José Pozo: “I have not yet found what is called my own voice”

José Pozo Madrid is the winner of the 2022 José Antonio Torres Poetry Prize at the Fiesta de las Letras with “Fuera de madre (esdrújulas cocktail)”. It is the second time that he has won the prestigious award from the Fiesta de las Letras, a contest in which he has also won the Ángel López Martínez Local Award three times. The poet has won several important awards such as the XXVIII Gerardo Diego Poetry Prize from the Diputación de Soria with the collection of poems “Extravagante” or the XLIX National Poetry Prize from Reinosa with “Sesión funambulista”.

The journalist meets the writer five years later. The previous time was on the occasion of the Local Poetry Prize and we had a coffee. This time we share an aperitif and, as always, a delicious chat. Pozo has changed little in this five years, he is still just as shy, modest and elusive and it is still hard for him to talk about him. Yet he demonstrates his great humanity and his passion for poetry and for people.

We met at the Posada de los Portales and together we admired the great collective exhibition “Arte. Word and life” that adorns the first floor of the emblematic building with works by artists from Tomellos. Under a blazing sun we headed to a recurring bar. We opted to go inside, there is no one on the street.

—Five years later we meet again and it seems like a century has passed, how everything has changed, right?

-The truth is that if. Many things have happened in this time. Mostly bad… The worst thing is that we are five years older. The present, regardless of whether it is better or worse, if we commit ourselves we can improve it, but the passage of time is irreversible.

—With the situations so traumatic that we have suffered in this time it seemed that we were going to learn to be better people and it is not happening, don’t you think?

—I don’t think it’s fair to generalize, I guess there are people who have been taught things by these unlucky years, especially those who have had a worse time. I am sure that many of these situations will make them look at the world and life in a different way.

—Has your poetry changed in this five years?

—I wouldn’t know how to tell you… I don’t think I have a defined style; I have not yet found what is called the “own voice”. I’m still on the road and the truth is that I feel comfortable in this search. What I do believe is that no poem is too similar to the previous one. If someone who had entertained himself in reading my work would not recognize me by the style. At least I don’t recognize myself.

“At least he’ll feel like a poet…

—No, I don’t feel like a poet. When I listen to or read the poets I admire, they almost always address topics of interest with a depth that moves me, and this is not the case for me. I see myself more as a real impostor in this, a fraud, go. What I really feel through and through is a milling turner. That’s my job. I do recognize myself there.


—The title of the poems with which he has won the José Antonio Torres Prize, “Fuera de madre”, goes a bit there, doesn’t it?

—Talk a little about the catastrophe that seems to be upon us. It’s kind of a futuristic timeline of what shouldn’t happen. Although in the end it seems that there is some hope in the last poem.

—How many poems make up the series you have presented?

—There are five of them and I have called them “Out of the woods (esdrújulas cocktail)” because the title of each of them is an esdrújula word. However, I don’t like to explain the poems, I think the reader should do that after reading them.


– Are you still excited when they call you to tell you that you have won a prize?

“Very much, of course. And more so in a contest like this, in your town and with such an exceptional jury. In addition, it is an award, the José Antonio Torres, to which I know that many authors from all over the national geography are presented

—Have you won more prizes in this time?

—I have won some modest award, for a single poem. I have presented a book that I have written, including Eladio Cabañero, where I was a finalist. And I will continue to present myself for any award that seems interesting to me and involves publication, although I understand that high-level authors are presented for these awards and it is difficult to stand out.


– Do you have a lot of written work?

“Well, for two books at the most.” I write very little, I revise and correct a lot… I envy someone who says that he writes half a book in one night. I give a lot of thought to everything I write, maybe too much. I hope that what I do is not to spoil it more.

You still don’t move at all in the literary circles…

—It’s true… But don’t think they call me a lot either, I don’t need to cancel the meetings. Anyway, it has a lot to do with my way of being, I have an introverted character. It is a defect that, at this age, I am not determined to overcome, but it makes me very angry because you lose contact with people and everything that you can enrich with the experience.


—For many artists, confinement has served to create more work, given the recollection and introspection. It has also been used for many ordinary people to expose their feelings through the networks, what do you think of that circumstance?

—Could be, many times tragedy is a source of inspiration. In my opinion, the news of recent months, or even years, has been too inspiring. In my case, the drama has not had an effect, I continue to write little in spite of everything. I must be a bit lazy.