'Nuptial Ode' that included the lines: 'Monarchy, anarchy, anarchy!/Out with the bollocking, bollocking Bourbon!" His own work aside, he and his partner Ester Xargay gave dozens upon dozens of new writers and artists a chance to air their work at live readings and performances, year after year, both in remote villages and industrial towns, in closed venues and on the street, usually with Carles as a naturally droll master of ceremonies. He also kept a close eye on world events, the seeming absurdity of which imbued Carles's work with a cheeky nihilism (a line in his last poem reads: 'There was a time in which everything was as it is now, and so many things happened in the meantime that they gave the impression of nothing ever having happened at all'). But this nihilism sui generis never stopped him coming to the aid of those of us who badly needed a sounding board in the form of a live audience, for our as yet unpublished work. He who loved contradictions, was the personification of a considerable contradiction himself: that of the unrelenting anti-writer who thought nothing of lending a helping hand to so many, many non-anti younger writers, something he did with unquestioning generosity. May he rest in permanent unrest, which is where I suspect he felt most at home.

Matthew Tree, Catalonia Today, març de 2016


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