You can live without family

by María Medrano

Activism, poetry, family, music…

In my life, there are two big paths that never separate themselves from each other: cultural and social activism, and poetry.

From these topics, I build my whole world. I’m part of an artistic and social collective that allows me (partially) to reach both things, but they collide sometimes in between what’s public and private.

At Yonofui collective, I take into practice a social militancy. We work at women prisons, we articulate ourselves with other social associations and State Departments to work out some changes in the policies. For example, in house arrests, universal children payments for parents, access to work places, health…

The point is: to create new political and cultural senses.

At prison, I coordinate three workshops: two of poetry and one about written mail literature. We generate loads of art projects (, we publish books, records and fanzines. In a month we will be having for the third time a poetry festival in a prison, around 20 poets will be there, and musicians, and lots of people that will experience a poetry day in Ezeiza’s 31st Unit.

Besides that, the space where we work is a recovered space, a neighbourhood assembly, created in 2001 (hard crisis times) and now confronted with city’s authorities, which are planning to get rid of all those community cultural spaces. I participate actively also here as part of that collective who founded Bonpland Cultural Space, in order to save it, to save them.

With such an activity, sometimes the silent writing action gets complicated, and I have to swim between closing ceremonies, urgent needs, never-ending journeys to prisons, in order to find and create those pleasant moments that writing is able to give.

Maybe because of that, my poetry is undermined with such conflicts, with such realities that are part of my ordinary life. Even thinking of what’s more important to me, if militancy or poetry, makes me nervous, I could not choose. For me, they belong together, not because I think that it HAS to be that way: I don’t really think, artist is obliged to commit to social causes or what so ever. That happens to me, it has to do with my personal history, with my choices.

I also enjoy doing poetry and art projects, that how Voy a Salir y si me Hiere un Rayo was born: a little poetry publishing house and distributor with an idea, more visibility and circulation for independent editorial productions. Nowadays we’re about to publish a collection of poetical badges together with some friends, who own a portable printing press, very old and beautiful. This project makes me want to scream of happiness, fulfills me with energy just the bare possibility, in such hard times, of creating these projects, these self-concious artistic spaces.

Yes, you can live without a family, but definitely not without music!

Without love neither.

María Medrano

Translation: Ralph del Valle

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