Category Archives: Poetry

Omar Pimienta

Here is one of the poets I discovered.

Axé.

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Song of a driver’s assistant in a Peruvian kombi

I had this poem idea a long time ago and I really think I should write it. Driver’s assistant is a very active job. Part of it involves shouting directions. This is the skeleton beat of the poem-song.

Centro, centro
Sube sube sube sube
VAMOS
(entra entra)

BAJA
baja baja baja
VAMOS

Avenida Avenida
BAJA
baja baja baja
VAMOS

VAMOS, ENTRA ENTRA ENTRAAAA

Pasajes pasajes
Tenga su vuelto
BAJA

Arequipa Arequipa
sube sube sube sube
VAMOS

Axé.

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Le succès

I read at the New Orleans Poetry Festival, from our translation manuscript (a revised version of the first of these poems, and some others). People liked them and thought the book has a future.

I met, and got to talk to and hang out with Salgado Maranhão, his translator Alexis Levitin, the Poet in New York translator Mark Statman, a cool local professor named Ralph Adamo, a cool Bay Area poet named Joseph Lease, a cool bartender at the Spotted Cat who is a Cuban-American poet and writes for Ploughshares, and Omar Pimienta who was especially enthusiastic about our project, which was an honor.

Another new friend turned me onto this poem.

Axé.

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Reading for pleasure Friday

Other people read novels but to regenerate I like to read academic articles out of immediate field. This is Silvia Goldman, “Alonso Quijano o el relativismo inmutable,”  RILCE 24.2 (2008) 323-337.

DQ: between the medieval and renaissance worlds, dramatizing the social transformations that occurred with the advent of print culture … “El Quijote es el primer Alonso Quijano (pre-imprenta) leído por el segundo A. Q. (post-imprenta); es el hombre medieval que ya no es leído por el hombre renacentista que está por ser; representa al hombre instalado en el umbral de un modo de percepción inclusivo, sostenido en la naturaleza multidimensional de la palabra oral, y un modo de percepción exclusivo, cuyo método de conocimiento se basa en el análisis y en la desarticulación rigurosa de las diversas capas que conforman el escaenario de lo ‘real’.” (323)

Perception as instancia individual y absoluta de la experiencia vs. perspectivismo … DQ is el hombre engrosado sobre sí mismo and is therefore a meta-lectura de la identidad.

McLuhan (The Gutenberg galaxy): print is the technology of individualism. DQ reads print about a world that is growing obsolete. So there is a clash of technologies: manuscript and print, and of two ways of reading, aloud and silently. DQ has characteristics of the new person: aislamiento, soledad, duda and perspectivismo.

This article is very interesting. Quijote reads like an hombre tipográfico and this derealizes reality (because of the nature of the sign); he ends up fabricating a self-referential world. This article is VERY interesting! Reality is determined by the perceiver and reading is an adventure in which self is created and assured.

You need a perspective to get an identity; DQ se convierte en sujeto que se debe solamente a sí mismo. He’s Cartesian: reality is doubtful, and the subject creates it as [he] creates [him]self. THE NEW TRANSCENDENTAL SUBJECT IS THE READER/WRITER. Universe is now read in a linear way, like a book (silently) read. And this way reading requires persistent vision and becomes LA GARANTIA DEL SER.

DQ is trying to use this modern technology to install himself in a pre-imprenta era. But the issue is that the book is a comment on the literate world, the print world, and is an impulse toward it and its many possibilities… AND he’s a modern character in that he wants to sanction the autonomy of individual thinking and feeling.

Also, much of the novel takes place in ventas, which are crossroads para excellence (and we are talking here about DQ as a kind of crossroads); in the ventas people read aloud to groups, which confiere sacralidad a la venta, in this communal experience. But DQ prefers to read alone.

The novel installs the reader in the text, although ones the duques come in there is ficcionalización a la inversa; the novel installs itself in the reader. And in Part II, el hidalgo se hace testigo del potencial de su lectura/escritura (331).

— And there is more here, including the idea of the “libro-personaje.” I am fascinated by this article and now want to teach the Quixote.

Axé.

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Already published

Vision…
Odor and gaze
Lost from view (Without a trace)
Oh fury…
Scandalous life…
Various lions…

NOT ALREADY PUBLISHED BY US (BUT REVISIT TO MAKE SURE OF WHAT HAS AND HAS NOT BEEN PUBLISHED IN TRANSLATION BY OTHERS)

Camino de tierra…
Mundo ilustrado…
El humo se disipa…
Vienes en la noche…
Batalla…
Leve pisada…
El fuego la poesía…

MY SLOT is 15-20 minutes so I will try for 14. This is seven poems and the last is in six parts, so it is like twelve.

Axé.

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Ne pas oublier

…at the library, Literary Bondage and those back pages of Poets & Writers, where they list bilingual presses. There is another book that turned out to be there and that I wanted to get, and I have lost my piece of paper. C’était quoi? Something tempting and new that I was going to order from a catalogue and that they turned out to already have.

Axé.

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A comment on my once and future book

For the new year (this is the Jewish new year) I had hoped for a new beginning and I got, by random chance, comments on the blocked book manuscript that wrought such havoc on my life.

I confess to just having looked it up and skimmed a bit — you write well. For your conceptual blockbusting: deconstruction, à la Derrida, relies on a reified Cartesian self that can be sullied and broken (= Freud). Most of Latin america does Lacan, not Freud, which has the notion of a plural and situated self (see Kristeva and Black Sun). It’s also a Catholic thing and a Marxist thing, neither of which fits Derrida. Look at Deleuze — What is philosophy. The subject does not exist, it arises from being a position in (there) a discipline or a symbolic order (Lacan’s version). Thus subject POSITIONS are critical, not SUBJECT. If Vallejo ventriloquizes different subjects, it’s because he’s interested in post-Marxist concepts of plural subjects. I’ll stop now. I don’t know Vallejo but have worked with enough LA-ists to ask pointed questions. It’s not non-Western, it’s collectivist Western, which lost in Europe and Anglo-America (Calvinist countries all – “all about me”) which half of France (Deleuze/Foucault/Bourdieu half) remembers, too.

This is Vallejo.

Graniza tánto, como para que yo recuerde
y acreciente las perlas
que he recogido del hocico mismo
de cada tempestad.

No se vaya a secar esta lluvia.
A menos que me fuese dado
caer ahora para ella, o que me enterrasen
mojado en el agua
que surtiera de todos los fuegos.

¿Hasta dónde me alcanzará esta lluvia?
Temo me quede con algún flanco seco;
temo que ella se vaya, sin haberme probado
en las sequías de increíbles cuerdas vocales,
por las que,
para dar armonía,
hay siempre que subir ¡nunca bajar!
¿No subimos acaso para abajo?

Canta, lluvia, en la costa aún sin mar!

Axé.

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