Tuesday, February 16th, 2016
In the hallway he saw a poster: he was indeed approaching the exhibit. Paul Jackson Pollock, American Painter. He could see it at the end of the corridor, bursting riotously out of the doorway, lashing him with its lunacy — it looked to him like one of Van Gogh's stars had spun out of its orbit and smashed to pieces, cracked against the wall before him like an enormous egg. With a wary step he entered Pollock's kingdom.
--Marta Aponte, 1955: Lavender Mist
Monday, November 17th, 2014
— My friend, you are a barbarian. You paint as if one eye were on the moon and the other on Mars. I don't like your work; but you have made me weep. And tears are the blood of sincerity. Cool -- two publications in a row of Marta Aponte Alsina translations! A story I translated last year is included in the November issue of The Acentos Review -- 1955: Lavender Mist.
Thursday, October 16th, 2014
Marta Aponte Alsina's recent novellette Mr. Green is available on Kindle in Spanish; and now you can read the first few pages in my translation, at Tupelo Quarterly.
Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
I started reading William Carlos Williams biography of his mother last night. It is promising to be great -- it is taken from dialog with her at the end of her life, when they were translating Quevedo's "El perro y la calentura" together (from a copy that Ezra Pound had given him!) -- kind of as a pretext for getting her to talk in a situation where he could surreptitiously be taking notes. (2 things about that text -- it is apparently not by Quevedo but by Pedro Espinosa, long misattributed to Quevedo; and the Williams translation is available from New Directions, in print.)
How does it begin? I asked her.
It begins with two men walking in the fields and talking.
Oh yes, I said, una novella peregrina. Let's begin:
So we began. It served its purpose which was to draw out her comments. Let her come first, her childhood and early years, in her own words exactly as she told it.
I heard about this book, and got inspired to read it, from Marta Aponte, who is currently working on a novel about Mrs. Williams. Williams himself wrote in one of his letters (according to a fragment of Aponte's work) that it was his most important book.
Monday, January 20th, 2014
I have been translating two stories told in the first person recently -- "Power", by Javier Sáez de Ibarra (from Bulevar), is one that I did a pretty fast rough draft of several months ago and just recently revised -- it is narrated by a factory worker who is trying to project an unwanted level of intimacy with his titular co-worker; and "A few prosaic lines" by Marta Aponte (La casa de la loca) is the story (still not totally sure I have this straight) of the wife of a poet in a village outside of San Juan,
An interesting comparison between these two is how strongly I have to twist my sense of identity to say "I" like I mean it -- I find it quite easy to identify with the "I" in Power's "friend"'s story -- less so with the poet's wife on a personal level. With her I have a hard time finding a personal center; and yet the voice of this story is attractive to me as well. The story's climactic moment is a translation of Emily Dickinson being written onto the soles of her husband and son's shoes!
Tonight, when they walk into the club, my two men will be treading, without knowing it, on a few words stolen from the yankee poetess...
Sunday, September 15th, 2013
Hm, cool: looks like my first attempt at using a Kindle (my daughter's) will be the new novelette (31 pp. Nice -- it might even be something I can read all of today!) from Marta Aponte. Mr. Green -- set at least in part in the Bronx, an area I have some acquaintance with. I am downloading it as we speak.
Friday, August second, 2013
Kind of flabbergasted that I have never encountered any mention of Glen Island amusement park in the writings of Thomas Pynchon -- it seems utterly implausible that the Chums of Chance (for instance) would never have paid a visit.
A stone's throw from David's Island, which was devoted entire to the Army post, was Glen Island. This wooded islet had been rented, for the purpose of exhibiting little colonies of foreign people, by a good old sport, who confided to me that he liked champagne when it wasn't too "corky," and who had spent his whole life up to his present ripe age in exhibiting pretty girls and tickling the American palate with new and outlandish sensations. One year he would have Eskimos living in glass huts frosted to look like ice, with real Eskimo dogs and sleds; another, he would show a community of Hottentots, as unclothed as New York laws would tolerate, with their round straw huts and African drums. And lo and behold! this year he had imported and exhibited, alongside of a group of Sioux Indians living as they lived, a colony of Puerto Ricans, living as they lived, in their little thatched houses, and making the so-called "panama" hats. These jíbaros were from Cabo Rojo, a coast town noted for the excellent straw hats made there for a century or so. And they ALL had hookworm.
A most intimate friendship sprang up between the young military doctor and these homesick sons and daughters of Borinquen, who were perfectly delighted to find someone who could speak to them in their own tongue, and to whom they could complain —for the jíbaro loves to complain. They were useful to me not only as sources for a continuation of my study, but also as living examples of this new disease, on which I now was asked to discourse at Me annual meeting of the Westchmer County Medical Society. I did so; and no detail was missing—even the sacred eggs were brought into the glaring sunlight of New York's sophistication.
Friday, July 19th, 2013
"Nunca serás escritora" se dijo
Siempre anda hablandose sabes
y es insana
y tú también
en cualquier modo u otro
en cualquier modo que quieras tomarlo
que necesites esto
esta expresión que resuena
interpretación de unas líneas de La loca de la casa. Esos versos y los del lamento del Tin Man se complementan.
Ay mi amor; las heridas de una viuda joven cortan lo más profundas.
sus experimentos clasificaba
como mariposas clavadas cada en su caja
un museo de entomología
cambiaba segura y tranquila
los corredores de su
Friday, July 5th, 2013
Aquí que tengas tinta y secante
pluma negra de cuervo ya largo tiempo
muerto a tu naciemiento
pido que me escribas
tus relatos complicados y lejos
tus pretextos más
que tendría a leer
Previous posts about Marta Aponte
Drop me a line! or, sign my Guestbook.
Check out Ellen's writing at Patch.com.