Mario Castelán (Pánuco, 1978) answers the phone from a hotel in Comala, a town at the foot of the Colima volcano, whose beauty contrasts with the desolate version of Juan Rulfo. The Saltillo poet of Veracruz origin traveled to that place to seek a bit of silence, solitude and isolation that fosters new approaches to writing.
However, he relates, during the second day of his stay he received an email from the General Directorate of Culture of Torreón. The message recited good news: Castelán had been the winner of the Enriqueta Ochoa 2021 National Poetry Contest.
“I received him as if he were a very happy child. That was the first thing I felt. I did not expect”.
The poet was awarded the prize thanks to his book Punto en medio de uncircle, which under the pseudonym Tiresias competed along with other 90 proposals from 25 states of the country.
“The first poem I read by Enriqueta Ochoa was The Return of Elektra and it shocked me, it impressed me a lot.”
Mario Castelán considers that he does not have a defined search in poetry. You are not sure if you are actually looking for something. Although a walk around the Colima volcano has allowed him to integrate the poem with the poems he has already written.
“I integrate them already after a long time. In this case, the book (Point in the middle of a circle) came to life when other poets read it and when they determine that it has this honor of taking the award, for me it takes on a different dimension. Then I read it again and it is as if I wrote for my future self, that at some point he will understand a little more or integrate those verses. More than a search, I hope that poetry will find me and continue to surprise me like a child ”.
The title of the winning collection of poems refers to the fact that, unconsciously, the poet wanted to position himself in the middle of a circle. The first poems sprouted in 2017, other sections appeared later. Castelán shares that, at some point in his life, he was wandering around a periphery and the first poems are his own recognition of how he was in that place.
“I approach poetry as I would approach a volcano, with a lot of distance and I probably won’t be able to climb […] My approach to poetry would be at a distance so that I could be seen by it, nor I think I can see it to get closer as a precious object or something that is within my reach. I don’t feel that poetry is within my reach in this sense, I think I go around it and I hope that it sees me ”.
Mario Castelán will receive an economic stimulus of one hundred thousand pesos. The jury for the award was made up of Nadia Contreras, Óscar López and Ibán de León.