Saturday, June 27th, 2015
Not totally sure what to make of this yet... It is at the very least a fascinating idea for a project...
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, January 11th, 2015
Thursday, December 25th, 2014
May all your tidings be explicitly comfortable and feasibly joyous; may all your glory be in the highest.
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.
Sunday, October 19th, 2014
"Be quiet the doctor's wife said gently, let's all keep quiet, there are times when words serve no purpose, if only I, too, could weep, say everything with tears, not have to speak in order to be understood."
-- Blindness, Jose Saramago
"Doc tried calling her name but of course words out here were only words."
-- Inherent Vice, Thomas Pynchon
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...)
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.
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