La trova antioqueña y la polémica oralidad-escritura


La relación entre lo oral y lo escrito ha sido una constante en la historia de la
cultura occidental y puede rastrearse desde la época de los griegos hasta nuestros
días, cobró fuerza a partir de la aparición de la imprenta; se acentuó en el siglo XIX
en Europa, cuando la literatura del viejo mundo se dio a la búsqueda de su propia
identidad y relegó en aras de su empresa toda otra literatura, que no fuera europea,
al plano de lo folclórico –en el sentido peyorativo del término–; y se agudizó en el
siglo XX cuando, en el contexto del desarrolló de las teorías literarias, se privilegió
el texto escrito.

Aunque esta es una postura que en las tres últimas décadas ha tendido a ceder, lo
cierto es que durante mucho tiempo la asociación del arte del lenguaje con el texto
escrito ha negado toda posibilidad de acceso de la oralidad al plano de lo estético.
Una explicación de ello quizá se deba al hecho de que la oralidad, antes de que la
tecnología permitiera guardar registros de voz, aparentaba una fugacidad física que
la hacía de alguna inmanipulable y, por ende, poco atractiva para los profesionales de
la literatura. Para Zumhtor, esta postura se explica en el hecho de que una sociedad
en transformación presta toda su atención a aquellos aspectos que determinarán su
evolución y su consideración como sociedad desarrollada o en vía de conseguirlo,
y se desinteresa a arremete contra todo lo que se identifique con su estado anterior,
en este caso, la oralidad, a la que de modo incorrecto se le asocia con lo primitivo
y lo folclórico, vistos estos de manera despectiva.
9 Zapata Morales, John Fredy. 2008. Tradición y pervivencia de la trova antioqueña. 2008. Medellín:
Producciones Colombia. 152 p. Véase la reseña del mismo en la sección Reseñas del presente número.

Lo cierto del caso es que la sacralización de la escritura que ha tenido por contraparte
un menosprecio por la oralidad, lo que además ha significado para esta última
la inaccesibilidad al plano de lo estético. Por esto mismo, desde que con las teorías
literarias del siglo XX se propuso una ciencia del texto literario escrito, la oralidad,
en razón de su misma fugacidad –lo que la hacía de alguna manera inmanipulable–,
pareció no ofrecer atractivo alguno para los estudiosos de la literatura; a lo que se
suma la negativa y a veces despectiva asociación de la oralidad con lo primitivo y
lo tradicional, en virtud de lo cual una sociedad en transformación presta toda su
atención a aquellos aspectos que determinan su evolución y se desinteresa o arremete
contra todo lo que se identifique con su estado anterior.

Para Díaz-Pimienta (1998: 157) resulta paradójico que dadas las condiciones no
sólo de universalidad sino también antigüedad, la oralidad haya tenido que esperar
hasta finales del siglo XIX y comienzos del siglo XX para ser considerada objeto de
estudio digno por parte de los estudiosos de la lingüística y la literatura10. Samuel
Armistead, durante su participación en el Simposio Internacional sobre la Décima,
realizado en Las Palmas de Gran Canaria en 1992, reconocía el abandono de que
ha sido objeto la poesía oral improvisada de Hispanoamérica, a causa de la atención
exclusiva prestada al Romancero; de otro lado, tanto Zumthor (1991: 10, 25-26)
como Díaz-Pimienta (1998: 159), coinciden en su apreciación de que sacralizar la
escritura en detrimento de la oralidad es desconocer la importancia que han tenido
las tradiciones orales en la historia de la humanidad, para la que han llegado a significar
incluso la supervivencia, y es además desconocer que muchos de nuestros
poemas, cuentos, fábulas, canciones de cuna y villancicos, que hoy circulan como
textos escritos, fueron extraídos de la tradición oral popular.

En el caso de Antioquia, la recepción de la poesía popular es un fenómeno
marcado por posiciones que comprenden aspectos políticos, económicos, sociales y
estéticos. Según Posada (1997b: 55), el interés por la versificación en este departamento
guarda estrecha relación con las contiendas políticas libradas desde finales del
siglo anterior entre conservadores y liberales en Colombia, contiendas con móviles
políticos, libradas y extendidas a lo lingüístico. En estas contiendas, en las que hubo
un claro dominio de los conservadores (Posada, 1997b: 55-56) el rechazo hacia la
versificación fue un común denominador en ambos bandos.

Del lado de los liberales, que criticaban a los conservadores el apego a las normas
tradicionales de la gramática y la lingüística, se rechazaban métodos como el
propuesto por el escritor y político conservador José Manuel Marroquín en su Tra-
10 Son considerados estudios clásicos sobre la oralidad los de Milman Parry y Eric Havelock en el mundo
anglosajón y los de Ramón Menéndez Pidal en Hispanoamérica; un completo inventario de otros estudios
sobre la oralidad puede consultarse en Walter Ong; y en Díaz-Pimienta.

tado de ortología y ortografía castellana, en el cual se acudía a la memorización de
versos rimados para enseñar la ortografía de palabras de dudosa escritura, así como
para el uso de “z” y “s”, entre otras (Deas, 1993: 29). La obra de Marroquín fue
admirada y acogida por el también conservador Emiliano Isaza. Éste fue el autor de
la Gramática práctica de la lengua castellana, un libro de similares características
al de Marroquín; y en cada una de las cinco partes que lo componen, el texto del
señor Isaza se sirve, a manera de ejemplos, de innumables trozos de poesía en verso
de la lengua castellana, entresacados de sus autores dilectos Cervantes, Quevedo,
Moreto y, en general, representantes de todas las edades y estilos de nuestra lengua
(Isaza, 1880: xii). Por la misma época se publicó Elementos de pedagogía, de los
hermanos Luis y Martín Restrepo Mejía (1888), este fue el primer tratado sobre la
materia que se publicara en el país; en él se recomiendan la oralidad, la repetición y
la memoria (129, 224) como estrategias de enseñanza de las diferentes áreas. Según
la profesora Consuelo Posada (1997b: 58-59). Rafael Uribe Uribe, el líder liberal
por excelencia, fue otro de los que hizo expresa oposición a la manía versificadora
de los colombianos.

Más allá de las consideraciones políticas, este recurso a la rima y al metro silábico
es, según Walter Ong (1987: 40-41), una estrategia mnemotécnica bastante usual en
las culturas orales, en las que los modos de expresión y los procesos de pensamiento
están determinados por el sonido y el ritmo.

Los versos rimados pueden ser una estrategia oral, pero no exclusiva de las culturas
orales. En un ameno escrito titulado “Versos y prosa” el ensayista colombiano
Baldomero Sanín Cano (1977: 405-410) advertía que la tendencia a utilizar versos
rimados con intenciones pedagógicas no era exclusiva ni siquiera de los institutores
y gobernantes colombianos, bastante inclinados a la poesía rimada, y en apoyo de tal
afirmación citaba dos versos rimados en inglés, extraídos según él de una gramática
latina destinada a la enseñanza del latín en Gran Bretaña; y llamaba la atención acerca
de la vigencia de una estrategia, tan aparentemente arcaica, en una civilización
tecnológica como la inglesa.

Para el caso que nos ocupa vemos cómo en la tensión entre una cultura hegemónica
–la urbana en nuestro caso– que lucha por imponer su propio orden y una
cultura subalterna –la campesina migrante– que lucha por mantenerse a pesar de las
imposiciones, la poesía oral antioqueña, al ser llevada al plano de la escritura, sufre
un desdoblamiento que de alguna manera la fortalece –como se puede sustentar a
partir de la pormenorizada relación de obras escritas hecha más arriba– y le permite
trascender su originaria limitación espacio-temporal a la vez que le da nueva vida,
a pesar de considerársele como propia de la cultura tradicional que precisamente se
pretende superar.

John Fred y Zapata Morales




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