Sunday, December third, 2017
Yet, can’t we do better than silence? Today, each student will receive a musical score and a instrument designed to imitate birds. A birdcall. Once in Ani everyone will hide in the ruins and start calling the birds. At first a few cries will interrupt the silence, then a melody will grow until a chorus of bird calls echo across the valley all the way to Armenia. And the singing will go on to the point of exhaustion, until the birds return to Ani and life comes back to the forgotten city.
The silence of Ani from Francis Alÿs on Vimeo.
Sunday, April 16th, 2017
se debe leer en un idioma que no sea el propio
Thursday, February 19th, 2015
One nice side benefit of the class I took last spring at la Universidad Desconocida was the chance to meet classmate Isabel Zapata. Today her "Canción de Cuna para Sonámbulos" is online at Limulus along with my translation. Check it out! A beautiful poem.
Sunday, October 19th, 2014
It is difficult for me to express what a great idea this mash-up is. I can almost picture the notional Ginsburg out on stage with the Dead. Which indeed I think he did interact with them some times. Absolutely riveting. I must congratulate and thank Brendon Banks.
This is the kind of pairing that makes you see each component in a new light. The poem, below the fold.
Saturday, October 18th, 2014
In one of his classes, Amalfitano said: the birth of modern Latin American poetry is marked by two poems. The first is "The Soliloquy of the Individual," by Nicanor Parra, published in Poemas y antipoemas, Editorial Nascimento, Chile, 1954. The second is "Trip to New York," by Ernesto Cardenal, published in a Mexico City magazine in the mid-'70s (1974, I think, but don't quote me on that), which I have in Ernesto Cardenal's Antología, Editorial Laia, Barcelona, 1978. Of course, Cardenal had already written "Zero Hour," "Psalms," "Homage to the American Indians," and "Coplas on the Death of Merton," but it's "Trip to New York" that to me marks the turning point, the definitive fork in the road. "Trip" and "Soliloquy" are the two faces of modern poetry, the devil and the angel, respectively (and let us not forget the curious fact -- though it may be much more than that -- that in "Trip" Ernesto Cardenal mentions Nicanor Parra). This is perhaps the most lucid and terrible moment, after which the sky grows dark and the storm is unleashed.
Those who disagree can sit here and wait for Don Horacio Tregua, those who agree can follow me.
--Roberto Bolaño, Woes of the True Policeman
So then, here they are:
- Parra, Soliloquio del individuo, translated by Ferlinghetti as "Soliloquy of the Individual" -- here is a recording of Ginsberg reading the translation, though annoyingly cut off before the end. Here is a recording of Parra reading.
- Cardenal, Trip to New York. (Annoying -- this is a Google Books preview and only the first page is available; I haven't been able to find a link to the original text.) (Or possibly there are more than one poem of that title by Cardenal -- I just found a link to the first page of a poem called Viaje a Nueva York which begins differently than that one.) (Update -- we'll know soon enough, I just bought the 78 Laia Antología via AbeBooks...)
Sunday, July 20th, 2014
Basta señora arpa de las bellas imágenes
De los furtivos comos iluminados
Otra cosa otra cosa buscamos
Sabemos posar un beso como una mirada
Plantar miradas como árboles
Enjaular árboles como pájaros
Regar pájaros como heliotropos
Tocar un heliotropo como una música
Vaciar una música como un saco
Degollar un saco como un pingüino
Cultivar pingüinos como viñedos
Ordeñar un viñedo como una vaca
Desarbolar vacas como veleros
Peinar un velero como un cometa
Desembarcar cometas como turistas
Embrujar turistas como serpientes
Cosechar serpientes como almendras
Desnudar una almendra como un atleta
Leñar atletas como cipreses
Iluminar cipreses como faroles
Anidar faroles como alondras
Exhalar alondras como suspiros
Bordar suspiros como sedas
Derramar sedas como ríos
Tremolar un río como una bandera
Desplumar una bandera como un gallo
Apagar un gallo como un incendio
Bogar en incendios como en mares
Segar mares como trigales
Repicar trigales como campanas
Desangrar campanas como corderos
Dibujar corderos como sonrisas
Embotellar sonrisas como licores
Engastar licores como alhajas
Electrizar alhajas como crepúsculos
Tripular crepúsculos como navíos
Descalzar un navío como un rey
Colgar reyes como auroras
Crucificar auroras como profetas
Etc. etc. etc.
Basta señor violín hundido en una ola ola
Cotidiana ola de religión miseria
De sueño en sueño posesión de pedrerías
Saturday, May third, 2014
The final canto of Altazor is sui generis. It is "asemic" -- it communicates a text without using an established language.
Here is Juan Ángel Italiano reading it:
Al aia aia
ia ia ia aia ui
Rimbibolam lam lam
Montresol y mandotrina
Montesur en lasurido
Aururaro ulisamento lalilá
Olamina olasica lalilá
Ia ia campanuso compasedo
Aí ai mareciente y eternauta
Redontella tallerendo lucenario
Ai i a
Ai ai aia
Sensorida e infimento
Oraneva yu yu yo
Infilero e infinauta zurrosía
Ai a i a a i i i i o ia
Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Reading "Canto de guerra de las cosas" last week I was struck again by the epigraph and decided to read the 8th chapter of Romans. Here are two poems (one I started writing in Spanish and finished in English, and one I started writing in English and finished in Spanish) based on a few verses from that.
The Ways of Flesh and Spiritby J Osner
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made
me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through
the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of
sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod
and thy staff they comfort me.
I will not walk forth
in the ways of the flesh
but in the ways of the Spirit. I will not
subject myself to the law of sin
and of death. For both
are of the flesh, which is not I --
though I'm living now, this moment,
in a lump of flesh. I'll walk
my pathway of the Spirit
of life in Christ Jesus, this lump
will come along for the ride.
I'm flesh which must follow
the law of sin and death --
would be no question
in any other ways
but the ways of the flesh,
for I am flesh. Will fear
no evil, for you will be with me.
And so we'll walk forth together
flesh and Spirit,
side by side
along our separate paths
of Self and Other.
por J Osner
Carne, te estoy adentro de vos
Tus sensaciones y reacciones
Son las mías. Cuando eructás
Soy yo el que me debo excusar.
Distraeme por tu hambre
Y por tu satisfacción.
Intimidame por tus anhelos;
No los voy a reconocer. Voy
A andarme conforme al Espíritu
De vida en Cristo Jesús y me retraeré
De vos y tu concepción asquerosa
Del mundo, tu valle
De la sombra del Mal
y del Muerto.
Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
Do you have a favorite line or couple of lines of a poem, that serve to communicate in microcosm the sense (however loosely or impressionistically defined) of the containing poem? I'd love if you would post them in comments.
A couple to get things started, here and in comments...
Saturday, March 8th, 2014
from Funeral oration, at the death of Joaquín Pasos
by Carlos Martinez Rivas
tr. Jeremy Osner
The drum beat echoing across
the little parade ground,
as if we were at the funeral of some Hero:
that's how I'd like to begin. And just
as must be done, in these Rituals of Death, I'd like
to forget his death; to look to his life --
to the lives of all the heroes now extinguished,
heroes who just like him lit up the night down here --
for many is the young poet who has died in our time.
Across the centuries they call out and we hear
their voices blazing, their distant canticle --
from the depths of the night they call out and reply.
There's not so much that we can know of them: that they were young,
that their feet strode upon this earth. That they knew how to play some instrument.
That they felt the ocean breeze across their forehead,
and looked up to the hills. They loved some girl,
and scribbled all this down til late at night, and crossed lines out,
and one day died. And now their voices blaze in the night.
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