Creative inspiration is a mysterious terrain in which each artist has his own rules and methodologies configured. Muses can sometimes be elusive and, on the other hand, the world of culture is full of references and winks to third works. However, something different seems to be directly use other people’s material to produce their own, trying to make this happen inadvertently.
The newspaper El País was echoed yesterday of the publication of a new book by the poet Fernando del Val (The Critical Eye of Poetry 2018): ‘The Bunbury method’. In it, the author analyzes the lyrics signed by the famous musician from Zaragoza, highlighting how many of the supposedly coined verses of his handwriting are actually excerpts (identical or very similar) from other texts by famous writers and authors. Among them, Fernando Arrabal, Felipe Benítez Reyes, Mario Benedetti, Charles Bukowski, Fernando Sánchez Dragó, Blas de Otero, Michel Houellebecq, Gabriel Celaya, Nicanor Parra, Antonio Gamoneda or Haruki Murakami.
Del Val does not use the word ‘plagiarism’ at any point in the volume, and in fact, considers himself an admirer of the vocalist of Héroes del Silencio from its beginnings with the group. He further argues that if Bunbury had cited the authors, he would not have been able to publish this latest work, in which his sole aim is to carry out a study of the singer’s praxis of creation. So Del Val’s concept is ‘centón’, which refers to a literary work that has been elaborated from excerpts from other works.
“Good part of the letters that Bunbury has written is made up of fragments of writers whom it does not quote”, explains Del Val to El País, “my book shows that practice has been habitual throughout his career, and that is present in many of his songs with poetic and literary ambition “. the 37 songs discussed in ‘The Bunbury Method’, Examples are found such as the comparison of the poem ‘The house and the brick’, by Mario Benedetti (“Today I woke up with my fists closed, they ask us questions that include their answer seed”) and the lyrics of ‘Iberia submerged’, from the album ‘Avalanche’ by Héroes del Silencio (“I woke up with my fists clenched, you ask questions with the answer seed”).
Reactions to the publication of ‘The Bunbury Method’ are being polarized: they are, on the one hand, those who consider that the singer has carried out a theft of the intellectual property of other artists (a controversy, by the way, to which Bunbury is no stranger, since in 2018 he was accused of using verses by the poet Pedro Casariego in the lyrics of his single ‘The thin man who will never falter’), while others defend their way of creation and draw on other artists who have been inspired and have worked in a similar way, such as Bob Dylan (that in its subjects has strained fragments of poets like Dylan Thomas or Walt Whitman).