Poets pleased with response from baboons

Carrie McLaren carrie at stayfreemagazine.org
Thu Dec 20 16:24:15 EST 2001

Poets pleased with response from baboons
Story filed: 17:41 Tuesday 18th December 2001

A group of seven Chilean poets who held a poetry reading in a baboon 
enclosure have praised the animals' patience.

It had been feared they could attack the poets who wanted to 
demonstrate baboons are more receptive to poetry than their 

Poet Leonel Lienlaf says were surprised by the warm welcome they had 
got from the monkeys at Santiago's Metropolitan Zoo.

Colleague Raúl Zurita told Las Ultimas Noticias newspaper he was 
pleased they had not attacked the cage the poets were in.

"In fact, they were impressively alert, as well as showing the kind 
of curiosity we associate with young children," he said.

Mr Lienlaf added: "I was very surprised by the warmth of their 
welcome to us. They were very quiet during our reading, although we 
sometimes saw their playful side."

The paper reports the baboons seemed particularly interested when 
Guillermo García addressed them directly. "Yesterday, my dear 
baboons, I had a profound dream. I dreamt that one day humanity would 
again live in harmony with you," the poet told his audience.

The poetry of Lienlaf and Jorge del Río also provoked a response. 
During both readings the baboons climbed to the top of their tower 
and began shrieking.

The seven poets ended with an epic poem. Mr Zurita said: "There was 
certainly a profound silence during that piece. At least that's how I 
remember it."

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