Lembah Elqui / Valle de Elqui / Elqui Valley

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Ian Campbell


The three versions of Ian Campbell’s poem about Valle de Elqui (in Chile) presented here comprise a poem he first wrote in Spanish, then in English and finally in a more powerful version in Indonesian, which was published in 2012 in the literary pages of the Jakarta mass media daily Kompas. Campbell regards this whole process as emblematic of his explorations in trilingual poetics, namely what does a ‘concept’/poem idea look like if done in the three languages with which he has some degree of written knowledge or fluency: English, Spanish, Indonesian. This mirrors the ‘three-pronged’ title ‘Selatan-Sur-South’ that he adopted for the collection of his poetry in PORTAL vol. 5, no. 1, 2008. The Indonesian version, ‘Lembah Elqui, ‘was included in Campbell’s poetry and prose collection Tak ada Peringatan (Vivid Publishing, 2013). In each version now the reference is to Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957), Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature (1945), whose burial place lies in Monte Grande in the Valle de Elqui in northern Chile. 

Article Details

Cultural Works: Transitions and Dislocations
Author Biography

Ian Campbell, Department of International Studies, Macquarie University

Ian Campbell, an Honorary Research Associate, Department of International Studies, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia, did his postgraduate research in Indonesian literature and published Contemporary Indonesian Language Poetry from West Java: National Literature, Regional Manifestations (2008) and many journal essays, including in Australia, Indonesia, Germany and the United States.

He writes poetry in Indonesian with publications in Indonesian mass media/literary journals in Jakarta and West Java (2002-2012). An e-collection of his Indonesian language poems appeared as Selatan-Sur-South in PORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, Vol 5, No 1 (2008). A chapbook of his collected Indonesian language poetry, Tak ada Peringatan (‘No Warning’), was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Australian Arts in Asia Awards sponsored by a previous Australian Government in 2013.

His current research interests include the literary/cultural afterlife of Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda (1904-1973). Since 2008 he has also started to write poems in Spanish. (The current segment in PORTAL is the first publication of any of these short poems in Spanish).