José Javier Aleixandre is the latest winner of the Fernando Rielo International Award for mystical poetry. The prize work is centered on belief in God, the reality of death, and the presence of God in daily life.
Below, Aleixandre discusses the world of mystical poetry, distinguishes it from the religious, and presents it as appropriate language to interrelate spiritual movements.
José Javier Aleixandre Ybargüen, born in 1924, has received some 50 literary awards. He has a licentiate in journalism and is president of the Spanish Association of Authors and Writers (AEAE).
Q: What topics inspired you to write "Not to Die Completely," the work that won the Rielo award?
Aleixandre: The book is divided in three parts. The first and principal part explores, so to speak, the love of God in the Creed, fundamental source of Catholic belief, in the course of 14 chapters.
It is a long poem in which the most important thesis is that I believe in God, that I need God to exist and to believe in him, if I don't want to die completely when I die.
The last part, also long but not as long as the first, is a eucharistic poem in which God calls me incessantly, but I resist until finally I am drawn by the irresistible magnet of his love.
The central part brings together, instead, 13 poems in consonant rhyme -- two sonnets and 11 heptasyllable 10-line stanzas -- that study God's daily presence in the usual moments of life and in relation to the loved ones around me.
But above all, as the prologue of the book, a [...] poem also justifies my enormous need to come close to God, because as it begins by saying, "no matter how much time I have, I do not have much time left, Lord."