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José Saramago


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Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Starry Lavender Mist

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

via GIPHY

posted evening of February 16th, 2016: Respond
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Monday, November 17th, 2014

1955: Lavender Mist

— 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.

posted evening of November 17th, 2014: Respond
➳ More posts about La casa de la loca

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Mr. Green

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.

posted evening of October 16th, 2014: Respond
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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Yes, Mrs. Williams

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.

posted evening of September 30th, 2014: Respond
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Monday, January 20th, 2014

Reflections on translating first-person narrative

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...

posted morning of January 20th, 2014: 2 responses
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Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Mr. Green

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.

posted morning of September 15th, 2013: Respond

Friday, August second, 2013

Glen Island

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.

posted morning of August second, 2013: 5 responses
➳ More posts about Against The Day

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Otros versos Aponteños

"Nunca serás escritora" se dijo
"pero"
Siempre anda hablandose sabes
y es insana
y tú también
por supuesto
en cualquier modo u otro
en cualquier modo que quieras tomarlo
que necesites esto
esta expresión que resuena
todavía
no contestada

posted evening of July 19th, 2013: Respond
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Otra vez lectura: Versos Aponteños

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
especímenes
como mariposas clavadas cada en su caja
un museo de entomología
necropelógico
y

cambiaba segura y tranquila
los corredores de su
imaginación
de él

posted afternoon of July 19th, 2013: 1 response
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Friday, July 5th, 2013

Aquí que tengas tinta y secante
pluma negra de cuervo ya largo tiempo
muerto a tu naciemiento
pido
pido que me escribas
a mí
me dice
tus relatos complicados y lejos
de aquí
tus pretextos más
bien hechos
que tendría a leer
algo divertido
algo
últimamente
sin sentido.

posted evening of July 5th, 2013: 4 responses
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