El Gran Criminal

Txuspo Poyo
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Following the format of television documentaries, Txuspo Poyo drafts a portrait of Dionisio Cañas in New York based on the multimedia performance of his poetic recital "El Gran Criminal". The video comprises an interview in black and white, made more dynamic by the images of the performance, a knife stuck in a wall, on which images are projected (which are then reflected on the blade of the knife), and fragments of ads that illustrate Cañas’s words.

Three different narrative lines are interwoven: the stage performance, the interview and the media imagery. Over a soundtrack of chart music, Poyo presents the confessional disrobing of a poet in the context of the city he lives in at the moment, New York, where his words, concepts and icons find confirmation. The specific reasons of the poet open up the distance in his metaphors through references coming from his country of origin, Spain.

Dionisio Cañas was born in Tomelloso (Ciudad Real) and part of the artistic activism group Estrujenbank. He lives in New York since the end of 1972, where he has published widely and carried out numerous poetic actions. In this video we witness a performative recital, done in 1998, based on his poetry book "El Gran Criminal" (Ave del Paraíso, Madrid, 1997).

In the interview Dionisio Cañas reveals his poetic intimacy to us. As he dissects the poems in "El Gran Criminal", he describes life as a sour comedy, the book for him being something like a firmament of characters where each star has its personal trajectory and meaning. One of these personal meanings is that of not considering oneself a non-delinquent, since everyone is at an intimate level a delinquent towards his closest ones. The space of each of the characters is developed in the rhythm of the poem. If the city of New York is fast and asyncopated, the land of La Mancha, Cañas’s birthplace, is a grandiose landscape. In the interview he defines himself as a a gregarious loner who hides behind the obvious with a clear language. He is romantic without quite meaning to be, and, fascinated by nomadism, the exchange of bodies and by lorry drivers, he creates his own personal bestiary with the swan (the temptation of easy aestheticism), the pig (the emotional sensitivity of filth) and the wolf (constantly looking and fighting for his own space). Yet, he ends up identifying the poet with the wolf hunter (the medieval nomad) and the great criminal.


Technical datasheet

  • Title: El Gran Criminal
  • Direction: Txuspo Poyo
  • Production: Txuspo Poyo, New York. 1999.
  • Duration: 00:22:49
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Original format: U-Matic
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Creative Commons