Dionisio Cañas

Dionisio Cañas (Tomelloso, Ciudad Real, 1949 - ) has offered two main contributions to the interpretation of Claudio Rodríguez’s poetry. Firstly, in 1985 he deals with the work of three poets (Claudio Rodríguez, Francisco Brines and José Ángel Valente) in his essay Poetry and Perception. Cañas bases his study on the theories of Merleau-Ponty, i.e. on the philosopher’s phenomenological conception of the process of knowing. According to this, there are not simply immutable facts upon which to decide what an object is like; instead, an interaction is produced between the outer world and the individual capacity of perception though the gaze. This leads to a connection between both acts: perceiving and knowing. By seeing, the individual assimilates the consciousness of seeing into his experience: “Perception becomes thus the thought of perceiving”. This way, a relationship between subject and object is established, based on the apprehension of the world from a subjectivity that does not leave out irrational, psychological and even magical components, according to Merleau-Ponty.

When he applies this suggestive possibility to Claudio Rodríguez, Dionisio Cañas speaks about a “dawning gaze” of intuitive quality at the beginning; of a moral-contemplative one later and, finally, thoughtful-contemplative. In any case, when the poet casts his gaze upon the world (upon the instant things, suggests Cañas, which force him to “abide by the event”), he is also looking at his own poetry, at the necessary and peculiar mode of expression that, for Claudio Rodríguez, adopts the form of a song before the world objects, duly illuminated; hence, Claudio Rodríguez is following Rimbaud’s wake towards a “metaphysics of the specific”, in Merleau-Ponty’s words.

The second substantial contribution by Dionisio Cañas, apart from occasional critical reviews, is his book Claudio Rodríguez (1988), published in the mythical collection “The Poets” by Júcar. This is a volume with a strong biographical weight in which the reader can detect the special closeness that joined Cañas to Claudio Rodríguez. Leaving the academic tone of the previous essay out, this book has a vital, almost conversational impulse that enables us to approach Claudio and learn about biographical particulars related to his background and poetic thought, all of it narrated in the fluid, adequate style of Cañas.