SHARIF EL GAMMAL ORTÍZ, UPR Departamento de Inglés
Sharif El Gammal-Ortiz is a poet and translator from Carolina, Puerto Rico. A Columbia University MFA in poetry and translation, he is a doctoral student in Caribbean Literature at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus, where is research interests include Sufism, Rastafarianism, and the poetry of Kamau Brathwaite. His poetry has been featured in The Acentos Review, Entasis Journal, SAND Journal, The Atlas Review, among others. His book and film reviews have too been showcased in MoKo Magazine, The Caribbean Writer, Caribbean Studies, Sargasso, and Callaloo. He lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico with his mother and two dachshunds.
The short abstract for “Pneumatological Testaments: Pariag and Aldrick, Two Practitioners of Natural Writing,” best sums up when compared to another paper in the year I was presenting: Dr. Joshua Irizarry’s paper on Transcendental Japanese Funeral Objects when, and to take a page out of Donald S. Lopez, Buddha idols aren’t “idols of the Buddha,” but when monks in peace and in prayer approach the idol BECOME the Buddha himself. That’s what I was attempting with my paper when I suggested that Pariag becomes the coin he coughs over to Fisheye every time they meet, or the cigarette he kindly gives Aldrick when the latter is too involved with his Carnival dragon suit (i.e., his worldly little ego) and gives not a conscious thought to the needs of the other. Perhaps using Derrida and Benítez-Rojo had their advantages, but nowhere near the clarity Dr. Irizarry showed in his presentation. It’s all about learning something new.