Sentipensante

JUAN GONZALEZ: I’d like to turn for a moment to your writing style. You defy classification in terms of the kinds of books that you produce. It’s part poetry, part political analysis.

EDUARDO GALEANO: Yes

JUAN GONZALEZ: You don’t follow a long narrative discourse, but you thread together pieces of a tapestry. How did you develop that style? Why did you decide to write in that style?

EDUARDO GALEANO: I never decided. It’s something—I’m written by my books. I mean, they write me, so I never decide anything. Well, I was always looking for a language who could integrate everything that has been culturally divorced from, for instance, heart and mind. So I was looking for a feel-thinking language, sentipensante, “feel-thinking.” It’s a word. I didn’t invent the word. It’s a word I heard years ago in the Colombian coast. A fisherman told me, “Hay gigrere en las palabras sentipensantes,” when I told him I was a writer. “Ah, you’re a writer.” “Yes.” “Oh.” And he asked me if I was using a sentipensante language, a feel-thinking language. And so, he was a master. I mean, I learned a lot from this sentence forever. I am a sentipensante.

I think one of the divorces that has avoided a full integration of human condition is this divorce between our emotions and our ideas. In other divorces, separating journalists, for instance, literary journalists, saying, well, this is an essay. This is a poem. This is a novel. This is an—I don’t know what. And I don’t believe in frontiers. I think that in no—I don’t believe at all in frontiers. And then, how would I practice the alguanas, I would say, the immigration controls between literary journalists? I believe that—

AMY GOODMAN: You don’t believe in borders.

EDUARDO GALEANO: No. I think that when the world—perhaps one day the world, the world, our world, won’t be upside down, and then any newborn human being will be welcome. Saying, “Welcome. Come. Come in. Enter. The entire earth will be your kingdom. Your legs will be your passport, valid forever.” And for me, this is true also for words. I mean, the same thing with words, persons, words. I really believe in the universal dimension of human condition, not globalization, which is the universal dimension of money, but the universal dimension of our human passions.

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