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Robert Chevara - Perfect. Scar

Robert Chevara - Perfect. Scar Team Angelica

A first collection of poems from Robert Chevara. Robert is an internationally-acclaimed, award-winning artist, writer and director. His output spans the fields of opera, film and theatre, and his productions include seminal works by Shakespeare, Williams, Ridley, Verdi, Bizet and Adès. He has written several opera libretti and contributed to poetry collections, and is equally active in the arenas of political engagement and both visual and performance art. He divides his time between London and Berlin.

'Aching. Defiant. Piercing. Compassion for the lost and wounded runs like a vein of gold through Chevara's work.'



'Robert was always a poet. Back when we were 15-year-old South-East London kids meeting up at the Old Vic Youth Theatre, he carried out-of-date diaries around with him re-purposed as notebooks, every page covered with his beautiful calligraphic handwriting. Everyone he met he’d ask, ‘Would you like to hear my new poem?’ before, without waiting for an answer, standing up and reading it aloud in a deep resonant voice. Everywhere we hung out in those days, the foyer of the National Theatre, the cafés in the National Film Theatre (now the BFI) and the Royal Festival Hall, Robert would read. On buses home to the Old Kent Road, or tubes into the West End and Notting Hill, as our orbit widened, Robert was constantly writing and reading. How did he see so much while so often looking down? He acted back then. Then he became a director, then a theatre and opera director, then a librettist and translator. Always expanding. And Robert is great at all of it. Intelligent. Passionate. Uncompromising. Unlimited. But Robert has always been a poet. He wrote poems into the fly-leaves of books, or on the title page of book gifts. He wrote poems to celebrate and poems to commiserate. That summer we spent in Athens when we were eighteen, he wrote a ton of poetry. Recently in the Pandemic I found an arty scrapbook (scrappy art-book?) I’d made out of photos we’d taken that summer to illustrate poems by Robert. Or was it the other way round?

I don’t remember creating the book. Just that I took a lot of photos and that Robert wrote a lot of poems. His Byronic hair, his expressive delicate but strong hands, his piercing but soft blue eyes, his incisive wit, boundless vocabulary, supernatural sixth sense, breathtaking intelligence and his soulful voice. Robert was a poem. The total romantic. The sensual buccaneer. The diva with soaring vocals. (Oh, he sings too! Like a South London Mahalia Jackson, honey.) A poet and a poem.

When we met, punk was the thing and disco was hated by everyone except the gays. We loved both. Our curiosity was boundless. Music, Film, Books, Theatre, Dance, Politics, we loved it all. And Robert taught me soooo much.

We haven’t changed. Still travelling, still creating, still exploring, still mad fans of everything. Every week there are emails and texts. Have you seen this? Read this? Heard about this? We are still fifteen, you know, a pair of high-art to low-culture fanboys, still curious, still finding our way in the world, my brother and I. And now finally he’s publishing his poems. I thought: he’s forgotten about that part of him. I was wrong. Here’s a new bunch of ’em, 45 years after the day I first heard one. And I’m proud to be the one to introduce you to them.

Have you met my brother Robert Chevara? He’s a poet you know. He’s a poem.'

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