Samantha Barendson

France

Samantha Barendson is a French, Italian and Argentinian poet. She was born in 1976 in Spain, grew up in Argentina and Mexico and finally settled in France, in Lyons. Like herself, her writing travels from one language to another, and sometimes get mix in a creative reinvention.

Author of poetry but also theater plays, she likes to work with other poets, painters, musicians, illustrators and photographers. Then she likes to declaim, perform, yell or sing her poetry on stage, a little frustrated for not being a Tango singer.

She is an active member of the Collective: "Le syndicat des poètes qui vont mourir un jour" (The union of poets who will die someday) whose purpose is to promote poetry for everyone and everywhere.

In March 2015, she received the French poetry "René Leynaud" award for her poetry book "Le citronnier" (The lemon tree).


Born in Spain to an Argentinian mother and an Italian father, Samantha Barendson writes poetry the way she would dance tango, struggling between love and anger with a father she barely knew, who died when she was only two. "You piss me off, daddy" she keeps repeating in a poem. Trying to collect information about the missing father, she eventually wrote a poetic investigation, The lemon tree (Le pédalo ivre, 2014), about a sense of lack. "According to the internet, I have no ancestors, I come from nowhere. I'm part of a generation of internet orphans. Still, I've kept looking for the other members of my family. They all exist, the dead and the living. All but him." Him, her father, whom she calls Daddy with great difficulty because "Daddy, it's for the one who is here, in front of you, the one you can feel and touch." In 2013 she went to Argentina to follow his steps, to the country where he lived and died. There she gave birth to The Lemon tree, the tree of her childhood, which sprouted from her father's ashes. Her verses are short and sharp, adjectives are rare and words simple, "chosen with care", since the young poet wants her poetry to be universal, that it may speak to "those who lost their daddy", and "those who still have theirs"...


"Without exhibitionism nor pathos, Samantha Barendson gives us [in The Lemon tree] a testimony that goes through poetry to confide, by subtle slices of life and confused moments. The language is simple, intense, sad and amusing, comedy and drama are mixed together."
                                                                                         - La cause littéraire, February 2015

"Samantha, the narrator, gives us a short autobiographical, striking, captivating text. From short paragraphs into short paragraphs, or even short phrases, she tells her story, the past, the present, scraps of memories. She seeks, hollows, digs, dissects, takes her history from the beginning of the scenario, or rather from the end."

                                      - BSC News, Laurence Biava, Decembre 2014

 

"Le citronnier (The lemon tree) by Samantha Barendson is beautiful because it affects the most absolute intimacy."

                                                         - Hétéroclite, Didier Roth-Bettoni, September 2014

Her connexion to Spain and Hispanic culture innervates her work. Deeply linked to arts, she works with photographs and painters in a dialogue involving colours and shapes. Catalan painter Guillermo Martì Ceballos described the poetry of Samantha Barendson in these terms: "When I read her poems, I realize that any poem has to be read the same way one could look at a painting, with sensibility and emotions rather than understanding and sense. Words, just as colours and shapes, have to be positioned in a certain order so that they reach our souls harmoniously. This is what I observed while reading Les délits du corps."

Her short collection Poppy (Pré # carré, 2011) was reviewed by French critic Sébastien de Cornuaud-Marcheteau, who said: "This short collection is deeply connected to the flower, beyond its magnificent red cover illustrated by Aline Coton.  Red, the colour of passion, invades the poem, absorbed by the capillarity of pages, as slowly and irremediably as heat invades bodies under the influence of pleasure. It is a devouring passion which promises exile, a journey to the North Sea, it is an Argentine passion on the streets of Buenos Aires, where red poppies melts with a red "tango dancer", from red to stir, from erotic flutter to bleeding. The red flower is mixed with blue seas and blond sand (or wheat), and those vibrating colours give the poem a pictural composition cut into colour planes. Samantha Barendson explores the multiple symbols of poppy, up to its morphic appearance. Yet, the same way poppies start withering once they are picked, the intensity of passion is proportionate to its transience and eventually fades away, or "cannot stay"... "May he go", are the last words of the poem, and they sound like a fatalist injunction, a liberating prayer. They are a falling axe which proclaims a renunciation towards what "cannot stay", echoing the very first words of the poem. One never relies on the oracles and pretends not to know the end, defying Destiny... Yes! There is some Greek tragedy in those poppies."

Download Poetry booklet
by Samantha Barendson