Jaime Jaramillo Escobar wrote naked, something that may seem like a metaphor, but it is not. This poet, born in 1932 and known for his allergy to figuration, his shyness, his mustache, his large teeth and the first numbers of his ID (X-504), wrote his poems without clothes. A story that circulates and will continue to do so among those who read poetry or not, added to many others about his life. But the really important thing, what needs to be said, is that he was one of the great poets of the Spanish language in the second half of the 20th century, just like that, bare and bare information, as truths should be told.
Jaramillo Escobar died yesterday, Friday, in Medellin, the city where he had lived for decades and where he had taught a workshop since 1985 that was already a myth, like himself. Every week he met at the Pilot Public Library with poetry enthusiasts to talk about an art that he managed like few other people in a country that, as we know, has many poets per square kilometer. But we also know that writing verses is not the same as writing great poetry, like the one he did. You just have to read it to find out its greatness: “The lover looks for his love even there where he knows it is not, / as the adventurer looks for his treasure even there where it is not found, / and just as man looks for God in everywhere and anywhere without ever finding it.
“The poet is not the one who writes, but the one who has the revelation”, he wrote in his book Easy and fast method to be a poet, a kind of manual that is also a book of poetry in which he left his poetic art in very brief chapters that talk about "Vocation", "When to read poetry" or "Formation of style", among many other issues. This book shows the job of publicist that he exercised during his youth, after leaving Pueblorrico -the town where he was born-, studying in Betulia, Andes, passing through Bolombolo, Anzá, Cali, Barranquilla and ending up in Medellín. As he explained on several occasions, he knew very well that advertising was a kind of sister to poetry, for something very simple: it always appeals to the emotions of those who receive it.
In some of his last interviews he said that current poetry lacked feeling, and without it, there is no poetry. Perhaps it is an exaggeration, a publicity effect to which he was accustomed and loved, but there is something true about it. One of the interpretations of these words possibly has to do with the type of poetry that he practiced, in which the poet is the voice of a community or a people, an idea that distances himself from much poetry today, more intimate and personal. . He was from the dynasty of Job, Whitman, Rimbaud, Christensen or Parra, poets of the totality, who sought to translate the nearby world to make it universal and permanent through a plural voice.