Antonio Gamoneda chooses his words with care. Just as when writing a poem, when replying to interview questions he weighs his words carefully. With 17 poetry collections and several other works behind him, Gamoneda is considered one of modern Spanish poetry's foremost talents. Having already received the European Prize for Literature 2006, he has now been awarded the prestigious Cervantes Prize for 2006. .
"Satisfaction", Antonio Gamoneda describes his feelings about the reward. "But I am aware that my poetry is still the same as it was before I received the prize", he adds with a smile.
The Cervantes Prize is awarded every year to a Spanish‑speaking author in recognition of their lifetime achievements, and is the most prestigious literature prize in Spain. But Gamoneda's words are read well beyond the world's Hispanic community - last year he was awarded the European Prize for Literature in recognition of his central place on the European literary stage.
Gamoneda is rooted in European culture and describes himself as European. Born in 1931, he has followed the growth of the EU over the last 50 years. He explains that while this kind of social evolution might have a certain impact on literature, if this applies to him in any way, it has not been a conscious thing. For him, the greater influence has been the development of his own country since joining the EU.
"Spain has always had problems with tension between nationalist groups. The situation has become less problematic since the country became a part of the European Union. The EU has helped create a certain unity in Spain. My hope for the future of Europe is to see European people become even more unified."
What place does poetry have in the evolution of a united Europe?
Gamaneda takes a few seconds to answer. "Poetry is not a reflection of objective reality in Europe. But it creates hope in peoples' consciences. In some cases it can even make people change their ways."
Extract from Descripción de la mentira, 1977
De la verdad no ha quedado más que una fetidez de notarios,
una liendre lasciva, lágrimas, orinales
y la liturgia de la traición
¿Qué lugar es éste, qué lugar es éste?