Football is a sport of passion. Its like an octopus with tentacles extended in everything from politics to sex, the ruler of all sports on this planet. The beautiful game inspires many things and in this case poetry. A few local and New York based writers, poets and perverts have come together to give us Soccer Poetry for the masses. I give you Abel Folgar and Yago S. Cura and their Hinchas de Poesia. (Fans of Poetry)
Why Hinchas de Poesia?
Abel : Hinchas de Poesia is an online literary/arts journal begun by Yago S. Cura in 2009 and edited by himself out of New York City and J. David Gonzalez in Miami. Their aim is to bring to the current fold modern American writers and artists utilizing a broad interpretation of the Americas, from the farthest floe claimed by Canada to the last human post of the Patagonia.
Yago: Abel couldn’t have stated it better. The impetus for the bringing together of the Americas came from Jose Martí and his essay, Nuestra America (1891). In it he says something like there hasn’t been invented the prow which can tackle the clouds of ideas (“No hay proa que taje una nube de ideas”). We wanted Hinchas to be a mongrel enterprise, so that is what we emphasized. But, then Abel came up with the slogan, rabid fans of poetry for casual fans of life, and that also made a lot of sense and sounded much cooler than what I came up with.
Who is involved in this devious scheme?
Abel: the editors are Yago S. Cura and J. David Gonzalez.
Yago: We are all Florida International University. blue-table refugees. Back then, the tables had no die-cast sunbrellas so we would not go to class, sit out there, and work on our champion tans. We are all Miami boys deep down inside; I myself am a Souswesero (Slang for South West Miami) Hammocks Jr., Sunset Sr., F.I.U., and then I jetted. And all three of us have had experiences with the stellar F.I.U. Creative Writing program, especially a professor there, Campbell McGrath.
Why Football (Soccer) related poems?
Abel: Yago’s been a dear old friend from my college days at FIU and aside from common written interests, fútbol is something we’ve both enjoyed our whole lives. Especially when I get to chide him about the Argentine side and their respective club dramas. Maradona’s been excellent cannon fodder for many years. And that’s fine because he’ll give me grief over Venezuela never making a Cup (yet) although my first word was “gol” which I can credit to TV-sitting at a very early age much to my mother’s dismay.
Yago: Because my pops is a Boca Juniors fan, I grew up trying to distance myself from the beautiful game. But, it was always in my family. My cousin Mike went on full scholarship to play goalie for DePaul. And my Tio Pinino and Pops are like two walking Almanacs of soccer. I mean my Pops started going to la Bombonera when he was like eight, and Pinino’s been a homicidal River Plate for ages.
How many poems, what other subjects?
Abel: I guess we both tackle many subjects in our writing, to me poetry’s always been closely related to the world of photography, where a particular incident or moment is captured and interpreted artistically. Personally I challenge myself to write about certain things while still writing about events, both biographical and not, that occur at the moment.
Yago: Abel, doesn’t know it yet but he is going to help me move these zines like hotcakes. Think of us as the Luke Skywalker’s of zine manufacture. We gonna be selling these things out our trunks when the World Cup rolls around. I don’t think either of us know how many poems this will ultimately comprise. We just want to keep the impetus we got going writing odes to fútbolistas. And, if we can sell a couple of zines whilst doing that then it means the American Dream is still intact (Yes, that’s right, the American Dream is on the line here folks, so Abel and I can touch the sky!).
Was this a ploy devised to get you laid?
Abel: Some people pick up guitars or go to law school. I chose to write poems. In retrospect, I should’ve picked up a guitar and gone to law school to help out in that department.
Yago: I am married to a ravenous Panda which has advised me to answer this question with a N/A. However, chicks dig fútbolistas its common knowledge.
What Football (Soccer ) teams or leagues do you follow?
Abel: I’m an avid follower of the sport but I seem to gravitate towards classic matches and players. There’s something about the myth of the sport that lends itself well to poetry. I enjoy writing these odes to big names of the sport because I can have fun with the factual material, for example, in my ode “Ode to Roger Milla, the Comedian” I use the factual goal he scored against Rene “El Loco” Higuita’s keep in the ’94 Cup, which was a phenomenal piece of being in the right place at the right time that ended in disaster (for Colombia) humorously juxtaposed with the idea that maybe Milla told jokes to the entire Argentine side to distract the Albicelestes to defeat in the opening match of Italy ’90. I usually follow Ajax, Inter and Manchester United, and solely to piss off my Peruvian friends I check out their season and root for whichever last place team is there. Same for my Argentine friends, nothing gets a party going like saying Racing’s gonna go all the way.
Yago: My heart is celeste and white, but I will always big up any player on any team that deserves respect. I like Barça because to not like Barça is not necessary. Watching them is like watching those Super Bowl commercials in the 80’s when the Pepsi machine fought the Coke machine for dominance of the soft drink kingdom. For better or worse, Barça is slick and their shit don’t stink. So whiff it in, haters! All seriousness aside, I really like watching Messi play is the real reason I like Barça. My Pops loves Manchester City because Carlos Tevez plays for them. I like a lot of the Argentine club teams (of course) because I know the most about them. However, I am not crazy about Boca, but they have had all sorts of legends rep them. In fact, the majority of the players I have written odes to have played for Boca. I guess that’s saying a lot, and maybe it’s just a coincidence. I moderate a soccer league at the Harlem YMCA and I got to say, most of the African teams are amazing to watch. Even if they don’t have the resources, they muster through because the beautiful game is eminent and that’s just enviable!
A message to all the boys and girls out there?
Abel: Hinchas de Poesia encourages submissions to the site www.hinchasdepoesia.com and Yago’s blog, http://spicaresque.blogspot.com/ is a good read. The journal has an actual tactile publishing entity, Hinchas Press, that publishes limited edition zines/chapbooks. Of interest to you and your readership would be our chapbook collaboration, BESTIAS INBERBES (Beardless Beasts) , which is a collection of ten odes to fútbolistas, five each and the forthcoming collaboration IL CAPOANNONIERE, also a collabo of ten odes. These are available locally at Books & Books in Coral Gables, from myself and from the website for a measly five dollars US. Thank you and I’d like to see more fans at the Miami FC games.
Yago: Yes, you can either purchase a zine over the Internet, through our website. We have a paypal account set up. Or, you can send me a check or money order (made out to Yago S. Cura) for five bucks to the Invincible Court, 112 W 138th St. #5D, NYC, NY 10030. And, we are always looking to collaborate with other writers, so if you have some odes of your own then please get in touch with us. And if you are ever in New York City on a Wednesday night, from 7-9, or a Sunday afternoon, 12-2, then please come down to Adam Clayton Powell and 135th (2/3 to 135th) and scrimmage with the Harlem YMCA Indoor Soccer League. It is $12, but it’s worth it.