Interview with Claudia Berrueto

Could you reflect on your relationship to the telephone, in the past or in the present, and say something about how this might have informed your poem?

Let’s say I am comfortable with the relationship I have with phones today, but I love the relationship I had with old rotary phones in their time. For me old rotary phones are an emblem of both difficulty and beauty because my parents restricted their use for my brothers and me with a padlock. Not long ago I stole two from the garbage in the streets of my city and they have a very important place in my home. While writing ‘animales de la distancia’ I always thought of the rotary phone.

How did you go about producing the work for this project? Were there any materials, anecdotal, literary or otherwise, that proved generative for you?

The other thought that helped to generate the poem that I wrote for this wonderful project concerned love. I try to use language to capture the needs of the text in the best dimension and to be as loyal to this love as possible through words. 

How much was the recording of the poem, and the format(s) through which the poem will be reproduced (i.e. a public phone booth and mobile app), a consideration in the composition?

When I wrote this poem, I thought about the possibility of making a declaration of love publicly through a device that we use every day.

Do you have any thoughts on how the project might have affected the way that you think about the relationship between poetry and telephony, or between writing and technology more broadly?

A poem must communicate in depth and form. The idea that someone stops in a telephone booth to listen to a poem from an unknown person is an extraordinary act. 

Are there any other reflections you can make about the process of producing the poem, or your participation in the project?

I am very grateful to this project. It is very exciting to be part of it because it is a commitment to beauty. It has really made me reflect on the quality of our communication and what we expect from it.

May 2020