22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Sergio Raimondi

Portrait Sergio Raimondi
© Hartwig Klappert

Sergio Raimondi, born in 1968 in Bahía Blanca, Argentina, is a writer and lecturer in contemporary literature at the Universidad Nacional del Sur. After completing his studies in literature he worked for the Museo del Puerto in the harbourside location of Ingeniero White, a museum dedicated to the changing everyday reality of the local inhabitants. He was a member of the Mateístas group of poets, which disseminated its own poems and those of others by painting them on the walls of Bahía Blanca between 1985 and 1994. He has been head of cultural affairs in Bahía Blanca since 2011.

Sergio Raimondi is among the innovators of Argentinean poetry. His volume of verse »Poesía Civil« (2001; tr: Civil Poetry) occupies a central position within the country’s contemporary poetry. And in the centre of Raimondi’s own poems is Bahía Blanca and the neighbouring harbour of Ingeniero White, one of Argentina’s primary sea ports and site of one of the country’s major petrochemical complexes. Raimondi’s work is characterised by a dialogue with economic, political, social and cultural realities which shape the region and the country. »Poesia Civil« is based on extensive research; in long verses you will find statistics, extracts from legislation and regulations among the condensed analysis of complex socio-historical contexts. His poems revolve around industrial complexes, railway companies, grain exports and port facilities; his linguistic register is distinguished by economic, mercantile and technical terms. This volume of verse investigates the historic origins of contemporary conditions which are accepted as a given, such as the orientation of the local economy towards the capitalistic production processes of world markets. But Raimondi also engages literature itself in dialogue: here John Keats is as much a reference point as Bertolt Brecht, and regarding literature as a whole he says: »We have to investigate literature thoroughly, not / by means of the criticism it has created, which means: / stretching the verse in view of the gun barrel, / and evaluating it not with the pencil, but, for example, / the knife.« In 2012’s »Para un diccionario crítico de la lengua« (tr: Towards a Critical Dictionary), each poem corresponds to a dictionary entry. In comments on terms such as »bulk carrier« and »spark plug« he examines complex global economic connections and production processes. Along with the close links between nature and culture the poet is also particularly interested in the traces of production, manufacturing processes, as well as the literary work itself.

Sergio Raimondi was a Fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation in 2007. He lives in Bahía Blanca.