THE FINAL JUDGMENT – César Vallejo

It’s rare that we think of César Vallejo as anything other than a poet – granted, “poet” is usually accompanied by some qualifier, like unprecedented or idiosyncratic – but it must not be overlooked that,  if one sifts through the Vallejo papers, one finds that the poetry astonishingly accounts for only about one sixth of the whole. This reading of Vallejo exclusively as a poet, admittedly more common in the North than in the Continue reading

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Reevaluating the Poetry of Pablo Neruda

The poetry of Pablo Neruda is no secret to English language readers. His has been more extensively translated than that of any other South American poet. And while this is usually to the poet’s favor, certain popular collections (for example, the 20 sonetos de amor…) have been groped by translators and reconfigured with the same whimsical prattle that prevents us from reading in English translation the works of someone like the Sufi poet, Jalaluddin Rumi. On the other hand, Neruda’s political poems are not so easy to be groped and exchange romantic nostalgia for a more “blood coloured Continue reading

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I, AND OTHER VICIOUS CIRCLES – Jorge Plaza

Spanish poet, native of Murcia, Jorge Plaza has not long ago published Yo, y otros círculos viciosos (Idea, 2010) in Arrefice, Lanzarote, and he would like us to read it as poets, so much he says in the introduction: assuming the I that he has put forth, as itself. While I was reading these poems and starting to think about I, and other vicious circles, I was struck by the strange tonality of a chord that was ringing through several poems in a confluence of intimacy and desolation, and it then occured to me that, to assume the I of the poem as a poet, I would have to translate. So, here is a reading, I mean a writing, in compliance with the author’s wishes. Continue reading

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VISIONS FROM THE FRAME – Roberto García de Mesa

In 2008 Roberto García de Mesa published a fascinating book of “microcuentos” or “flash-fiction,” titled Visiones desde el marco (Idea) [1]. The eighteen brief texts point to new territory in the trajectory of his narrative. As he is largely known as a poet & playwrite, García de Mesa has ventured a type of narration that attempts the greatest amount of brevity as possible while at once questioning the effectiveness of its own principle device. In Visions from the Frame, as in much of García de Mesa’s poetic and dramatic writing, we again are met with a perspective from the place that marks the brief intermediate space, between the real and unreal, between the gesture and the movement that gives meaning to transition. Copies of the book can be obtained here. And I encourage you to visit García de Mesa’s blog, Los espacios intermedios. Continue reading

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APOLONIA – Mario Domínguez Parra

Apolonia (Idea, 2006) is a book of poems by Mario Domínguez Parra, poet & translator from the Canary Islands, Spain. Other poems from this collection have been translated by Maureen Alsop and published in the 2010 Autumn Issue of Poetry Salzburg Review. Born in Alicante, in 1972, Domínguez Parra has translated into Spanish works from British, American and Modern Greek authors (his most recent translation, Rastreadores del fin by N.G. Lykomitros).

Here, we have Domínguez Parra’s poetic debut. A complex book of cantos filled with Mediterranean salt and space, an emptiness & a grittiness, in a crumbling world. The poet, like an archeologist having uncovered deteriorated ruins, recreates & yet updates the structures with the brutal syntax of language in torsion. An examination of the fault-lines & a measurement of the techtonic movement in both macro and micro kosmos, convene in this poetry of perserverence, languaged by barbaric tongues. Continue reading

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THE OTHER IMPERIALISM – César Vallejo

The Other Imperialism is the first chapter of Toward the Kingdom of the Scriris, one of César Vallejo’s not often celebrated novellas. First drafted on board the steamship Oroyo sailing from Peru to France in 1923the novella would be finished in 1928, and then in December 1937 and the first weeks of 1938, revamped completely and transformed into the stunning indigenist tragic drama, The Tired Stone. My translation presented here forms part of The Selected Writings of César Vallejo, an anthology in progress. Continue reading

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VESTIGES OF BIN LADEN

Does anyone else keep getting the eerie feeling that generations to come may look back on the times we’re living in now and feel aghast? Crippled by insomnia, I stay up all night thinking that I hear someone laughing in the next room. Osama Bin Laden is dead. Shot in the eye by a U.S. Navy Seal. When president Obama declared this on live television, a seismic shock rippled across the borders of the world. Continue reading

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GOOD MORNING, DARK TIMES – Gustavo Faverón Patriau

PUTTING AN END TO MEDIOCRITY IN PERU

Looking at the Peruvian electoral results, there are a number of evident truths that, in the light of day, are painful to see. The first of these is the fact that a large portion of Lima’s upper class, which for several decades supported multiple dictatorships (including Alberto Fujimori’s in the 90s), stubbornly continues to be smitten by authoritarian solutions. Continue reading

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INTERSTITIAL PIXELS

The Art of Questioning Perception

I cannot begin to recall how many times I’ve crossed New York State on I-90. From Batavia, where I grew up, to Albany where I studied, or passing Erie & to the Iron City of Pittsburgh, my last home before moving to the Hudson Valley. But, it is wrong to say that I “crossed” the state on this road, since this is one of those highways that unfolds before a traveler, magnetically pulling bodies forth like an undertow & opening up into ever wider expanses. Where I-90 passes Albany, the earth rests quietly in a patch of flatlands that span the triangular gap between the rising Catskills to the south, the Berkshires to the east & the Adirondacks to the north. Space there, in this sense, opens in a westward direction. Continue reading

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THREE PIECES OF THE UNIVERSE

Late in his life, poet & visual artist Jorge Eduardo Eielson published an extraordinary book of poems that bears the paradoxical title: Untitled (2000). Extraordinary, because it was produced after a fifteen year abstention from the literary arts, during which all of the Eielson’s endeavors would be relegated to visual media. Untitled (Sin título, Pre-Textos: Valencia, 2000) showed that it was possible to produce a cohesive aesthetic across multiple media. These translations are drawn from a large anthology in-progress that I continue to chip away at.  Continue reading

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