4 January 2012
(Translated by Alex Kurtagic)
In 1938 you published an anthology titled, El Verdadero Cuento en Chile [The True Short Story in Chile], where Juan Emar was published for the first time and where, in addition, you developed in the preface a very curious theme—I am referring to the impact the Andean mountain range has on Chileans.
It was because by then we were already getting together to dream about the mountain giants that were inside the mountain, because this had been a country inhabited by giants. The mountain is sacred. Back then the mountain could be seen at all hours. It was a marvel. The view of the Andean Mountain Range that Santiago enjoys is not enjoyed in any other part of Chile. Only in Austria have I seen something similar. It was for something that Pedro de Valdivia chose this city as a mysterious centre. I know that in the mountain there are beings who dwell there, who come out, who contemplate, who are, who look at us. The idea of the Antología del Verdadero Cuento en Chile came to me because our people wrote short stories, especially Barreto; with it I wanted to leave a testimony to our generation. I included Juan Emar because his short stories were truly extraordinary, something unique in the world. Vicente Huidobro never forgave me for not including him. That anthology has a history. I did not have a penny to publish it. I can’t remember how it came out. The anthology was published and it was a public scandal. Alone spoke on the radio and said that it was like a football team with eleven writers.
Talk to me about your experiences in the Himalayas and of those alleged subterranean cities that you assure us exist.
There exists a legend in which cities are built inside the Himalayas in order to protect against future catastrophes. But there is another interpretation, in which the subterranean cities existed from before. The earth is hollow and has different entrances, in different places. Entrances existed in the Poles. In the South Pole and in the North Pole, and also in some mountains, and that is what I sought in the Himlayas; the entrances to the inner world. As one approaches the Pole, the temperature is higher and not lower and there is pollen, often on the icebergs, which are made out of fresh water. It was to Admiral Byrd that strange things happened. On his journey by the Pole he encountered a totally different world: prehistorical animals, rivers, and tropical vegetation. Admiral Byrd, it seems, was assassinated, for he was saying things that they did not want to be revealed. When he launched that military operation towards the Polar regions, in Antarctica (the Weddell Sea, Queen Maud Land), where the Germans of the Third Reich mounted expeditions and found warm water oases and, in addition, underground corridors thousands of years old. What it’s said is that from 1938 they started to supply that Antarctic base. Admiral Byrd’s expedition went from 1946 to 1947, after the war, with aeroplanes and it’s believed that even with an atomic bomb that he dropped and exploded in mid air, causing many people to be lost. It would be the one responsible for the hole in the ozone layer.
You were friends with Hermann Hesse, with Carl Gustav Jung, with Ezra Pound, among other notable personages for the 20th century. Tell us about your experiences with them.
In Chile we came to know Hermann Hesse when he was, except in Germany, unknown in the world. We read him shortly after the end of the Second Great War, when he had yet to be awarded the Nobel Prize. With time Hesse would come to be used politically, fortunately for him after his death, coming to be a literary boom, promoted at will. I lived Hermann Hesse’s magic work to the extreme of wanting to travel to Europe so as to meet him personally. That adventure is related by me in my book, C. G. Jung and Hermann Hesse: A Record of Two Friendships, and I will not repeat it here. So many things! So many memories! With him I talked about everything, even about death. One day I asked him: ‘Is there something beyond death?’ He replied: ‘To die is like going to Jung’s Collective Unconscious, in order to, from there, return to the forms, to the forms’. I have to think: what connected us, perhaps a past reincarnation? There is no way to explain that mystery. We were separated by age, geographic distance, history: everything and nothing.
Much the same took place with Professor Carl Gustav Jung, to the extreme that that universal monument, that giant, gave me— me, a young writer, lost in the world, from a distant and unknown country—a preface for my book The Visits of the Queen of Sheba. And that was the only time, in his long life, that that extraordinary genius wrote a preface for a purely literary work, for a prose poem, as is my book. And here I would like t0 reflect on a matter that has something to do with our fatherland, with Chile. No one in this country has been capable of valuing this extraordinary fact, nor rejoice, nor take pride. I, a Chilean, recognised by the most important man in the world of intellect and of thought in the 20th century, and perhaps of many centuries more, was prefaced and admired by that being. It is envy, cowardice, that in Chile, my own fatherland, prevents the official, intellectual, and literary world from accepting and recognising those facts. In contrast, C. G. Jung’s most important biographer, Gerard Wehr, wrote in his book that ‘towards the end of his days, Professor Jung did not receive visitors, nor his disciples, nor many members of his family, except a young Chilean writer, for whom he prefaced a book and with whom he conversed about things that he had never previously revealed.’
With regards to my deep friendship with Ezra Pound, it also had to do with our thinking the same way. Fortunately I was not interned in an insane asylum like him and the other marvellous Norwegian writer and Nobel Prize winner, Knut Hamsun. And Ezra Pound is the greatest poet of the 20th century and will be of the 21st century. I am happy in his company, and I need nothing nor anybody else.
The only monument that in the world was erected in honour of Ezra Pound was launched and inaugurated by myself in Spain, in the peaks of the city of Medinaceli.
What is your present life?
My life oscillates between Santiago and Valparaiso and I keep looking at Huelén Hill like my ancestors, until I too find the ‘secret entrances’ to Plato’s inner world, to the ‘Other Earth’. Or until I too am taken away by a Flying Saucer, a UFO, a Vimana.