Vita — poems — two letters — article revisions
Monthly Archives: July 2018
The author’s allusive style means translation has to be interpretation. While we have tried to stay as close to the words of the original as possible, we have sometimes changed them in order to keep the sense.
An important part of the meaning in the poems is the rhythm, and we have tried to keep that — rhythm of sound and image — again, sometimes changing wording to do that.
These poems are meant to be collages of rhythmic images, not logical arguments or linear stories; interpreting to translate (see my first sentence) has not meant translating to iron out or to privilege a particular reading.
The poems are very intertextual. Part of what we’ve done in the translation is work to make the references a little more obvious to the reader. We think annotation would overpower / kill the poems but, for instance, “otro embuste” is from Sahagún. In another poem, we used Stevens’ “keener sounds” which isn’t in the original, but makes the text work the way the original does.
This was a poem I wrote in 1981, that I liked then and still do, but that needs context to be comprehensible. At what point do poems expire, speaking only to their own age? At what point does a text that interests its writer become interesting to another? I never thought of this level of poem as something to publish, but others are less modest than I.
SIMBOLO DE PERUANIDAD
The Chancay face has a curved eye and stands
among cumbias and guayaberas
(imported and contraband)
in the crowds by the jukebox sounding
CON TU AMOR
dreaming in bars the gods are silent
but they rise
As La Tapada stood with one veiled eye
among the flowers of a National Palace dream
(il faudrait du vert à cette place, dit-il)
Miss Peru wore Maybelline
no somos de aquí they said
the President lives abroad
and the eyeless face walks
backward down the road PERDÓNAME
Carnaval: a day to show your desire
–-Spanish costumes French style
I WANNA BE YOUR NUMBER ONE
me dijo, y me llevó hasta Estados Unidos, qué lindo–-
We’re proud Incas
only foreign investment will save Peru
no somos de aquí
The Chancay face with shaded eyes diffused
among a wig and satin cross
in the offices with the jukebox sounding
TODO SE DERRUMBÓ
from lawn chairs we call them comfortably
name the gods our real selves
as though they were here
The Chancay face has shells as eyes and turns
among imported and smuggled the cumbias and guayaberas
counting small coins–
OH QUIERO DORMIR CANSADO
Curves his eye
on an embroidered girl
as though we were here
gone but we are here
Krugerrands in an offered hand unseen–-
fingers cut through the bone
Marzo 1981: SÍMBOLO DE PERUANIDAD era la eslogan de Petroperú y se citan canciones de Juan Gabriel, Blondie y Camilo Sesto que andaban en las radios. Se inspira en un poster que había para promover el turismo de culturas antiguas, que tenía una máscara de Chancay.
Tripwire. Experimental. They take translations but not poems originally written in English. Verify?
Split Lip. You can submit one poem only. This is fun, if you only have one good one.
Siete vientos, especially for Moro?
Phoneme Media. Books, contemporary poetry (note: they have one on the Angola 3). Founded by David Shook (see just below).
Modern Poetry in Translation. Their traditional focus is on Eastern Europe, although they publish other things; they are the ones who put out the Baltic issue. Working with them is DAVID SHOOK who “is a poet and translator in LA, where he has founded Phoneme Media, a publishing house for literature in translation. His translations of Jorge Eduardo Eielson’s Room in Rome and Pablo D’Ors Biography of Silence will be published in 2018.” I should read this journal, but can you submit to it?
Metamorphoses. Print journal. I had thought, at one point, that they were a good goal.
Here is a long list of little magazines, although not all want poetry in translation.
Graywolf? Perhaps yes.
Gato Negro? Perhaps yes as well.
Black Widow. This could be good for Moro.
In the meantime: I think Tripwire for the group of three poems, and Split Lip for the one prose poem.
And here, finally, is Latour’s Compositionist Manifesto, that I would really like to read.
…that I spent days translating when I should have been doing any number of things.
The critique of nationalist literary histories.
The attempt to locate origins in what has been lost.
The fact that that is the game nationalist literary histories play, appropriating those origins for the national project.
We are taught to identify with that appropriation.
The evidence of those origins — that we know are not the reified origin of national literary histories — are nonetheless all around us, and resist nationalist appropriation (Vallejo knew it, too).
The dislocated feeling of identifying with a landscape filled with signs of this unknowable and unrecuperable past.
Writing about these things now, in globalization and the end of the nation-state.
Ortega speaks of this poetry as “emanating from a wound in the Spanish language” but it is more properly a gap in [the Peruvian gestalt].
Roxosol, the title, refers to the sun in a Golden Age poem but also to the Incan sun.
Inkarrí is here that awareness of the older world, lost to us, but whose traces are still visible.
The speaker is a national subject dissolving.
The poem insists on place, situatedness, but outside the narration of nation. Consciousness of this place means moving beyond binaries like civilization and barbarism, present and past, but also human and non-human.
…I wonder if this has potential, or is good.
Roxo sol, que con hacha luminosa
coloras el purpúreo y alto cielo,
¿hallaste tal belleza en todo el suelo,
qu’ iguale a mi serena Luz dichosa?
Aura suäve, blanda y amorosa,
que nos halagas con tu fresco buelo;
cuando se cubre del dorado velo
mi Luz, ¿tocaste trença más hermosa?
Luna, onor de la noche, ilustre coro
de las errantes lumbres y fixadas,
¿consideraste tales dos estrellas?
Sol puro, Aura, Luna, llamas d’ oro,
¿oístes vos mis penas nunca usadas?
¿vistes Luz más ingrata a mis querellas?
Also, did you remember that Garcilaso de la Vega died in 1536? He was 35 and died in battle, being a soldier.
Last year, the state moved for dismissal, arguing that the 14th Amendment contains no reference to literacy. Then, last week, U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III agreed with the state. Literacy is important, the judge noted. But students enjoy no right to access to being taught literacy. All the state has to do is make sure schools run. If they are unable to educate their students, that’s a shame, but court rulings have not established that “access to literacy” is “a fundamental right.”
“The deeper implication that the judge is tacitly admitting that it is all right to gut all of the public functions of government while leaving them nominally intact,” my friend said.
These ideas are key and they are for my next article (not the one I am working on now).