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culture in translation

Literatura | Entrevistas | Publicaciones nĂşmero 02 - December 2011 - ÂŁ 5 - ISSN 2046-


Alba London 02 november 2011 Editor Jessica Pujol Duran Editorial team Guille Bravo Richard Parker

contents Is there a women’s literature in post-modern Spain? The writers’ response Mazal Oaknin

Cover Gregorio Fontén Translators Guillermo Laín, Jonay Sevillano Jon Moore Jessica Pujol Photographers: Lorenza Ippolito Francesca Moore Design JBC Webdesign Gregorio Fontén

Maria-Mercè Marçal: traducir es una opción vital Noèlia Diaz Vicedo

Interview with Chilean artist Johanna Berger, founder of Blank Gallery Lorenza Ippolito

El tiempo de Trilce William Rowe

Spicer and Lorca, their utilities Richard Parker

Das kapital David Roas Jessica Pujol

Poetry section: Salvador Espriu Joan Salvat-Papasseit Joan Brossa Harry Gilonis Elisabeth James Ramón Gómez de la Serna James McGonigal Tony Lopez Pablo Neruda Elisabeth Guthrie María Vistoria Atencia Roberta Quance Aurelia Lassaque Felip Costaglioli Laia Noguera James Thomas Jack Spicer Jessica Pujol Amy De’Ath Jessica Pujol Maria Mercè Marçal Noèlia Diaz Vicedo


Alba London ISSN 2046-3936

John Ashbery Melcion Mateu Ezra Pound Dirceu Villa Carlos Fernández López

Mazal Oaknin


Is there a


literature in

post-modern Spain? The writers’


The “special” and double-edged position of “women’s literature” – it is at once highly marketed and rendered invisible–makescriticsuncomfortable and makes authors wonder whether the category itself may lead women writers into a trap Christine Henseler The question as to whether it is possible to ascribe a gender difference to writing has repeatedly been addressed as a constant in interviews with Spanish women authors of the post-war and democracy periods.1 While most 1 Luis García, ‘Entrevista a Almudena Grandes’, (2002) <http://www.literaturas. com/EntrevistaAGrandes2002.htm> [accessed 22 June 2010]; María del Mar López-Cabrales, ‘Esther Tusquets. Entrevista’, en Palabras de mujeres (Madrid: Narcea, 2000), pp. 151-166; Santiago Velázquez, ‘Rosa Regás: “Hoy sólo se habla de literatura en los jurados de los premios”’, Espéculo, 19 (2002) < info/especulo/numero19/regas.html> [accessed 22 June 2010]; Marta Salvador, ‘Entrevista a Espido Freire (II)’, < entrevistas/freire/index3.html> [accessed 22 June 2010]; África Prado, ‘Laura Freixas: “Es falso que haya un boom de la literatura femenina”’, Informació <http://

femaleauthorsbornduringtheFranco regime tend to reject the notion of a women’s literature, the trend among the more contemporary women writers is to celebrate this gender difference, and to consider that writing by women is different from writing by men. Thus, Lucía Etxebarria (born in 1966) champions women’s literature in her essay Con nuestra propia voz: a favor de la literatura femenina: La literatura femenina, en general, amalgama un mismo punto de vista expresado desde diferentes voces, la perspectiva que emana de nuestra haya-boom-literatura-femenina/982279.html>[accessed 22 June 2010]; among many others.


propianaturalezademujeres.Tenemos nuestro propio estilo y ámbito de creación, porque la creación es inherente a lo que el escritor o la escritora vive’.2 On the other hand, the more veteran Carmen Posadas (born in 1953) defends that, whereas there is a male and a female viewpoint, ‘al final sólo hay buena literatura y mala literatura’.3 Whereas her opinions are representative of the trend supported by most of her contemporaries, these arguments appear to expose the main tendencies in the literary market contended by women writers nowadays. Among these, their opinions mainly evidence the existence of segregation policies and of negative allusions to women authors’ sex and gender in the literary criticism and literary market fields.


This article will start with a brief introduction to Laura Freixas’ analysis of the main trends affecting women in the literary industry at the present moment. Special emphasis will be placed on the coexisting policies of integration and segregation, as well as on the commonly made allusions to sex and gender in works by women authors. These trends are particularly linked to the question of how literature by women should be treated. Overall, as we shall see, the writers quoted challenge the critical establishment’s treatment of women’s literature as a literature that only has women characters as its protagonists, and that is only aimed at a female readership, for it only deals with ‘women’s issues’. Is women’s literature different from men’s literature? Or is it just treated differently? Laura Freixas’ canonical analysis of the situation of Spanish women writers in the year 2000 was informed 2 Lucía Etxebarria, ‘Con nuestra propia voz: a favor de la literatura de mujeres’, in La letra futura (Barcelona: Destino, 2000) 3 ‘Entrevista. Diario de Navarra’, Carmen <> [accessed 22 June 2010]

by a series of trends that have shaped the publishing industry as we know it today.4 These trends, intimately linked to the recentness of the mass incorporation of women writers into the literary market, are ultimately tied in with the question of the existence of a women’s literature. Freixas starts her argument by noticing that today, women writers are highly visible and ‘accessible’ through their appearances in different media, which according to her creates the illusion that women are a majority in the literary market (Freixas, p. 38). Glossy photographs of women writers often inundate literary articles in prestigious magazines such as Qué Leer and Época; and the review and comment of their texts on popular television programs can even lead to all sorts of personal questions.5 As a result of their promotional visibility, Henseler explains, women authors have become commercial icons,6 which comes in clear contrast to their numerical inferiority in the literary market. In effect, after learning that the number of writers that had published narrative books in 1999 in the main Spanish publishing houses (Alfaguara, Anagrama, Destino, Planeta, Plaza y Janés, Seix Barral, and Tusquets) was 129, Laura Freixas concluded that the proportion of women was of only 24% (Freixas, pp. 35-36). It is interesting to note that, conversely to the number of women writers whose books get published, the majority of readers are women (Freixas, p. 39). Thus, after compiling and analysing three reading polls carried out by the Spanish Ministry of Social Affairs in 1978, 1985, and 4 See also Laura Freixas, ‘Mujeres y cultura: una breve arqueología de la misoginia reinante’, Letras libres, October 2005 < index.php?art=10774> [accessed 17 August 2010] 5 In her role as editor of Lo que los hombres no saben. El sexo contado por las mujeres (2008), Lucía Etxebarria was interviewed by Marta Robles as part of the booklaunching.Theinterview,broadcastedonTelemadrid on the 17th of March of 2008, soon left the literary arena to move on to much more intimate questions. To watch the complete interview, see < watch?v=mgX1aORFios> [accessed 5 July 2010] 6 Christine Henseler, Contemporary Spanish Women’sNarrativeandthePublishingIndustry(Urbanaand Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2003), pp. 16-17.

1990, sociologist Enrique Gil Calvo concluded that, in Spain, the number of women readers is superior, both in absolute and in relative terms, to the number of male readers.7 As a consequence of their greater visibility and wider readership, most publishing houses and literary institutions are keen to attract women (Freixas, p. 39). This could be due to the fact that, according to writer Clara Obligado, the destiny of a book is sealed before it arrives to the bookshops. Hence, although each author can have a certain say in the way their book will be presented, and even though there is always a small margin of error; publishing houses already know whether the book will sell or not. This could depend on the promotional material invested on each book and on how popular the author is, and these coordinates are more apparent in the case of women writers because they have become commercial icons.8 On the other hand, most academic studies and research on literature by women seldom reach the general public (Freixas, p. 39). This could be simply due to the fact that Women’s Studies are based on the Anglo-Saxon tradition. Given that most feminist criticism bibliography is written in English, it would be logical to expect that the majority of experts in Spanish women authors are AngloAmerican, or Spaniards working at Anglosaxon institutions (Freixas, p. 81). Women writers’ participation at Spanish literary institutions parallels this virtual lack of academic studies on their works. With the exception of some notable authors such as Ana María Matute, women writers are rarely represented in the most traditionalandprestigiousinstitutions. The Royal Academy of the Spanish Language, for example, counts forty three male members and only four 7 Enrique Gil Calvo, La era de las lectoras. El cambio cultural de las mujeres españolas (Madrid: Instituto de la Mujer, Ministerio de Asuntos Sociales, 1983), p. 120. 8 ‘Clara Obligado. Autobiographical sketches, in Christine Henseler, Contemporary Spanish Women’s Narrative and the Publishing Industry (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2003), pp. 131133.

female ones. Another trend currently contended by women writers refers to the fact that both integration and segregation policies coexist in the literary market. Thus, while some anthologies displaying a universal thematic thread only include male authors, other anthologies are limited towomenauthors.Likewise,mentions to women authors’ sex and gender are relatively common, and often made in a negative light, in the literary criticism field. On the other hand, allusions to the question of male identity in the case of a male author, his readers, or his characters are virtually unknown. In fact, the way women authors contend with all these trends will determine their commercial success or their literary prestige. Generally, the more commercially successful she is, the less highly regarded her work in terms of its literary significance or prestige. The last two trends are particularly significant when considering each woman writer’s views on the question of the existence of a female literature. Women writers often denounce the absence or misrepresentation of women authors in mixed anthologies, prizes, or congresses. For instance, none of the works examined in the volume La inmigración en la literatura española contemporánea, which has a clearly mixed approach, has been written by a female author.9 This seems striking when one considers that immigration is a very real and very current phenomenon in today’s Spain, affecting men and women alike. Furthermore, the number of women immigrants has risen sharply in recent years, partly due to increasing demand for workers to do jobs with low pay and prestige. For example, most of the workforce in the domestic service sector is female. Likewise, no female authors are studied in La literatura española en el exilio: un estudio comparativo, even though nothing 9 Irene Andrés-Suárez, Marco Kunz, and Inés D’Ors (eds.), La inmigración en la literatura española contemporánea (Madrid: Verbum, 2002)



nĂşmero 02

in the title suggests that the book will only deal with male authors.10 When female writers attempt to fight this misrepresentation by creating women-only collections and events, they will in this way make a case for women writers and will encourage the open public to take them into consideration. However, this selfexclusion will give the impression of a literary space of their own, and the exclusion of men only ultimately reinforces the segregation these same women are attempting to redress. As Henseler puts it, ‘the “special” and double-edged position of “women’s literature” – it is at once highly marketed and rendered invisible – makes critics uncomfortable and makes authors wonder whether the category itself may lead women writers into a trap’ (Henseler, p. 16). In this respects, Almudena Grandes explains that it is the absence of the term ‘male literature’ what makes her uncomfortable: ‘No me gusta el término ‘literatura femenina’, aunque no tendría ningún inconveniente en admitirlo si existiera el término ‘literatura masculina’.11 Espido Freire, on the other hand, warns against the risks involved in the use of the term ‘literatura femenina’ by the critical establishment: ‘Una de las maneras más frecuentes de discriminación es la que impone la dictadura de la llamada literatura femenina […] cada vez que se menciona que un autor o una autora escribe literatura femenina inmediatamente se le está despreciando’.12 Women writers have tended to respond in one of two ways when asked whether the labels of‘feminine’ or ‘feminist’ could be applied to their works. Either to deny the existence of gender difference in writing and 10 Michael Ugarte, La literatura española en el exilio: un estudio comparativo (Madrid: SigloVeintiuno, 1999) 11 ‘Encuentro digital con Almudena Grandes’, < entrevistas/almudena-grandes/51/> [accessed 25 June 2010] 12 Espido Freire, ‘Conferencia: “Problemática de la mujer en la juventud”’, El Correo Digital < html> [accessed 25 June 2010]

to suggest such labelling ghettoises writing by women, or to admit to and celebrate gender difference. Thus, on the one hand, writers such as Dulce Chacón deny the existence of a women’s literature and contend that such a label looks down on female writers: La literatura femenina no existe, existe una literatura escrita por mujeres y una literatura escrita por hombres, escrita por homosexuales, escrita por morenos, por rubios, por pelirrojos... Pero solamente a la literatura escrita por mujeres se le pone un apelativo, ‘femenina’. Eso me parece que es menospreciar a la mujer que escribe. La literatura no necesita de adjetivos, es universal.13 On the other hand, the trend supported by authors such as Laura Freixas avows that female literature is different from writing by men. In The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman WriterandNineteenthCenturyLiterary Imagination, Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar assert that literature by women has been traditionally marked by its authors' feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and self-doubt which result from their education.14 According to them, these ‘phenomena of inferiorizationmarkthewomanwriter’s struggle for artistic self-definition and differentiate her efforts at self-creation from those of her male counterpart’ (Gilbert and Gubar, p. 50). Whereas the foci of difference have never been unanimously established, what it is widely recognised by critics such as Hélène Cixous,15 and Anette Kolodny,16 13 Vicente Alapont, ‘Entrevista a Dulce Chacón’, <http://www.mujeractual. com/entrevistas/chacon/index.html> [accessed 25 June 2010] 14 Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The MadwomanintheAttic:TheWomanWriterandNineteenth Century Literary Imagination (New Haven:Yale University Press, 1979), pp. 59-60. 15 In ‘Sorties: Out and Out: Attacks/Ways/ Forays’, Hélène Cixous proposes difference, multiplicity and heterogeneity as a means to combat the binary patriarchal system. See Hélène Cixous, ‘Sorties: Out and Out: Attacks/Ways/Forays’ in The Feminist Reader. Essays in Gender and the Politics of Literary Criticism, ed. by Catherine Belsey and Jane Moore (London:Macmillan, 1997), pp. 101-116, (p. 101). 16 For Anette Kolodny, the individual consi-


and by authors such as Lucía Etxebarria (2000), and Laura Freixas thatwomen’s writing has brought new topics, a different sensitivity, and new character models to literature: ‘creo que existe una literatura femenina o de mujeres con características propias […] La [aportación] más específica se centra en ampliar la gama de personajes femeninos y presentarlos como personajes con valor por sí mismos y en sus relaciones entre mujeres y no sólo con los hombres’.17 Interestingly, Tsuchiya notes that in Spain, perhaps because their life experiences parallel the increasingly promotional demands of the book market, the latter trend is generally followed by the generation born in the 1960s and 1970s (Tsuchiya, p. 240). In her essay ‘The “new” Female Subject and the Commodification of Gender in the Works of Lucía Etxebarria’, Tsuchiya explores the process by which Etxebarria, like so many other women writers in the Spanish literary market nowadays, exploits the market through the treatment of a series of 'temas de moda'. By doing this, Etxebarria contributes to the creation of a 'new' readership from which the publishing industry can benefit at the same time.18 Thus, for writers such as Espido Freire or Lucía Etxebarria, the often denounced ‘selling out’ of the publishing industry is a natural part of their lives. On the other hand, the life experiences of most writers born under Franco are not detached from


deration of each author would allow us to observe if any particular stylistic patterns recur in female fiction. She finds reflexive perception and inversion to be the most persistent ones. Reflexive perception takes place when a character finds herself, or parts of herself, in unexpected or incomprehensible situations. Inversion, on the other hand, happens when the stereotypical images of women in literature are subverted with the purpose of humour, revelation of their hidden reality, or connotation of their opposites. See Toril Moi, Sexual/Textual Politics, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge, 2002), pp. 70-71. 17 María Bengoa, ‘Laura Freixas. El camino es fácil para el escritor serio y para la escritora frívola’, El Correo 7th June 2000, < freixascriticas4.htm> [accessed 25 June 2010] 18 Akiko Tsuchiya, ‘The “new” Female Subject and the Commodification of Gender in the Works of Lucía Etxebarria’, Romance Studies, 20, 1 (2002), 77-87.

número 02

the civil war and Transition periods. Women authors born in this period, such as Esther Tusquets, tend to reject the notion of a women’s literature. Tusquets, for instance, denounces the segregation of women’s writings that the critical establishment carries out through the inclusion of what she calls ‘el apartado de las mujeres’, which is usually presented as separate from what is considered as serious, universal literature.19 As we have seen, Spanish women writers have, over the years, tried to contend this persistent, long-lasting situation. In fact, despite the work done by so-called second generation feminists, it is striking that writers of the stature of Montero, Grandes, or Tusquets – to name a few – still have, in the early years of the 21st century, to denounce the way their works are treated by a critical establishment which is traditionally male. This segregation has been made even worse by the increasing commercialisation of book-selling, which makes it especially difficult for women writers to balance their public image and their work.

19 Geraldine C. Nichols, Escribir. Espacio propio. Laforet, Matute, Moix, Tusquets, Riera y Roig por sí mismas. (Minneapolis, MN: Institute for the Study of Ideologies and Literatures, 1989), p. 80.

Noèlia Diaz Vicedo


Maria-Mercè Marçal:


es una opción


La paradójica, y muchas veces conflictiva, consideración y menosprecio entre el traductor y el poeta solamente puede ser entendida desde la superficialidad creativa o la ignorancia literaria. El poder de seducción de una obra de arte, sobretodo de un poema, viene determinado por la capacidad del escritor de configurar el cuerpo y el alma de su creación. Una actividad vital que conecta el poema al poeta y la escritura a una forma específica de existencia. La composición de un poema, la persecución armónica de la palabra, el sonido, el ritmo interno y externo de los versos hacen al escritor ascender vertiginosamente hasta la sublimidad del alma que busca atraparlos en el espacio y en el tiempo, para que tan solo unos instantes después descienda hacia la nada y deje al poeta desposeído y vacío, extrañamente frío y endeble. De esta forma el poeta se da a sí mismo, por completo, al poder de la palabra. Y su condena constante le remite a la incesante búsqueda que

logre calmar esta sed de sublimidad que intermitentemente le alimenta. El poeta se dejar enredar en el ritmo que le va guiando a través del poema. Sin posibilidad de volver, se despoja de su alma para entregarla a la palabra que una vez vertida sobre el papel ya no le pertenece. Si la prioridad de cualquier gran poeta es adecuar este impulso de la escritura a su propia mirada, ¿no es esta una prioridad también para el traductor? ¿No es el traductor quien sostiene la tensión que late entre dos lenguas diferentes que esperan compartir su existencia? ¿Qué es pues la traducción, sino una transposición del alma? Aquellos autores que conciben la escritura como un proceso de autocreación, como la poeta catalana Maria-Mercè Marçal (Barcelona 1952-1998), la traducción corresponde, tal y como nos dice el pensador Walter Benjamin, a ‘un modo’ de escribir, de explorar otras dimensiones lingüísticas y simbólicas, de abarcar otros espacios



y otros cuerpos1. Marçal busca la re-creación de sí misma a través del ritmo de los versos, de la intensidad de las imágenes y la posibilidad de construcción de nuevos significados que la estructura poética ofrece. El año 1992 después de haber publicado toda su poesía en vida reunida en el volumen La lengua abolida (19731989), Marçal así lo explicaba: ‘la poesía ha tenido para mí una función: la de estructurarme, de darme un discurso sobre mi misma.También me sirve como una segunda memoria, y no porque me haga pensar en lo que hice concretamente; sino porque me recuerda mis conflictos íntimos, las diferentes fases de mi lucha con la vida’ (Marçal 1992: 43, mi traducción). Esta lucha con la vida tuvo un eje central entorno al cuál se articula toda su producción literaria: la

identidad femenina. La exploración de esta identidad, su identidad, en el espacio poético y a través del lenguaje es lo que define el ars poetica marçaliana. Este eje ‘mujer’ hace girar el universo marçaliano de la escritura y lo convierte no solamente en práctica literaria, sino también en su propia forma de existencia: ‘soy alguien’, nos dice Marçal, ‘una mujer que escribe’2. Esta mujer que escribe, lo hace desde distintos campos entre ellos el de la traducción. Entender la literatura como una actividad propia del yo interior, nos lleva a considerar el lenguaje como el espacio en el que los significados, símbolos y estructuras lingüísticas se entremezclan. El lenguaje no sólo permite la transferencia de equivalentes entre dos lenguas sino que arrastra consigo las imágenes, los códigos que conforman el alma



Ver Benjamin 1999: 71.

Ver Marçal 2004: 21-24

del poema, aquello que los versos quieren expresar. Y esta es, la característica principal para que un poema pueda ser traducido y lo sea con éxito, aquello que Benjamin en su reflexión sobre la función del traductor ha denominado como la ‘traducibilidad’. La traducibilidad, responde en toda su capacidad a la condición poética que, a pesar de la transformación lingüística, queda intacta, inmutable en su esencia comunicativa. Esta condición es la que permite al escritor penetrar en la piel del poema y someterlo a la transposición de códigos, es decir, de lenguas. Es cierto, que en este proceso las palabras nunca son equivalentes, no son capaces de llegar a la correspondencia absoluta entre ambas lenguas. De forma general se ha denominado a esta incapacidad del lenguaje — por su limitación — de acoger el significado completo de la lengua original, como ‘lo que se pierde’. Traducir en este sentido apela a una actividad lingüística que nada tiene que ver con la simple mecánica de intercambiar palabras entre diferentes lenguajes. En Marçal, la traducción nunca es un mero ejercicio sino una práctica vital, parte de su horizonte literario de autocreación, en el que vida y escritura van estrechamente ligadas. Hablar de Marçal como traductora es pues inseparable de hablar de ella como escritora y sobretodo como poeta. Aunque la traducción no fue su actividad fundamental, si que ocupa un lugar central e importante dentro del conjunto de su obra. Maria-Mercè Marçal empezó su carrera poética con el poemario Cau de llunes que ganó el premio Carles Riba en 1976. A este libro le sucedieron los poemarios Bruixa de dol (1979), Sal oberta (1982), Terra de mai (1982), La germana, l’estrangera (1985) y Desglaç (1989). Marçal también fue autora de una sola novela sobre la escritora francesa de origen inglés Renée Vivien La pasión según Renée Vivien (1994) ganadora de los más prestigiosos premios de novela de la literatura

catalana. Entre sus actividades literarias más destacadas se encuentran los ensayos literarios en los que explora la interacción entre mujer y escritura recopilados por Mercè Ibarz en el libro MariaMercè Marçal: Sota el signe del drac. Proses 1985-1997 (2004). Su interés por la producción literaria de otras poetas, la llevó a realizar tareas de crítica literaria y publicó estudios sobre las obras de las poetas catalanas Clementina Arderiu (Barcelona 1889-1976), Rosa Leveroni (1910-1985) y la mallorquina Maria Antònia Salvà (Palma de Mallorca, 1869 - Llucmajor, 1958). Su ferviente propósito de ahondar en las raíces de su propia existencia como mujer poeta, la llevaron a indagar en las obras no solo de estas autoras sino de otras extranjeras que leyó con gran pasión como Virgina Woolf, Djuna Barnes, Katherine Mansfield, etc. algunas de las cuales sintió tal admiración personal y literaria que tradujo algunos de sus trabajos al catalán. Tradujo del francés La dona amagada de la escritora Colette en 1985, de Margueritte Yourcenar tradujo El tret de gràcia y de la surrealista Leonor Fini tradujo el relato L’oneiropompe en 1992. Del ruso también conreó la traducción de poesía, en colaboración con Monika Zgustová, de las autoras rusas Anna Akhmàtova Rèquiem i altres poemas en 1990 y Poema de la fi de Marina Tsvetàieva en 19923. De todas ellas y de su propósito de traducción Marçal dijo: ‘he hecho una opción, una opción vital: pienso que tengo una vida limitada y que me es absolutamente necesario contactar con un cierto principio femenino que sea fuerza y no debilidad […] No es que me parezca mal dedicarme a traducir Maiakovski, por ejemplo, pero se que Marina Tsvetàieva me dirá mas cosas sobre mi que no Maiakovski. Y también me interesa más Tsvetàieva, ponemos por caso, porque si pensamos que hacemos 3 Hay una edición conjunta publicada en 2004 por la editorial Proa Versions d’Akhmàtova i Tsvetàieva. Com en la nit les flames.


literatura a partir de aquello que somos, entonces necesitamos un tipo de ayuda que nos permita conectar con nosotros mismos. De hecho, como decía Virginia Woolf en Una habitación propia, las mujeres conectamos con el pasado a través de nuestras madres, las madres reales. Pero también hay unas madres simbólicas que nos hace falta buscar e investigar si no queremos ser presas de unos parámetros culturales absolutamente androcéntricos’ (1992: 43). Cuando Marçal habla de las autoras que ha traducido o de su trabajo de traducción lo hace como crítica incluso cuando se refiriere a los aspectos más técnicos, dónde lleva todo el peso de la acción al poder de la palabra y lo que significa para ella como escritora. De esta manera describía su experiencia al traducir a Colette: ‘Me gusta Colette, me parece importante […] Sobre todo tiene un lenguaje riquísimo, muy florido, muy sensual, las palabras tienen un peso muy fuerte por ellas mismas, por su sonido’ (Marçal en Montero 2004: 92).


La traducción, pues en Marçal resta lejos de una acción estéril. Al contrario, nos acerca no solamente a la capacidad creativa de la propia autora sino al universo de las autoras que traduce. Marçal como traductora, se mueve oscilante en el vaivén entre dos cuerpos que danzan al compás de su propia batuta vital. Esto, lejos queda, de cualquier indicio de profanar el poema original, como algunos escritores han sugerido. Traducir estas autoras no es solamente reconstruirlas en otro cuerpo, hacerlas vibrar en otra lengua, sino que es sumergirse en otras almas, buscar entre los devaneos rítmicos una fuente de inspiración, de reflejo que le sirva para anclar su propio deseo femenino. Marçal bebe en las aguas cristalinas de ellas como si de una fuente se tratara, se nutre de su sabiduría en la que encuentra un remanso de paz, una número 02

figura referencial que le pueda servir como punto de apoyo en sus propios horizontes poéticos y en su propia existencia. Traducir es en Marçal una opción vital. Referencias Benjamin, Walter. 1999. ‘The Task of the Translator’, Illuminations. London: Pimlico, pp. 70-82. Biosca, Mercè y Cornado Mari Pau. 1992. ‘Maria-Mercè Marçal o l’ordenació de la vida a través de la poesia’. Escriptors d’Avui. Perfils Literaris. Lleida: Publicacions de La Paeria, pp. 36-43. Marçal, Maria-Mercè. 2004. ‘Qui sóc i per què escric’, en Maria-Mercè Marçal. Sota el Signe del drac : Proses 1985-1997. Barcelona: Proa, pp. 21-24. Montero, Anna. 2004. ‘Anna Montero entrevista Maria-Mercè Marçal’, Lectora, no. 10: 259-84.

Poesía Cau de llunes. Barcelona: Proa, 1977 (1998, 2a edició). Bruixa de dol.. Sant Boi de Llobregat: Llibres del Mall, 1979 / Barcelona: Ed. 62, 1998. Terra de mai. València: El Cingle, 1982. Sal oberta. Sant Boi de Llobregat: Llibres del Mall, 1982 / Barcelona: Ed. 62, 1993. La germana, l’estrangera. Sant Boi de Llobregat: Llibres del Mall, 1985 / Barcelona: Ed. 62, 1995. Desglaç Barcelona: Ed. 62 - Empúries, 1988 (1998, 2a ed). Llengua abolida (1973-1988).València: 3 i 4, 1989 (2000, 2a ed). Raó del cos. Barcelona: Ed. 62 Empúries, 2000.

Traducciones (del francés) La dona amagada. COLETTE. Barcelona: Edicions del Mall, 1985. El tret de gràcia. MARGUERITE YOURCENAR. Barcelona: Edicions B, 1990. L’Oneiropompe. LEONOR FINI. Barcelona: Edicions de l’Eixample, 1992. (del ruso con Monika Zgustová)

Lorenza Ippolito


Interview with Chilean artist

Johanna Berger, founder of

Blank Gallery Launched in April 2007, Blank is a studio and gallery complex run entirely by artists. Its purpose is to house and support contemporary art in all its forms. The artists based at Blank produce a vibrant and eclectic work, includingvisualandsoundinstallation, performance and community based events. Situated at the edge of Hove in Portslade, Blank is a pioneering contemporary art venue attracted by the remoteness of the industrial wilderness.

war period, there have been art movement that have preceded their European counterparts by 10 years, but only the Western ones have been acknowledged in art history books. Even in South America these artists and movements were not recognised until the official Academia recognised their value, by inscribing them in Art History. But a lot gets lost in the process.

Lorenza Ippolito. I am going to start by asking you a few questions about yourself. You come from Chile. Do you feel you are working from a Latin American viewpoint?

J.B. For example, a Brasilian artist called Lydia Clark. She completely rejected the art world and the economically driven art market. She was an artist that worked with a particular type of performance art around the 40s and 50s doing really radical performances that recall what weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to do here now in Blank. These events were socially engaged, community based work, but taken to a really bonkers extreme. She was interested in staging social experiments that involved people and their interaction. Some performances involved many people in public

Johanna Berger. It is an interesting question. Chilean art culture has a very specific way of understanding and experiencing art. In the past, Latin American influence in the arts hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always been recognised, especially in Europe. Now, it is becoming more apparent that South America is a place of innovation in the contemporary art scene. Starting from the post-

L.I. Can you give me an example?



spaces, but also other really weird and wonderful things. L.I. A bit like flash mobs? J.B. No, I am talking about a completely different thing. These performanceswerehugeandinvolved the audience, so that the audience would be participants, but also part of the piece. Some of these performances were big and some were one-to-one. They remind me of New York happenings from the 60s and the Fluxus Movement, much before the happenings had started, though. Because she [Lydia Clark] rejected the whole art scene and the art market, she didn’t really become famous as such. She was well know and appreciated, but more by artists and became a university professor in Brazil. But it’s only now in 2011 that there are retrospectives of her work and the academic world is taking an interest in her life and work. I think there was a retrospective at the Haywards Gallery. When I lived in Chile, I wasn’t really aware of this. It wasn’t until I actually

started studying it at university that I understood these hidden histories. I went to University in Chile and it changed my life. It changed completely my outlook on things and to this day I operate from a different perspective thanks to that experience. L.I. That sounds really interesting I’d like to hear more. I don’t know if it’s relevant to the interview, but I would like you to go on. J.B. La Escuela de Arquitectura y Diseño de la Univesidad Católica de Valparaiso is an architecture and design school in Chile. I specialised in Design, but because of the way the institution was structured we all studied together most of the time. Differently from other places, we were not taught any practical skills, so I can’t design for toffee, really. I have an eye for it, but I didn’t learn how to use the basic technical tools. The same applies to the architecture department, from its foundation the school chose not to teach design plans, pupils were encouraged only to draw their ideas.


They would obviously teach all the basics about materials, structures and construction, but not to design proper plans. A good example of the universities philosophy is the Travesias. In essence, each year the whole Architecture and Design School would engage for an entire term in a Travesia. This meant travelling to an uninhabited place in the middle of nowhere. It was a journey in many ways. My class went to an uninhabited island in the southern fjords of Chile, where it rains nearly 300 days a year. We where in tents and accompanied by a couple of professors. The idea of the exercise was to build and invent everything we needed to live there. We had to first design and then build our own tents and cooking things. Everything was about looking and making. This experience took us out of our reality and a lot out of our comfort zone so, that we could begin to see things differently. It was incredible; everybody was writing, drawing and sketching all the time. It was like being on drugs, but without the drugs; in a permanent state of “wow”.


I think they wanted to form individuals, who were creative in whatever area they were interested in. Changethewaythingsconventionally work. L.I. I know what you mean; the teachers wanted you to ask yourselves if the traditional way was the best way. Or is there a better way of doing things? J.B. Yeah. Can we do it in a different way…but also before that paying attention to what we are experiencing something and how are we experiencing it. L.I. If what you have learnt at University is what I think you have, you are interested in having a more global understanding of experiences. It’s not just about a one-dimensional experience…I mean you either paint or you draw or you sculpt or you make a house. It’s more about everybody

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does everything or do people have specific roles. J.B. There are some specific roles within it, but it is important to have an overview. For me it’s important to have a wider perspective. The way I see it, each thing is a tool. So when you draw, when you use the medium of drawing, it is as a tool to SEE something. [At the university] we used to have this subject called Cultura del Cuerpo, culture of the body. Every year, a huge tournament would be organised involving the whole University, where every class would have to design an object that would be used in a final tournaments, like a race. L.I. Was it like P.E.? J.B. No, I’ll show you some books one day. We made the most beautiful things. We would have to start from platonic shapes, like geometric 3-D shapes. Some looked like stars, for example. I remember we made some huge ones. You could fit one or more people inside them. Just the designs of them were beautiful. But, they were made with bamboo sticks and roughly placed together. We build quite a few different ones and it took a long time. They became stunning pieces of sculpture. The day of the tournament we had to race them. We took them to the beach, a very flat and long beautiful beach. Some of these constructions had people inside them, some need to be pushed. They even made beautiful marks in the sand. L.I. So, how do you use this in your art today? J.B. I’ve started working as a painter. I used to sell my work. I had a painting studio. I taught painting and I earned a living by teaching, but I also sold a lot of paintings increasingly well. I always sold well. I had people that wanted to support me and they paid for my paintings. I was selling internationallyandshippingpaintings to different places. I was part of a group that had a stall

at The London Independent Art Fair. We formed a group in order to have access to funding to help us cover the cost of having our paintings there. The group lasted for 3 years and every year we had a successful stand in the big fair in Islington. People would literarily queue to buy our work. And say things like: ‘If that person isn’t going to have, then I’ll have it’. But at some point I just got really tired of the whole thing. I could stand chasing rich people around. That didn’t sit well with me. I felt the work I was trying to do had something else behind it. The kind of research I did for my paintings involved a lot of work. The model of work just didn’t fit as a formula. I needed people to buy my work in order to be able to afford to make more the work. For example, if I was going to have to be in a studio for 3 weeks or 4 weeks at a time to produce the paintings, I needed to

sell those paintings, to be able not to have interrupted the process. I hated that process of constantly having to chasing money. I wasn’t taken up by a gallery; that only happens to a few. If you are relying on doing your own selling, marketing, it’s hard work. I remember an episode. Once a lady paid me 3000 pounds cash. I had a carrier bag full of cash on the street! She had wanted to buy a painting because it said “Not For Sale” and in the end, I said “It’s £ 3000” more as a joke. So, I had to deliver it to her flat. The painting didn’t fit her flat in anyway or form. It was full of hunting stuff and my painting was an abstract watercolour. I just thought enough. That was when I decided to leave all that behind and I gradually started working in another way. There were lots of in betweens, but now I run Blank and this is my new art work.


Johana Berger

L.I. Yes, tell me about Blank and how it is an artwork? J.B. Blank is art in that it didn’t exist before. I created it. And I approached it as I would have approached a painting project. For example, at the beginningofapaintingprojectIwould look for everything I needed first. So, I would gather a certain amount of canvases, wood and primal. I would have to think how thick I wanted the brushes to be and what type of paint I would be using. I used to make my own paint most of the time. But also, I wouldthinkaboutwherethepaintings were going to go. In the same way I started looking for all the components I needed to set up Blank. Another important detail was that I wanted a particular ethos to the place, organic and shifting in nature. I didn’t want to be a director in the traditional sense. I wanted to be the creative person behind it, not someone who tells people what to do. As I said before, mine is an organic vision that gets shaped and changes according the events and the people. It seems a bit anarchic, but in my head I always have a clear idea of the general direction in which Blank is going.


Lately, Blank has spread from being an enclave of non commercial and unconventionalcontemporaryartistsin an industrial landscape - to opening up to the local Portslade community. I spent a lot of time choosing those initial 12 Blank Artists. I felt I was curating in a way. I decided not to included painters and instead to invite performers and installation artists. It was as if we were working outside the city and stretching it. Now, that’s changed. We are still non-commercial, but also unconventionally community orientated. L.I. What influenced you most in your career choices? J.B. A part from the University we talked about earlier, nothing that I can pin point. I am certainly part of a specific cultural context from which

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Blank came out, but if I see something too close to what I’m doing, I don’t find it useful. I have to step away from it and concentrate on what I’m doing. . L.I. Do you think of yourself as a Chilean artist living in England or UK based artist? How would you define yourself culturally? J.B. I don’t know, good question. I think I am neither of those. Although, I still feel socially awkward sometimes, especially at the school gates waiting for my daughter. My entire professional career has developed here in U.K. But I don’t feel English in any shape or form, there are a lot of things that are just not me. I understand how things happen professionally. Maybe the“chileaness” is in the way I go about things. The English way of doing things involves a lot of talking about things before doing them. I get impatient with that. L.I. What about your partner she is English? J.B. Poor Sonia, I’m always complaining.“Why do your people do that? And why do your people do this? L.I. So do you think there is a cultural divide? Has that been positive or negative? J.B. Yes, as an artist people find me very different. I think the cultural divide allows me more freedom, though. As an outsider, I can challenge people in a delicate way. I do that in projects. I don’t do that with collaborators. Instead of working in the English way step by step, I take a step and then a big jump. But as I said, a foreign woman I don’t need to be harsh to challenge situations. In the same way, when I go back to Chile I can also be a bit more challenging there, in a different way, because I’m not expected to work as local people work anymore.

William Rowe


El tiempo de


Son tres los tiempos que nombro con este título: i) 1922 ii) El tiempo que representa o imita Trilce mismo iii) El tiempo que pasa por dentro de la palabra, incluyendo la palabra Trilce mismo. El tiempo es cantidad y calidad. Es aquello que, queramos o no, miden los relojes; y es el instante singular, no equiparable, que se carga de vida. En los poemas de Trilce se produceconstantementeunconflicto. Cito el poema II: Tiempo Tiempo Mediodía estancado entre relentes. Bomba aburrida del cuartel achica Tiempo tiempo tiempo tiempo. Este tiempo subdividido en partes iguales se relaciona en este poema con la cárcel –o sea con el tiempo que Vallejo pasó como preso en la cárcel de Trujillo. Y el tiempo de la cárcel, el tiempo de la disciplina carcelaria, que es el modelo del tiempo social, va asociado con la máquina que bombea. No es el fluir continuo de un río sino el movimiento repetitivo de una máquina, máquina

que va seccionando el tiempo en cantidades estandarizadas, homogéneas. Hasta ahí la idea del tiempo que se expresa en este poema. Pero, ¿ahí acaba el asunto? ¿Se trata sólo de una idea del tiempo? ¿Cómo situar esta experiencia del tiempo en el tiempo histórico? Se trata del tiempo de la sociedad industrial capitalista. Vallejo ya había trabajado en una hacienda azucarera –1era forma de producción industrial en el Perú –y ya había vivido en Lima, que en ese entonces se transformaba en una sociedad de tipo capitalista. Y en este tiempo moderno, deshilachado y arrugado, roto, en una palabra, se contrasta con otro tiempo: un tiempo del mundo rural, provinciano y andino. En el poema VI, hay un tiempo desordenado, el del “traje que vestí mañana”, que desordenalasecuenciadeltiempoque fluye lisamente de pasado a futuro, y a ese desorden se contrasta el acto de la mujer –de Otilia a quien el poema llama “mi aquella/ lavandera del alma”. El poema termina:


…Que mañana entrará satisfecha, capulí de obrería, dichosa de probar que sí sabe, que sí puede ¡CÓMO NO VA A PODER! azular y planchar todos los caos. El planchar, en este poema, es en alguna medida un ritual. Y el traje de ciudad, connota una realidad desprovista de los rituales de la vida premoderna, realidad en que el orden clásico del tiempo (pasado-presentefuturo) se ha roto.


A primera vista, hay dos maneras de leer la relación que presenta este poema entre tiempo andino y tiempo moderno. Podríamos pensar que el poema afirma la emoción lírica del amor pre-moderno en contraposición al ambiente de la ciudad para combatir al tiempo moderno degradado de esta. De ser así, este poema parecería tener un sentido semejante al “Idilio muerto” de Los heraldos negros, en que a la asfixia de “Bizancio” se contrapone la “andina y dulce Rita”, quien también se asocia con el acto de planchar. La otra manera de leer Trilce VI tomaría “el traje turbio de injusticia” y “todos los caos” como realidades que siempre excederán el ritual de la mujer que plancha: es decir, que el énfasis que ponen las mayúsculas (‘¡CÓMO NO VA A PODER!’) registra una gran tensión pero no la victoria de la emoción lírica de la poesía romántica1. La injusticia de la sociedad contemporánea y su multiplicidad inenarrable no cederán a un esquema estético y ético decimonónico. A fin de cuentas, este poema, al igual que el libro entero, nos presenta con la interpenetración de ambos tiempos (pre-moderno, moderno) y no con el triunfo del primero, que sería la arcadia conservadora, ni el del segundo, que significaría la fe en el progreso: es decir, la relación entre ambos 1 La lucha contra la sociedad degradada, que es poesía del romanticismo, se registra más plenamente en Vallejo que en los poetas finalmente románticos (p.ej. Salaverry), pero siendo Vallejo poeta del siglo XX, pasa por esa lucha para llegar a una estética contemporánea, no para reproducirla tal cual.

tiempos es más bien una relación dialéctica. ¿Hoy seguimos viviendo este choque del tiempo moderno y el premoderno? Creo que ya no. Es verdad que en ciertos lugares la mentalidad premoderna con respecto al tiempo sigue existiendo. Los miembros de las comunidades campesinas se resisten a concebir el tiempo en forma de cantidades, sean de horas, días, semanas o meses. Al contrario, lo que para ellos marca el tiempo son las estaciones del año agrícola (tiempo de siembra, etc), el tiempo sagrado de las fiestas, el gasto del trabajo físico y los cambios del año y el paisaje. Y esa concepción premoderna sigue viva en las palabras del curandero de la novela Camino a las Huaringas de Dimas Arrieta2, curandero que es guardián de la memoria colectiva. Este personaje, al referirse a los europeos que llegaron en el siglo XVI y a los habitantes de las ciudades, los llama los “Tiempos”3. Sin embargo, en las sociedades actuales prevalece cada vez más el tiempo cuantitativo, como en el dicho “el tiempo es dinero”. La publicidad y el turismo exhiben este vaciamiento. Hay un video de publicidad que se ha estado dando últimamente en la televisión en el Perú. Habla un señor de unos 50 años que ha abandonado una carrera exitosa para vivir con sus hijos y su mujer en la playa. Nos habla de lo bien que le ha ido con esta decisión. Y luego sale el nombre del Banco que patrocina esta información y escuchamos la frase “el tiempo vale más que el dinero”. Uno no sabe si maravillarse más ante la desfachatez de la mentira o ante la presunta inocencia del televidente. Todos sabemos que el tiempo es dinero–hay que ganar dinero para comprar la casa en la


2 Lima, Ediciones Antares, 1993 3 Ver pp. 67, 92. El maestro curandero se opone a la división del tiempo en la secuencia pasadopresente-futuro: una tradición prehispánica se da la mano con la crítica al tiempo moderno.

playa. Es más, en las sociedades actuales –neoliberales–si no tienes dinero, no existes. Es decir, quien no tiene dinero está fuera de lo social. Entonces, que salga de la boca de un banco “el tiempo vale más que el dinero” es la gran mentira. Nadie sabe mejor que los bancos que el capital, que es del negocio, existe como función del tiempo. Entonces, quizás, como suele ocurrir con las mentiras, hay un deseo de creerla: el gran engaño niega la esclavitud al dinero que vivimos. O sea, es la negación que atrae –negación del grado en que nuestro tiempo está dominado por el dinero– y lo que se niega, en el fondo, es el hecho contundente que para tener tiempo –tiempo libre para gozarlo– hay que tener dinero. Así, ¡sigan soñando con la casita en la playa!, ya que más van a necesitar al banco. Quizás habría que añadir que, según Baudelaire, la mirada de la mentira es una mirada de aburrimiento. Nos mira con aburrimiento4. Lo que estoy proponiendo es que a aquello que Vallejo experimentó entre 1918 y 1922, se le ha dado, en nuestra época, otra vuelta de tuerca. Al tiempo premoderno que se perdió, lo ha reemplazado el tiempo-mentira, el tiempo espectáculo. El tiempo congelado y alienado se vende. Así, el turismo busca consumir el tiempo del otro. Hace un año más o menos, los vecinos de un pequeño pueblo medieval de la Toscana de Italia se pusieron de acuerdo para vender el pueblo entero a una agencia de turismo alemana. De ese modo los turistas podrían vivir la vida de un pueblito italiano. ¿Qué hicieron los italianos con la plata? No se sabe, pero seguramente les pasó por la mente la idea de comprar otro pueblo…para revenderlo. ¿Se produce todavía en nuestra época el choque o el rozamiento entre el tiempo cualitativo y el tiempo cuantitativo? Pienso que sí, aunque ya menos en la forma del tiempo pre4

"L’amour du mensonge"

capitalista frente al tiempo moderno. Y creo que Trilce precisamente nos puede abrir las puertas a una reflexión crítica sobre el tiempo. Mejor dicho, la lectura de Trilce nos exige pasar por la crítica al tiempo. Ya volveremos a hablar del poema II que hace poco cité. Veamos primero ese poema bastante conocido que empieza con el verso“Tahona estuosa de aquellos mis bizcochos” (XXIII). Comienza así: Tahona estuosa de aquellos mis bizcochos pura yema infantil innumerable, madre. Y, después de mencionar a “las dos hermanas últimas, / Miguel que ha muerto”, sigue así: En la sala se arriba nos repartías de mañana, de tarde, de dual estiba, aquellas ricas hostias de tiempo, para que ahora nos sobrasen cáscaras de relojes en flexión de las 24 en puntos parados. Esta estrofa, que he citado entera, se quiebra en ese “para/que”: ahí se rompe la lógica de la maduración, del desarrollo –de la idea de que la finalidad de la vida es llegar a la madurez para así superar la infancia. ¿Por qué? Porque lo que dio la madre –su cuerpo, su amor, el satisfacer plenamente las necesidades de los hijos –aquella plenitud, en lugar de desembocar en el ahora de la adultez, en una vida plena, redonda, realizada, más bien produce un resto que no se realiza. Es decir, en lugar de que el amor de la madre se transforme en la plenitud del adulto, la promesa cumplida, al contrario, produce un quiebre, una escisión en el ser. Vamos a ver, con un poco más de lentitud, cómo sucede esto en el proceso de la lectura. No cabe duda que los “bizcochos”, la “yema infantil”, y las “ricas hostias de



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tiempo” constituyen un tiempo cualitativo, que corresponde a la interioridad del sujeto –a la vida interior. Pero, ¿cómo se expresa este tiempo cualitativo? ¿Cuáles son sus símbolos? Dirán ustedes que los símbolos son obvios, que ya están indicados: es decir, son los “bizcochos”, la “yema”, las “hostias”; o sea, que estas palabras están en relación adecuada con el significado. Precisamente eso dicen Marco Martos y Elsa Villanueva en su libro esencial Las palabras de Trilce: ellos especifican el por qué estos símbolos funcionan adecuadamente. Cito: “El pan está dignificado dentro del contexto de la educación religiosa al comparársele con las hostias”. Pero, al contrario, ¿no es el caso que

en el momento en que se compara el pan con la hostia en lugar de producirse una perfecta equivalencia, digamos una equivalencia simétrica, se entromete el tiempo del “ahora”, tiempo en que las “hostias” sobran, es decir, se resisten a integrarse en el nivel del significado, más precisamente en la economía del significado. Es por el hecho que el tiempo pasa por la articulación del símbolo (la hostia y sus equivalentes) que los símbolos se desquician, no por ser insuficientes sino por ser excesivos: constituyen un resto que no puede incluirse: Hay demasiado de ese tiempo. Al entrometerse la forma moderna de la temporalización, aquella que todavía vivimos, se rompe el tejido simbólico que, antes, suministró al sujeto un asidero propio,


un lugar en el espacio, dispuesto para él5. Si para Bachelard el espacio siempre nos ofrece un lugar dispuesto para recibirnos, ese lugar se produce gracias a la suspensión, por el arquetipo (el del hogar sobre todo), de la temporalidad contemporánea. Ese lugar, que reposa en el tejido simbólico atemporal, aparece en el poema XXXIV: “Ya no habrá quien no aguarde, / dispuesto mi lugar, bueno lo malo.” Y es precisamente “el dolor sin fin / y nuestro haber nacido así sin causa” que acaba con ese lugar predispuesto para el ser: el dolor y la falta de sentido constituyen un mundo que es el del Heidegger de Ser y tiempo, mundo al que hemos sido “arrojados”, mundo que corresponde a la temporalidad contemporánea.6 Martos y Villanueva tratan de resolver el problema de esta suma que no tiene solución: según ellos el pan es “alimento material que ahora en la madurez se forma alimento espiritual”. Si fuera así, ¡no habría nada que sobrara! El sustento material de la vida estaría en perfecto equilibrio con el sustento espiritual. Y ahí, precisamente, encontramos la doctrina de la Iglesia: la transubstanciación del pan de la hostia en la carne de Cristo es la piedra angular de todas las equivalencias de materia y espíritu –es el acto que garantiza el sentido de la vida material. Sobre esa piedra matriz se erige la adecuación de los símbolos. Así, en el libro Fin desierto de Mario Montalbetti, se constata que lo que se ha perdido con el ahuecamiento de las palabras en el mundo contemporáneo, es precisamente el sacramento: “Este es el verso en el que la sangre se vuelve vino y el paraíso metrópoli”.


Sin embargo, para que el “alimento material” se hubiera convertido en “alimento espiritual” requeriría que el sacrificio de la madre fuera perfecto, que se convirtiera sin resto en alimento del adulto. Para Vallejo, 5 Ver El reposo caliente aún de ser (II) 6 Casa de cuervos. Canto villano, Mex, FCE, 1996, p. 190.

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no es así, “las hostias del tiempo” producen un exceso, un disturbio. Para Blanca Varela, tampoco es perfecto el sacrificio de la madre: lo que ella da al dar a luz al hijo es la imperfección, lo que le sobra y le falta: “tu náusea es mía/ la heredaste como heredan los peces la asfixia / y el color de tus ojos / es también color de mi ceguera”7. Si lo que da la madre en el poema de Vallejo se convirtiera en “alimento espiritual”, no sobraría nada. La equivalencia se produciría sin resto. ¿Cuál es el problema, entonces? Está en que ese pan –el cuerpo– que daba la madre ya era “alimento espiritual”. Colmaba el ser del niño –y ahora no se concilia con el tiempo de los relojes en que vive el adulto. He dicho, la madre daba su cuerpo, y si esto suena a herejía, creo que es exactamente así. “Toma…este es mi cuerpo”son las palabras del evangelio y de la misa, esas palabras andan por el fondo de este poema. Si la madre toma el lugar de Cristo, si su cuerpo, para con el niño, ocupa el lugar de la hostia de la misa, se trataría de un pensamiento herético. Creo que es precisamente así. Este poema hace una lectura hereje del evangelio. Es decir, en la poesía de Vallejo, se trata más de herejía que de ateísmo. Y la herejía de Vallejo tiene dos características: para él, no bastan el padre, el hijo y el Espíritu Santo, hay que incluir a la madre –Dios es femenino8. Y en segundo lugar, el cristianismo deVallejo es materialista: el espíritu ya está en la materia, y viceversa, no se trata de transformar, por un acto de fe, la materia en espíritu. Existe en la poesía peruana una tradición que ejerce el pensamiento material de lo espiritual. Basta mencionar los libros Noche oscura del cuerpo, de Jorge Eduardo Eielson, y Ejercicios materiales de Blanca Varela8. 7 Vallejo feminiza la Santa Trinidad en el poema Una mujer de senos apacibles. Este tipo de herejía se produciría entre las mujeres beatas de la colonia. 8 Esa serie incluiría también Las ínsulas extrañas de Westphalen, La mano desasida de Martín

El tiempo también es material. En el poema que estamos comentando, se da en forma de “cáscaras de relojes en flexión de las 24 / en puntos parados.” Hay una contradicción tensa entre el reloj que da vueltas por las subdivisiones de las 24 horas y el reloj parado “en punto”; y otra contradicción entre la idea del reloj que al marcar y flexionar las horas las contiene, y la idea del reloj como cáscara vacía que no contiene nada. Si la primera contradicción es de estirpe heracliteana (simultaneidad de stasis y movimiento), la segunda es mallarméana (vaciamiento del símbolo); ambas pertenecen al pensamiento dialéctico9. Entonces, ¿qué es, precisamente, lo que sobra? ¿Las hostias de tiempo o el tiempo del reloj? Propongo que, a fin de cuentas, cada uno es el resto del otro. Es decir, en un sentido, lo numerado, las horas, minutos y segundos, son un exceso frente al tiempo de la plenitud. Y, en el otro sentido, dando un giro de 180° grados, la “yema infantil” es “innumerable”, excede la medida de los números. Tal es así también con la imagen de los huesos de la madre, convertidos, en el tiempo presente, en “harina”: Hoy que hasta Tus puros huesos estarán harina Que no habrá en qué amasar… En estos y otros versos del poema, la madre excede el tiempo del reloj, excede su economía. Dijo Marx que en el fondo lo que se explota, para crear el capital, es el tiempo –el tiempo de los que trabajan, el tiempo de los que mueren. El lugar por excelencia en que el tiempo de la explotación se impone es la fábrica: así las imágenes de la película “Los tiempos modernos” de Chaplin. Hoy es posible especular que el capitalismo tardío, en lugar de habernos liberado de la fábrica, ha colocado la fábrica en todas partes. Adán, y Fin desierto de Mario Montalbetti. 9 Sobre Mallarmé y la dialéctica ver, Badiou, Teoría del sujeto.

La última estrofa del poema da otra vuelta al asunto: Tal la tierra oirá en tus silencios, Cómo nos van cobrando todos El alquiler del mundo donde nos dejas Y el valor de aquel pan inacabable. ¿Por qué tenemos que pagar “el alquiler”, digamos, la hipoteca? ¿Será porque vivimos en la época del tiempo = dinero? Pero si el tiempo fuera pura y sencillamente cuantitativo, en ese caso, ¿por qué se diría que estamos endeudados? Creo que el pensamiento de Vallejo sería que nos han dado algo –la plena satisfacción de las necesidades por la madre –que marca una relación cualitativa, emocional, con el tiempo. Esa sería nuestra relación primaria con el tiempo. Luego viene el tiempo de los relojes que se nos impone. El tiempo de los relojes se impone sobre la base de ese tiempo primario, pero nunca llega a llenar ese espacio10, nunca llega a ser equivalente a él. Seguimos pagando la deuda por lo que hemos recibido, se convierte11 en vacío el tiempo que da la madre, lo convierte a la vez en sustancia que no se puede contener, en algo que no encuentra su símbolo adecuado. Por eso hay que decir que “las ricas hostias del tiempo” engendran una escisión en el ser. Entonces no viene al caso afirmar, como afirma el libro Las palabras de Trilce, que el pan “al fin del poema se transformar en símbolo de la vida misma”. Al contrario, Trilce viaja por la inadecuación de los símbolos. El Padre no anda por este poema –por eso los símbolos (lo simbólico) no se constituyen adecuadamente. No hay padre que suprima el amor de la madre para reemplazarlo con la palabra. Al final del poema, la palabra misma se torna “hostia del tiempo”: pero ya no la palabra “madre” sino 10 “Hasta en la cruda sombra, hasta en el gran molar/ cuya encía late en aquel lácteo hoyuelo.” 11 Ver los siguientes versos en que el pezón que da la leche se formó el vacío de la muerte: en hueco que no podemos llenar.


el vocablo que pertenece al habla: ¡mamá! Ynoslocobran,cuando,siendonosotros Pequeños entonces, como tú verías, Noselopodíamoshaberarrebatado A nadie; cuando tú nos lo diste, ¿di, mamá? El peso de la palabra más íntima, también nos lleva por el tiempo de decirla, el tiempo que se consume al enunciarla. Se produce para el lector una perturbación, un estremecimiento. Porque este tiempo ocupado por la palabra, este pedazo de duración, salta fuera del tiempo sucesivo. Esa es la hostia: la duración absoluta. Como relámpago, como corriente eléctrica, el tiempo real pasa por el poema. Se trata de una condición extrema a la que repetidas veces se aproxima el libro. Y este tiempo no engaña porque precisamente es lo que estaba fuera (de la ecuación), es lo que la palabra del padre excluía12. Trilce lleva a cabo una revolución del lenguaje poético que puede compararse con la música dodecafónica, o sea con la revolución del lenguaje musical que en esos mismos años estaba llevando a cabo Arnold Schoenberg. Los dos principios más importantes de esa música son: utilizar todas las notas, es decir, abandonar la escala diatónica, evitar las octavas. Y segundo, no repetir ninguna nota hasta acabar con todas las 12 de la escala cromática. Estas medidas producen una música que no está regida por la melodía y que –esto es lo importante– ensancha el campo del sonido: al oído se le demanda que escuche lo que no estaba en la música que existía hasta ese entonces. Por eso se puede decir que esta música no engaña.


¿Cuál es el parecido con Trilce? Que el tiempo de Trilce deja de marcarse solo por la métrica de las sílabas, y se vuelve extraño, rompe las secuencias y las regularidades. Que el sonido rebasa las cadencias 12

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Ver poema He almorzado solo ahora…

musicales de la poesía modernista, deja en gran parte de ser melódico, e incluye el silencio. Y que la semántica se zafa de los símbolos reguladores y va a la deriva. Todos estos factores se relacionan. Ya que, desafortunadamente, no hay tiempo para abarcar todo esto –se requeriría, en realidad, todo un curso– me voy a centrar en dos cosas: la relación de los números con la emoción y el tiempo que pasa por la palabra, es decir, el tiempo que transcurre mientras dura el sonido de la palabra. A primera vista, los números no tendrían relación alguna con la emoción. Al contrario, serían lo más frío que puede haber. Sin embargo, los números tienen su equivalencia emocional, y eso porque entran en relación con la vida interior de la persona. La pura duración psíquica, nos explica Bergson –a quien evidentemente había leído Vallejo –esta duración interior es heterogénea, es decir consiste en el cambio incesante. Obviamente asumimos que los números –las unidades –son idénticos: pero esto es así porque los colocamos en un espacio homogéneo cuantitativo. En el fondo, sin embargo, los números producen una resonancia con la vida interior, que es cualitativa; sostiene Bergson que esta relación cualitativa es previa a la cuantitativa. Se habrán dado cuenta, al leer Trilce, que en este libro aparecen muchos números como también la idea de la numeración. En la mayoría de los casos, estos números son extraños porque carecen de sentido. O no sabemos qué es aquello que enumeran, o no sabemos qué relación podría tener el número en el caso dado, con aquello a que se refiere. Vamos a ver un caso en el poema LV. Este poema nos presenta con una escena de hospital, con “un enfermo [que] lee la Prensa”, y otro en estado de debilidad extrema, “cerca a estarlo sepulto”. El poema termina así:

Ya la tarde pasó diez y seis veces por el subsuelo empatrullado, y se está casi ausente en el número de madera amarilla de la cama que está desocupada tanto tiempo allá…………………….. enfrente. Hay un espacio vacío entre las palabras allá y enfrente. Por ahora, a lo que quiero llamar la atención es a lo disparatado del número 16. ¿Por qué no 17 veces? ¿O una vez? ¿Qué relación posible podría tener con la tarde? Se puede decir que la tarde pasa, lo cual sería un lugar común, e inclusive que la tarde pasa por el subsuelo, ya que el tiempo pasa por todo lo material. Pero, ¡diez y seis veces!...Hay algo así como un choque, una violencia allí. Creo que esto hay que leerlo de la siguiente manera: Están aquí el número como cantidad y también el número como calidad-emoción. Como cantidad, el incesante pasar de la tarde será equivalente a la muerte por la lógica de los números, del tiempo numerado: es decir, para citar otro texto de Vallejo, se trata de “morir del tiempo”. Y, por otro lado, está el número que acarrea emoción, el “número de la madera amarilla” que ha tomado el lugar del muerto de “la cama…allá…enfrente” –cama “desocupada tanto tiempo”: aquí, entonces, el “morir de la vida y no del tiempo”. En realidad los dos sentidos opuestos se pelean en ambos números: el número que cuantifica el espacio y aquel otro que toma el lugar del muerto y por eso vehiculiza otra vez la transubstanciación. El poema XXX, nos coloca frente al número 2: Marca la hora (“dos de la tarde inmoral”) y del número de los sexos (dos). Estos dos no se tornan uno: “el guante”, la unidad que los podría contener, consiste de diferencias (“guante de los bordes borde a borde”). Por el encuentro sexual pasa la marca, el estigma, del tiempo del reloj: “Quemadura del segundo / en toda la tierna carnecilla del deseo”. Por el momento de más

intensidad pasa la arbitrariedad del azar (“picadura de ají vagoroso”). Entonces, el tiempo cuantitativo no se rescata, no se trasciende, aún en el momento de máxima intensidad: esa intensidad está signada por el dos que se resiste a ser dos en uno. Lo que marca la intensidad del sexo (“la antena del sexo”) es “lo que estamos siendo sin saberlo”, aquello que no es intensivo, que se escapa a la subjetividad. Por eso se puede decir que, en Trilce, el tiempo cualitativo subjetivo, no trasciende: los dos tiempos siempre están en tensión, interpenetrantes, inextricables, como lo estarán en “Sermón sobre la muerte”. En este punto, Vallejo difiere de Bergson, para quien la pura duración interior no está marcada (quemada) por el símbolo13, lo que incluiría a los números. ¿Qué diremos, enconces, de lo innumerable enTrilce si no hay tiempo interior absolutamente separable de la numeración? Si bien lo innumerable consiste del tiempo cualitativo (“pura yemainfantilinnumerable”),intensivo, por otro lado también se relaciona con lo que es ajeno al sujeto (“lo que estamos siendo sin saberlo”): ahí lo innumerable coincide con lo innombrable. Sin embargo, lo innumerable, en Trilce, no es la utopía imaginada que se escapa al lenguaje: es más bien lo real que requiere cambiar el lenguaje. En este respecto, diré, brevemente, que los trabajos del filósofo francés, Alain Badiou, enseñan que lo que se escapa a la numeración constituye el resto o el excedente de las matemáticas. Y que la tarea del pensamiento es inventar conceptos nuevos capaces de nombrar ese resto innumerable –mejor dicho, inenumerable. En las matemáticas, serían los números imaginarios como la raíz del -1 (√-1). Y añade Badiou que esa tarea del pensamiento, 13 p.17. Para entender el “yo Fundamental”, “en el que sucesión implica fusión y organización”, hay que separarlo de “las exigencias del lenguaje”. Gilles Deleuze, El bersonismo, Mexico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1992, p. 17


equivale a producir la justicia14. Creo que esto se puede generalizar de la siguiente manera: a esa encrucijada de las matemáticas corresponde la revolución de Schoenberg en la música, y en la poesía, la revolución del lenguaje poético de Trilce. Y, dicho sea de paso, el equivalente en las artes plásticas sería el cubismo. Y ahora, para finalizar, volvamos a aquel poema II que es el que más directamente tematiza el tiempo. Se trata de un poema tremendamente comprimido, condensado, que requeriría mucho tiempo para que se le hiciera un comentario de alguna manera completo. Sólo voy a decir dos cosas, pero creo que son las esenciales. En el libro Las palabras de Trilce se nos dice: “El primer verso del poema nos arroja a la esfera de la temporalidad. La reiteración del vocablo tiempo señala un lento transcurrir no solamente por el significado de la palabra, sino también por la cantidad –duración– de cada una de las sílabas”15. La afirmación es muy sugerente pero queda corta, porque interpreta la duración de las sílabas como forma de representación del tiempo, a manera de impresión del lapso del tiempo que se nos va dando en el plano sonoro del poema. El supuesto que se maneja es que el sonido imita la realidad. Pero como voy diciendo, creo que el poema va más allá: la palabra tiempo no


14 Teoría del sujeto, Parte IV 15 Es notable que la carga heideggeriana de la palabra “arroja” (los seres humanos son arrojados a un espacio que no está predispuesto para ellos, que no está marcado simbólicamente para que los reciba) se cancela en la interpretación que se hace del poema, como cuando se dice que “el reposo caliente aún de ser… se refiere a lo único positivo dentro del ambiente carcelario: el lecho, símbolo de descanso que está por terminarse,“ (p 51) cuando ese verso registra, más bien, que el ser no constituye un lugar sino un espacio que ha sido abandonado. Esto lo anoto no con el afán de hacer una polémica sino para señalar que Las palabras de Trilce, probablemente el mejor libro sobreTrilce, muestra los límites de la lectura que se le hace. A propósito del Ser y tiempo Heidegger, pienso que se podría afirmar que en Trilce el ser, al contrario de constituirse por la futuridad, es más bien un lugar vaciado que en algún momento estuvo ocupado. Ver el poema XXXIII: ‘Haga la cuenta de mi vida / [ . . . ] No será lo que aún no haya venido, sino / lo que ha llegado y ya se ha ido, / sino lo que ha llegado y ya se ha ido.’ ¿es decir un tiempo nada mesiánico?

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sólo significa algo y produce una imagen sonora. También pasa por la palabra misma el proceso temporal de la lectura: el tiempo del afuera, el tiempo real también pasa por la palabra –como también pasa por la frase “Dí, mamá”. Es decir, no sólo estamos frente a una idea del tiempo, sino al pasar del tiempo mismo, tiempo que se subdivide en sus componentes, como cuando la “Bomba aburrida del cuartel achica”. El libro Las palabras de Trilce trata la acción de la bomba simplemente como una idea: “La idea de bomba aburrida amplifica la del tiempo que transcurre con indiferencia”. Sugiero que más que una idea, la bomba nos presenta la producción industrial del tiempo de los relojes: Tiempo al que se opone el transcurrir de la duración dentro de la palabra. Y este segundo tiempo es el tiempo cualitativo, es la duración de la vida interior.16 Como última observación, quiero sugerir lo siguiente: si los comentaristas de Trilce suelen interpretar el tiempo de los poemas en el marco mimético, es decir, si interpretan el lenguaje de Trilce en clave de representación del tiempo, y dejan afuera el tiempo interno a la palabra, por algo será. Pienso que es por lo siguiente: que el tiempo pase por la palabra constituye un límite extremo del lenguaje, en que el lenguaje se abre a lo que estaba afuera. Llegar a ponernos a nivel de eso, requiere que se den la mano tanto la crítica del lenguaje como la crítica del tiempo. ¡Ojalá que lo que he dicho hoy haya logrado en alguna medida acercarse a esa meta!

16 Aquí se da la pelea entre el tiempo cuantitativo y el cualitativo, pelea en que reside una parte importante de la fuerza estética de Trilce. Es de notar que para Bergson no hay tal pelea. La duración interior se ha independizado del tiempo cuantitativo. Para Benjamin esta abstracción de la vida interior de la historia no es una condición universal sino producto del capitalismo. Ver Essays on Charles Baudelaire.

Richard Parker


Spicer and Lorca, their utilities

Dear Parker, I’venowbeenunavoidablydetached from developments in poetry for over 40 years, more than twice as long as Lorca had been away when he wrote me during After Lorca, and while my separation from poetry has been agonised and fruitful for both parties, I’m nevertheless choked with a rancorous indifference to your project here to bring, as I see it, my despised works to the use and notice of a provincial coterie. Who already know my works. While it was with some surprise that I received the draft of your article, which I have amended silently in my ghostly manner, trusting you’ll have the grace to see a few of my misrepresentations unchallenged through to the press, it was also, naturally, with a knowledge of the inevitability of your project that I sat down to my mischievous corrections and elisions. Despite the outward signs, poetry is as big a business as News Corp., News International, the

Poetry Society, the Conservative and Unionist Party, the Metropolitan Police Service and their standing armies, and it as impossible for senior management here to maintain a thoroughawarenessofourunderlings’ even most regrettable misprisions as it is for the senior managements of those organisations, though I can happily take full responsibility for the uglinesses those unknowns have peddled. In offer of my gushing and acrimonious and most flattering enmities I quote, finally, Buster Keaton: ‘If parity of all things is achievable only through entropy, then speed ye cold still dark snowy blankness of the end of the universe. You shan’t catch my unceasingness ceasing!’ Love, Jack *



And despite Jack Spicer’s qualified profession of innocence, his poetry, seen in its most perfectly contiguously disparate, if not most greatly developed, form in After Lorca (1957), is both one of aching utility and perplexing outrageousness to readers and writers reading and writing today; both of which are utilities. A satisfying and useful book on a number of levels, After Lorca is also disappointing and useful in equal measure, as we shall discover.

Robin Blaser edited Spicer’s poetry as The Collected Books of Jack Spicer (1975), a title that conveys Spicer’s own particular manner of poetic organisation, one which considered poems both as particulars and as elements in a flux-like arrangement; a harmonious tessellation of inharmonious pieces. Spicer’s great mature work is nearly all placed in such arrangements; thus the fraudulently inclusive collection of ostensible poison-pen letters in Admonitions (1957), the

refracted/perverted Idylls of the King-style Arthurian cycle of The Holy Grail (1962) and the double-edged hackwork of A Book of MagazineVerse (1965). The importance of the address should be noted in all of these pieces; just as After Lorca is an affection attack/address on a spurious but authentic Lorca, so Admonitions takes an hallucinated San Francisco Renaissance to task, and A Book of Magazine Verse makes its generous and open offering of poetry with the full knowledge of its pieces’inevitable rejection, a Trojan attack within a gift. And though Spicer would take this serial poem to greater poetic heights with those later collections, its machinery is at its finest, or most persistently present, form in After Lorca, a book that contains a dazzling array of organisational strategies – dazzling in both the sense of the work’s ability to impress the ready with bright flurries of aesthetic pleasure, and in the sense of a distraction from a work with dubious intent, perhaps of dubious quality. And it is, with its plies over plies of freely exposed fraudulence, a disquisition on translation (in poems and in letters, working together and against each other).1 Spicer to Blaser: "Since school’s been out (for me forever) I’ve been ignoring my unemployment and translating Lorca… I enclose my eight latest ‘translations.’ Transformations might be a better word. Several are originals and most of the rest change the poem vitally. I can’t seem to make anybody understand this or what I’m doing. They look blank or ask what the Spanish is for a word that isn’t in the Spanish or praise (like Duncan did) an original poem as typically Lorca. What I am trying to do id establish a tradition. When I’m through (although I’m sure no one will ever publish them) I’d like someone as good as I 1 Clayton Eshleman has provided the most useful account of the mechanics of After Lorca, identifying which poems are translations an which are not, and the extent of Spicer’s traductory waywardness in The Lorca Working, boundary 2, Vol. 6, No. 1, Jack Spicer (Autumn, 1977), pp. 31-50

am to translate these translations into French (or Pushtu) adding more. Do you understand? No. Nobody does."2 * ‘No poem is intended for the reader’3,a fact that did not deter Spicer from directly addressing Lorca in all of these poems and dedicating all of them to various potential readers, an action he would repeat in Admonitions. Or, rather, the fact did deter him, and each poem in this volume and Admonitions is more or less errantly, or fraudulently, addressed to a reader whose own reading of the poem may therefore be stimulated into a newly energised reading of a poem that may or may not have been written with that person in mind: Each of them is a mirror, dedicated to the person that I particularly want to look into it. But mirrors can be arranged. The frightening hall of mirrors in a fun house is universal beyond each particular reflection. […] Mirror makers know the secret – one does not make a mirror to resemble a person, one brings a person to the mirror4. If After Lorca is Spicer’s Homage to Sextus Propertius5 then Admonitions is his Mauberley – a definition of and living within of an ironically distanced ‘scene’ – the dedications that dominate that volume, and which Spicer gives a strategic utility, stating that through them ‘at least you assure yourself of one reader’,6 are here pre-figured, and, like The Tower of Babel, Spicer’s ‘detective’ novel, and Admonitions, the volume, which both addresses and includes all those addressees, is in itself an enaction of a ‘scene’. In both volumes the poem that Spicer addresses to himself offers a microcosm of the 2 June 1957, Poet Be Like God, p. 105. 3 Walter Benjamin, The Task of the Translator, Selected Writings Volume 1, p. 253. 4 Foreword to Admonitions, MyVocabulary did this to me, p. 157. 5 Spicer himself makes this link, writing to Robin Blaser ‘I can see why Pound got so angry at the reaction to his “Propertius.”’ [Poet Be Like God, p. 105.]


Jack Spicer

scene, inserting himself as both writer and reader upon the two arms of the poetic syllogism.


Thus this ostensible translation from After Lorca: Aquatic Park A Translation for Jack Spicer A green boat Fishing in blue water The gulls circle the pier Calling their hunger A wind rises from the west Like the passing of desire Two boys play on the beach Laughing Their gangling legs cast shadows On the wet sand Then, Sprawling in the boat A beautiful black fish.6 6 My vocabulary did this to me, p. 131. It is translated into Spanish by Jessica Pujol i Duran elsewhere in this publication.

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One of the great advantages of this ramshackle Lorca/not-Lorca arrangement is that it has the capacity to Lorca-ise elements of the book that might not have seemed to be directly related to the Spanish poet’s work, a utility that functions in a related manner to the miscreant dedications of his poems. Such is the marvelousness of this technique that those poems that are, of all the poems in the book, most clearly not translations of Lorca become, or at least can seem to become, the poems that tread closest to the Spaniard’s work (causing the unwary Robert Duncan to stumble, as Spicer uncharitably points out to Blaser). At the outset this poem immediately announces its double nature in its title and its dedication; it is named for Aquatic Park, the area near the northernmost end of San Francisco’s peninsular, where Spicer would listen to the baseball on his portable radio in the afternoons and hold court, while the dedicatee is Spicer himself. Both the locale and the poem’s central personage are out of Lorca’s reach, then, the Spanish poet having died in 1937 and having penetrated no further west across the American continent than New York

City. At the same time, however, here Spicer cleaves closest to his version of the bare-bones lyric of Lorca (the poet of a Hispano-Imagist ‘Cantar sin carne lírica’7), and strays furthest from his own typical garrulous, surreal small-talk. The poem resembles middle-period Lorca in a manner that seems almost pastiche; the poem containing one central image, only glancingly tinged by narrative at its conclusion and with a bare minimum of poetic fuss and clutter; none of the unsettlingly spiteful changes of register and address we find elsewhere in Spicer — including in some pieces elsewhere in After Lorca — and little else that announces itself stylistically or that presents the reader with recourse to exegetical works or meditation beyond that of quietly satisfied estival observation. The only word that presents a hint of a cross-current to this general tranquillity is the somewhat unusual ‘gangling’; an adjective that suitably describes the observed teenagers’ legs but that, with its deceptive ‘-ing’, suggests a continuous verb form, or a gerund;addingmovementtotheboys, 7

Federico García Lorca, Selected Poems, p. 19.

their shadows perhaps mixing the verb ‘dangling’ with, in British English at least, the more usual adjective ‘gangly’. This brief moment of linguistic instability, which of course further underlines this translation’s status as pseudo-translation, comes at a crucial moment in the poem as the observed boys cavort on the beach — the indeterminacy might be said to enact the moment of homosexual desire that flashes across this section of the poem: distracted from the green fishing boat, the observer-narrator’s attention is turned to the playing adolescents; the brief and tender moment of desirous confusion that ensues entails the ‘gangling’, before attention is, perhaps just a touch shamefacedly, returned to the fishing boat and the violent capture of that‘beautiful black fish’; perhaps a more ominous, and typically Spicerian, miming of the queer sexuality. This combination of the echt Imagist presentation of an ‘intellectualandemotionalcomplexin an instant of time’8 with an occulted 8 Ezra Pound, A Few Don’ts By an Imagiste, article/335



queer poetics is essential to Spicer’s tribute to Lorca. Belatedly we return to that dedication,‘A Translation for Jack Spicer’; the poem and its moment are mirrors ‘for’ the poet himself to look into, their contents locked in a feedback loop with the poet, one queer and hermetic, perhaps fetishistic and onanistic.

con el sexo atravesado por una aguja.

At the same time, however, when Spicer offers a ‘straight’ version of Lorca he selects an avatar of that poet who conversely seems to be somehow pastiching Spicer. Spicer translates Lorca’s Oda a Walt Whitman, from Lorca’s Poeta en Nueva York (192930) — the only number from that book that Spicer approaches —, as Ode for Walt Whitman, and keeps his translation pretty close to the original, his text generally only benefitting from the subtle dance of indirectly translated prepositions and Spicer’s tendency towards the more scurrilous alternative in choices relating to the translation of Lorca’s doubleentendres. Spicer’s amendments of Lorca treat the source text freely, but not to such an extent that it might be termed a ‘free-translation’: Clayton Eshleman writes that although ‘at points Spicer considerably distorts this complex and very tricky Lorca poem, after all is said and done, his is by far the best version to date.’9 Here are parallel passages in Lorca’s and Spicer’s versions:

Ni un solo momento, hermosura viril

Ni un solo momento, viejo hermoso Walt Whitman,

Enemigo del sátiro, enemigo de la vida y amante de los cuerpos bajo la burda tela.

que en montes de carbón, anuncios y ferrocarriles, soñabas ser un río y dormir como un río con aquel camarada que pondría en tu pecho un pequeño dolor de ignorante leopardo.10 * Not for one moment, beautiful old Walt Whitman, Have I stopped seeing your beard full of butterflies Or your shoulders of corduroy worn thin by the moon Or your muscles of a virgin Apollo Or your voice like a column of ashes. Ancient and beautiful as the fog.

he dejado de ver tu barba llena de mariposas, ni tus hombros de pana gastados por la luna,

You gave a cry like a bird With his prick pierced through by a needle Enemy of satyrs

ni tus muslos de Apolo virginal ni tu voz como una columna de ceniza; anciano hermoso como la niebla, que gemías igual que un pájaro 9 The Lorca Working, boundary 2, Vol. 6, No. 1, Jack Spicer (Autumn, 1977), p. 38.

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Enemy of the grape And lover of bodies under rough cloth. Not for one moment, tight-cocked beauty, 10

Selected Poems, p. 230.

Who in mountains of coal, advertisements, and railroads Had dreamed of being a river and of sleeping like one With a particular comrade, one who could put in your bosom The young pain of an ignorant leopard.11 Spicer is somewhat more robust in his sexual language; thus Lorca’s ‘hermosura viril’ becomes the balder ‘tight-cocked beauty’; the bird’s ‘sexo atravesado’ becomes an unlikely ‘prick pierced through by a needle’12; the conjunction of needle prick and prick making Lorca’s painful image of homosexual congress even clearer in Spicer. Eshleman calls ‘Oda a Walt Whitman’‘Lorca’s most self-conflictive single poem’13 and suggests that the complex of attraction and disgust with which Lorca approaches Whitman and his own sexuality is what draws Spicer to the poem, and the strange, implicit sexual violence of ‘Aquatic Park’ is also present in ‘Ode to Walt Whitman’: the shorter poem, not coincidentally, immediately follows this translation in After Lorca. This conscious strengthening of Lorca’s imagery is a matter of degree, and adds no new images or meanings to the text; the new valences that Spicer contributes to ‘Oda a Walt Whitman’ come instead because of the context of After Lorca. In this poem, a central text in Lorca’s provenance of Poeta en Nueva York, the poet argues for a direct connection between his Spain and Whitman’s America, choosing to ape Whitman’s long line and expansive, list-like construction, while retaining, as in the image of the pinioned bird, 11 My vocabulary did this to me, p. 127. 12 No cocks for cocks: ‘Most male birds (e.g., roosters and turkeys) have a cloaca (also present on the female), but not a penis. Among bird species with a penis are paleognathes (tinamous and ratites), Anatidae (ducks, geese and swans), and a very few other species (such as flamingos).’ [From Wikipedia; perhaps here Spicer replaces Lorca’s cockless cock with the more flagrant bepenised flamingo.] 13 The Lorca Working, boundary 2, Vol. 6, No. 1, Jack Spicer (Autumn, 1977), p. 47.

an imagery characteristically his own; one developed through that crucial conjunctionofEuropeansurrealismand Poundian Imagism. The last of these strands is, of course, also indebted to Whitman; as for Pound, overbearingly in his predecessor’s image; ‘It was you that broke the new wood, / Now is a time for carving. / We have one sap and one root — / Let there be commerce betweenus.’14Thatconfusedinheritance, one of the most notorious in the history oftwentieth-centuryAmericanletters,is one of great difficulty for the Poundian but unPoundian poets of the Berkeley and San Francisco Renaissances to avoid. Thus another utility in Lorca for Spicer and for later Americans — including, most prominently, Deep Image poets Jerome Rothenberg and Robert Kelly, who appropriated Lorca’s cante jondo to provide the context for an unPoundian, and perhaps rather late off the mark, cisatlantic Imagism.15 Whitman is digested by Pound and redigested by Lorca before reappearing in the unPoundian American poetry of poets like Spicer, Kelly and Rothenberg — a provenance made possible by the retriangulation of this relatively faithful translation as it appears in After Lorca; where Lorca had addressedWhitman as aninspirationalqueerpoeticmodel,here the same poem becomes a reclaiming and a realignment because of Spicer’s very different context; Whitman is reconfigured as a less modernist, more queer poet in a likely far more efficient manner through this translation than if Spicer had attempted the task directly. * At one stage Spicer addresses Lorca with the assertion that he ‘would like to make poems out of real objects’16, a statement that illuminates his strange practice throughout After Lorca; a poem/sequence that does much to concentrate our mind upon the particulars of poetic objecthood. Thus the book form insists upon itself; the poemsallconstituentpartsofamachine 14 Poems & Translations, p. 269. 15 See Leslie Ullman’s Deep Imagists: The Subconscious as Medium. personal/i/isadoff/cap/Ullman.doc 16 My vocabulary did this to me, p. 133.


that would cease to function with pieces missing or isolated within magazines (hence the failure written into the submissions of Book of Magazine Verse [1965]) or anthologies: the ‘serial poem, in the first place, has the book as its unit — as an individual poem has a poem as its unit, the actual poem that you write at the actual time, the single poem.’17 The integrity of this machine and its units must come from without, as After Lorca demonstrates throughout: And you have to go into a serial poem not knowing what the hell you’re doing. That’s the first thing. You have to be tricked into it. It has to be some path that you’ve never seen on a map before and so forth.18 Spicercomesclosetoacknowledging theutopiannatureofhisserialtechnique here; while the techniques of After Lorca insistupontheabrogationofthewriterly ego, the volume is of course a muscular mastering of Lorca, of the scene, of all of the serial poem’s elements. Thus Spicer gives by ceding prime billing to the Spaniard, by humbly repeating the rubric ‘translation’ throughout, where appropriate and where not, and by gifting each element of the series to friends and associates from his poetic scene. Simultaneously, Spicer takes; he confronts Lorca through fantastical and fraudulent letters, he ventriloquises his forebear, brashly claiming Lorca’s work for his own and vice versa, and as much as he celebrates his friend with thosededicationshealsoimplicatesand denounces them.


And thus After Lorca debunks and insists upon its various provenances, both backwards in terms of source materialandforwardtoitscomplicatedly fraudulent set of dedicatees. And within Spicer’s poems it is Lorca’s post-Imagist thirst for the surrealist-particular that is the poems’most consistent stylistic trait, a method as indebted to the Berkeley Renaissance’s Poundian-Objectivist inheritance as it is directly received from Lorca. But; he of course fails to make any‘real objects’(whatever those might 17 18

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The House that Jack Built, p. 52. The House that Jack Built, p. 52.

be, finally) into poems, he mimes their objecthood, using this capacity – their mimeticfunction;thatfunctionperhaps furthest from the differentiated ‘real’ object – to both hail and discredit their objectness. Thus Spicer makes poems into objects; quite undoing his project. Ordoesthefailedmimesisherebecome, in its failure, the mute object that it aspires to imitate? And thus continues through aesthetic eternity flicking itself on and off; a machine constructed with the single function of switching itself, once charged by the watchful manus ex machina, off?19 * Finally, Pound also linked the practice of Imagism to translation: ‘Translation is likewise good training, if you find that your original matter “wobbles” when you try to rewrite it. The meaning of the poem to be translated can not “wobble.”’20 But these translations, and the hallucinated poems they translate, are all in the ‘wobble’; a self-righting, productive wobble, a gomboc.21 O to have trod the world in the world Mesolithic, the poets dialectical and troubled/untroubled. And in the far-off coming era to tread again among the lowdrooping ferns, the highreaching hymens of lush and foreign great orchids, will you plan and execute artworks dialectically again?

19 qVzMWk&feature=related 20 Ezra Pound, A Few Don’ts By an Imagiste, article/335 21 watch?v=pn811yIALPw

David Roas

Short story


Kapital 38 ‘Of course, in life there are a lot of things more important than money. But they cost a lot of money!’ Groucho Marx

Overbooked. The lips of the lady attending me at the Swiss Air counter just pronounced the feared word. The one time I get to the airport with plenty of time, it turns out that the plane is already full. The employee, very kind, apologises (Désolés, monsieur), gives me a ticket to check-in with no seat assigned and asks me to go to gate A-8, where her colleagues will try to sort out the problem. I know I should trust Helveticefficiency,but,givenmynatural pessimism, something inside warns me that the day will not bring me any good. I set aside those bad feelings and head towards gate A-8 following the

instructions of the kind employee. I pass all the checkpoints with no difficulties, I get close to the company’s counter and, after explaining my problem to the two people who attend me, they ask me to sit down and wait. Apparently, I am not the only one with such a problem. A couple stare at me, smiling, as if they were saying Yes, the same happened to us. I open my backpack, take a book and get immersed in reading as an entertainment for the waiting. After a time that seems eternal, one of the Swiss Air employees that had attended me comes and gives me a check-in ticket. But when I revise it, I


40 receive the second surprise of the day, thus they have assigned me a seat in first-class. There is no doubt that it is a mistake, so I’m swift to communicate to theemployeesofSwissAir,who,without abandoning their kindness, although with certain sarcastic complaisance, say I should not worry, it’s not a confusion, it is usual to move a second-class passenger (said like it’s awful) to first. When I get in the plane I cannot repress a shiver. A new world (yes, I confess, it is my first time) opens before me. Nervous as a child on Christmas Eve, I head towards the seat they assigned me: there waits for me an enormous grey leather seat where I sprawl with a slight grunt of pleasure. I check, almost in tears, that I can stretch my legs with complete comfort. Before take off, a hostess gives newspapers, chocolates and water with

a wide smile, (their usual blue uniform seems more sober and elegant than ever). A deceptive thought flourishes in my mind: now I am sure she will say they cannot give me any of those things because I have not paid for the right ticket. I am mistaken (again), and I receive, grateful, the same presents as the rest of my companions. After eating a chocolate, I open the water container. It is delicious. First class water, I think, doing an easy joke. The plane takes off comfortably, neatly. In a few minutes, it stabilises and the kind hostess from before starts serving dinner. More surprises: the trout was exquisite, the wine a marvellous Mosela (250 cc.), the chocolate dessert sublime (the hostess, seeing my enjoyment, brings me another plate, winking an eye), even the coffee is excellent… And all with unexpected metal cutlery (I look, surreptitiously, for

Semitic faces around me, they’re giving them the plane on a plate; but my fears are unfounded). I get up and go to the toilet. Before going back to my seat, I have the irrepressible temptation of looking at the other side of the curtain that the hostess, as usual, has drawn after taking off to isolate the first class area (an act that in my previous flights I always perceived, from my second class seat, as an insult). But my curiosity is not motivated because now I consider myself–circumstantially–superiortothe other passengers from that side of the plane, but for a question of perspective. In other words, to experience what can be seen from this side of the curtain border, light but insurmountable. I move the curtain a bit and I stick in my head. The scenario that appears before my eyes is horrific: the passengers are shaking widely holding tight to the armrests of the seats, some pray, some shout, the crew, sitting at the end of the aircraft, cannot repress their panic… a heavy shaking open some of the compartments and the suitcases fall, objects, clothes, over the horrified heads of the passengers.


But I do not feel anything. I look behind and I realise that in the first class everything is as calm as the start: my companions have finished their dinner and some have started reading, others chat slowly, some even snooze, meanwhile the hostess serves coffee with her placid smile. I stick my head through the curtain again and I see the same hair-rising scene.The passengers are still shouting, manycryinghysterically,awomanhugs her baby desperately. The turbulence is so violent that I sense the plane will not be able to save them. Scared, I almost say something to the guy siting closer to me when I feel a slight pressure on my left arm. It is

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our hostess. As if I were a child caught at a prank, she pulls an angry face of reproach, takes my hand and, after delicately closing the curtain, takes me to my seat. Before sitting I ask her if she can bring me a whisky. Without uttering a word, she takes the bottle from the metal trolley, serves me a generous quantity of scotch and gives me the glass with a big, delicious and sedative smile. Sprawled on my grey leather seat, I let myselfbecomeintoxicatedwiththetaste of the malt and pretend to think about the revolution.

Translated by Jessica Pujol [published in his book Distorsiones, Páginas de Espuma. Madrid, 2010, Premio Setenil 2011]

poetry Section 42 Salvador Espriu

Poem XX from Cemetery at Sinera Thorn shrub and holly, hidden snow   and thin air of tramuntana. Seaside winter: fragile sun over deserted beaches. tr. Harry Gilonis

Joan Salvat-Papasseit

The Memory of a Fugue by Bach I plodged off to Garraf

passing thirteen arcaded verandas in the mountains

only to see in Sitges the blue humming of a kitchen and the gleaming white of a \ lime-washed courtyard Where will the squirrel go when he can’t find any pine-nuts? – he’ll nibble his tail that’ll taste of them I’ve slogged at making a kite from the leaf of a calendar and it dropped with the same numeral


At least the Ministry have put my watch an hour forward Here where all universal value goes by the name Montjuïc

the darkhaired moon dressed in mourning All this an antiques dealer couldn’t grasp I’ve seen more:

– A child in rompers

gazes laughing at the stars

But no book speaks of the smile of this child And here’s what I told them

a common enough thing:

– The coloured six-pointed star at the Circus contains all the syntheses in the world. tr. Harry Gilonis for Paul Sutton

Joan Brossa

Time This line is the present. The line that you just read is the past - it was left behind after you read it. The rest of the poem is the future, existing outside your perception. The words are here, whether you read them or not. And nothing on earth can change that.

tr. Harry Gilonis

44 Joan Brossa

The Poet finds his Subject My universe is the poem. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like to ape nature like a photographer. I must make life itself appear. And the poem closes with a strophe that is only one word: the uni-verse.

tr. Harry Gilonis

Joan Brossa

The Kiss Breathing, seemingly, right at the foot of the tree, the obstinate grass. I pull a stalk trampled by many a foot. Here: take it as a memento of this evening with me. A poem


to be carved in lemonwood. And how did Daphnis take the kiss from ChloĂŤ?

tr. Harry Gilonis/Elizabeth James

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Ramon Gomez de la Serna

Greguerías Six is the only number After keen nights all the puddles

expecting a baby.

look cauterized. The blind man carefully angles Withered leaves wait for rain to infuse autumn tea.

his white stick

as if taking the

temperature of our cool indifference. Grains in the egg-timer are pouring you a nice cup of sand.

Bending to pick up a glove we shake hands with the dead.

He used to stare at the blank eyes of his nails.

the gull’s wings’ oars

Where have all the dead gone? Dunno. My map has blue and red veins.

After helping a blind person across the street we find

Night peeps at day


a bit

blind and confused.

through a horse’s eyes. Waves don’t mind the rain one bit Why the tears? Because, my

falling on their all-weather gear.

darling, this is the time of our lives. That cameo brooch she wore – ah, her breastbone. She plucked on her clarsach


like a half-crazed weaver of tweed.

Look at those lizards – minicrocodiles panting like heart patients.

Trying to make out the quietest waves of all: listening to this ancient radio’s blood transfusion.

Our ancestors taught themselves to live one-handed speaking on their clunky telephones.

The cock’s comb? God’s tailor just ran it up from remnants. The rocking chair was born for this: This x-ray of the foot clearly shows

nursing babies at the breast.

us bones designed to deliver a kick up the backside. Our little son’s ears so perfectly shaped


Good morning, wisps of cloud –

for holding a pencil –

God’s beard-trimmings. let’s apprentice him to a joiner. Dandy pianist the keys’

donning fine-

fingered gloves

The accordion is played by buttoning and unbuttoning its flies.

X is the alphabet’s deckchair

Swan’s way See how the first line of the canal’s long poem starts: a fancy S

God keeps the keys to all our belly-buttons.

Burnt offerings From the motorway’s alter, sniff the incense of

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yir tears’ll hing aroon lang enuff tae string a necklace.

Good shot Year by year the bow of summer fires off flights of

Broon eyes ayways say come in

swallows at our hearts.

but blue wans keep ye staunin at thir door.

Space In the sky’s graveyard the moon’s the oldest tombstone. Can’t quite … read … the date.

In the wean’s schuil bag, wan blunt pencil that looks like it’s been chowin at its nails.

Dead stop Listen. Lift it up to your ear. Shake. Still nothing from the skull’s stopped clock.

There’s nae consultants in the Royal for whit you’ve got: idiobloodysyncrasy.

Glesca greguerías

Who’s that in yir shiny black piana’s mirror? Music, oan a dreich night, dreepin at yir door.

Loch Katrine watter’s loast its memory, that’s how it ayways rins oot cauld an clear.

An dinnae bother greetin – nane o

tr. James McGonigal. From: R. Gomez de la Serna, Greguerías: Selección 1940-1952. Argentina: Colleción Austral, 1952.


Tony Lopez

When You Wish . . .


Boxes can seem to be presents but bars get you the weight of just-solid emulsion brand name moulded in negative. She leans back and shuts her eyes in silky excremental colours – say thirty pounds’ worth of chocolate because it is soft and easier to puke with flecks of blood on vitreous china. And the first sign of this anxiety is one among the applications to the hardship fund, days on end like this might as well stay in bed. Rouge shadows the cheek bone eyes enlarged with nylon fringes little blonde astonishment. She likes to walk just ahead through the park, runs a few steps and slows at risk. Little white leather boots and mini skirt. Lock up when no-one’s about to try on the too-small jeans. Who right away lies on the bed when the visitor enters a print by Patrick Proctor called My Gardenia. Slight folds on the lip skin stand proud of the surface tissue suffused to smoothness of just-solid emotion moulded in a block of scent

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to give him the staggers like oysters ripped open. Spots of caviar on soured cream. Dried porcini soaked overnight. Will you or will you not give in? The body image goes round from adverts to street gaze up the seams woven into nylon. I am an emergent formation inside this cellulite monster where intake instantly becomes body and must be paid back in privacy leaning on perfect white tiles. She walks and turns and walks some more, sees on whom the longing gaze bestows a special glow; the slim magic of sleeping beauty wrapped in furs, touched with snow. The light gait goes ahead on a ribbon of flagstones tap tap tap tap. A typist works late, goes Network South East in a class of her own, home in fear lays out food in microwave containers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; as any father who has a daughter fears the perfidious and drunken monster confined into this rock, prevented, peopled else this isle with lookalikes. Thus they waited in the garden under the loose vine, secretly, fearing the apeface in the mirror. So was I then transfixed in amazement by a flowering cherry so laden with blossom the pink and white petals flecked with red, falling on shoulders that glow strapless on a five day fast chewing crisp coated appetite suppressants


nicotine gum, flavoured liquid bulk of seaweed glue and apple fibre. On the woodpath where oxlips peep a runner passes at the edge of vision. Some kind of thin fabric leggings stomach tucked, looks like nothing at all. Part of the lips removed or sewn together with a tube or reed inserted to ease the flow of fluids. wires applied to fix the jaws after surgery only liquid food through a tube there inserted and opened at the time of marriage with a knife, fewer relapses from this new treatment regime. A man in ear-muffs and overalls strims cow parsley where it shades bluebells and snakeshead fritillaries in the reconstructed wildflower meadow. Nylon chord rips through lush and juicy stalks composing a self-sown woodland glade with an adroit surgical motion, leaving a whiff of petrol on the breeze. Starving faces in the compound watch multi-ethnic commercials on TV the perfect remodelled features on screen, relief grain sacks piled at the quayside a convoy of burnt-out trucks on the road.


Who says that white means innocent? Sugar and vanilla a Spanish idea who kept the secret a hundred years taken at the court of Montezuma.

nĂşmero 02

Pablo Neruda

X (From Twenty Love Poems) We lose this night one hand slips from the others in a blue surrender through the pane the distant peaked sunset by chance some light hot money grasped â&#x20AC;&#x201C; transitory and clenched came the memory of you in our meager feast of sadness Were you there? At all? With a voice? Some ill fitted sensation with no recourse. No comfort, only visions of pitiable animals Into eternity as you weave through beasts to the light.

tr. Elizabeth Guthrie


Poems by María Victoria Atencia

Christina’s World1 (from Compás binario [Binary time] 1984) Museum of Modern Art, New York I too was her age once, and lying on the grass, learnt of the sun overhead on the withered green, of a burning silence surrounding me, and a sudden -- perhaps stiff -- breeze of warning wounding my temples. I was her age. I've turned around and on myself, out of countenance, no doubt, to gaze at my house set high on the slope -moths nibbling my petticoat in the wardrobe -not having extracted from a branch of wisteria so much as a drop of its juice. I've turned around, mistaking my name, to save my house, though I remain in a picture where I only expect geese


will come polish off the nape of my neck tr. Roberta Quance 1. Painting by Andrew Wyeth.

Jorge Manrique2 (from Compás binario [Binary time] 1984) Down to that light which at once creates and destroys us, down from their nests come the rock-doves to drink. On the shore they lower their necks to the water and lift them up, and the water that bears their image empties into the sea, while they, divested of shadow wing their way back to their columbaries. tr. Roberta Quance 2. Jorge Manrique is the author of a late medieval elegy ‘Coplas por la muerte de su padre’ [Lines on the death of his father]. Atencia's poem alludes to the passage ‘Nuestras vidas son los ríos / que van a dar en la mar / que es el morir’ [Our lives are the rivers / which shall flow into the sea / which is death].

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That Light (from Paulina, o el libro de las aguas ( [Paulina, or the book of waters], 1984) Soul, withdraw. It's only beauty, that comes and tints the sky, dazzles you, and goes. Keep that declining light in your hands. The night is up to something: the darkness also blinds, with a heaven of its own to harry the waters. Straying fish wander into a deadly silt.

On the terrace the wind snaps the stems of the aloes.

tr. Roberta Quance

Wasteland (from La pared contigua [The adjacent wall], 1989) Well, I know where I come from, clutching an empty shoe box -- its cardboard against my breast -- and I know the box is mine and once was full and I scattered its contents along the ancient road; and I gazed at my image in the glass of the lower windows, ransacking the box, ransacking myself, and now I see myself walking with its barren space -- flesh against cardboard -- knowing where I'm bound; for the love you all one day, no doubt, bore me, don't stand in my way or ask me to go back: leave me on the street. Irremediably. Detached.

tr. Roberta Quance


Aurelia Lassaque

Two Poems Occitan An viatjat tras los matins verds Subre las aigas de l’ailà, An virat tantes còps Dins los cèls clars, An saludadas las milantas mòrts dels astres E son tornats als camps paures Per centenas Dins l’amudiment del temps present, Los aucèls del cande matin. English Through the green mornings they traveled Along waters of elsewhere, So many times they circled in the clear skies, They honored the many deaths of the planets and came back to the impoverished fields. Oh hundreds of them In the mute present of time Oh the white birds of the morning.


tr. Felip Costaglioli. Català Han viatjat a través dels verds matins Sobre les aigües de l’enllà, Han giravoltat tantes vegades Dins els cels clars, Han saludat Les innumerables morts dels astres I han tornat als pobres camps Per centenars Dins la mudesa de l’instant, Els ocells del blanc matí. tr. Laia Noguera

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Lo Rei de Seda Saura Engana l’aucelum e tuteja l’aura. Quilhat dins l’èrba salvatja A perdut sos uèlhs Raubats a la vèsta d’un soldat. Tres gojats son venguts Qu’an escampat sas tripas pel sòl Per i prene qualque dròlla mal pintrada. Privat de son còs de seda saura, L’espaurugal Fa de sòmis descabestrats Que desvarian los ausèls.


The King of Golden Silk Ensnares the birds and banters with the wind. Pitched on wild grassland He’s lost his eyes Stolen from the coat of a soldier. Three young lads came along Scattered his guts on the ground Where they laid a dishevelled girl.


El Rei de Seda Rossa Enganya l’ocellada i tuteja el vent. Arborat en l’herba salvatge, Ha perdut els ulls Robats del vestit d’un soldat. Han vingut tres xicots I li han escampat les tripes per terra Per jeure amb una noia mal girbada.

Without his body of golden silk The scarecrow Dreams ungovernable dreams That bewilder the birds. tr. James Thomas

Privat del seu cos de seda rossa, L’espantaocells Té somnis folls Que desorienten els moixons. tr. Laia Noguera.

From Moon Shadows : (Aurélia Lassaque, Ombras de luna – Ombres de Lune, Nîmes, éd. de la Margeride, 1ère éd. 2009, 2ème éd. 2010).


Jack Spicer

Aquatic Park Una traducción para Jack Spicer Una barca verde Pescando en el agua azul Las gaviotas rodean el embarcadero Llamando al hambre El viento se levanta del oeste Como el paso del deseo Dos niños juegan en la playa Se ríen


Las piernas larguiruchas proyectan sombras En la arena mojada Entonces, Tumbándose en la barca Un precioso pez negro.

tr. Jessica Pujol

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Amy De’Ath Three Poems

El cristal alto Eres el cristal más claro, solitario y alto, y eres libre, y te veo pálido, más pálido que un montón de chicas jóvenes fregando, condensándose al máximo en una lágrima inmensa, eres el anuncio del cristal del que bebes, es este el cristal del que bebes, es este ese cristal, te preocupan los años el día en que se te comieron en francés, el mito del volcán social siendo una chica concibes la felicidad como un pajarito o un globo sólo a nuestro alcancealgunos pájaros seguirán aquí cuando haya muerto. Me gustaría desligar un par de climas y lo hago, resbalando por los charcos de sudor de tu

frente. Hay una diferencia entre tú y yo una buena razón para intercambiar saliva, o para que te describas a ti mismo desde allí y entonces te alejes rápidamente Sí, pero no tienes que hacerlo, se nos viene encima el niño robusto de la primavera y está a punto de vaciar sus cálculos en nuestras cabezas y decide que estamos bien para seguir viviendo si queremos, la esperanza pende del aire entre bloques, madre bendita de la nieve te echo de menosla altitud de las abejas, pañuelo alto una riqueza, lo sé, yo también estaré allí en el cristal hay tanta riqueza.

tr. Jessica Pujol


de Poemas para pescetarianos

Sé que el mundo es calamidades, lugar que unos monos obstinados llamaron casa hace tiempo, al comienzo de la vida, en la esquina de un cojín de Rectory Road cuando cocinar pescado requería mucho tiempo. Sé que el mundo se enlentece hasta que me adentro en ti, sé que las hormigas tienen respuestas, ya me convenciste de ello y de su forma ingrata de hablar a los niños. Sé que el mundo es calamares, y me pregunto ¿por qué digo que las barritas de merluza son mías? Oh Cenicientas, sintonizo con vuestra cara mojada,


huele rancio pero me recuerda a los langostinos Benjamin, ya sé: acrimonia en un tiempo en que bandas de los noventa del tipo Cotton Eye Joe imagino que fueron lo más parecido que tuvimos a un oráculo, quiero decir que conozco el hondo hervidero del amor, las migas de la fritura lo más preciado, millonésimo candidato, además de mi bolso de almeja y un saco de espinas. tr. Jessica Pujol

número 02

La vall vertigen Vas arribar –va ser imprevisible, unes abelles inclús cantaren

en un núvol futur

molt llunyà

i groc. No ets mai pervers. Mai has sigut pervers.

Tu pots! Un gos

emprèn l’amor contra la portalada buida així com altres coses passen

com que t’adorms, mor en Shakespeare però

ressuscita en Noroit. Com reconeixeré el calor del fred

i el seu escamot pirata? Sento

el fred. Tinc una estàtua de mi mateixa d’aspecte atonal que diu “la més encantadora de totes” ho abat tot”, jo també responc. * Vull dir que no intercanvio ànimes, p.ex. no entenc que tocar

fortuïtament ho excusi, no sabia

com alçar el vol de la primavera i vaig aprendre a respondre

estudiant amb rigor les gavines,

esperant que els seus besos duressin més que la fam i per sempre amén, ecs

tota la bondat, el pseudo-budisme,

jo vull totalitzar o viure-hi, en el món sense llibres, biblio

grafies pornogràfiques o

cuina turca, jo responc cridant els espais en blanc, avergonyint

tot tipus de metall,

clubs de striptease, així com llums de tauleta de nit i ull de gata en pous de mel,

però què diu la flor?

Flor, què és el que vols fer –noi oh la la, les chapelles

de mes elles! Flor

Invincible, Deixa que aquesta primavera sigui única, deixa que les notes siguin gossos,

és el temps del cos,

temps en que la teva mirada assídua troba la meva i la nostra cuirassa brilla a la superfície

d’una lluna retrògrada.

Oh la meva flor, Oh el meu rodeo. Escolta el meu bes, deixa que faci aquesta

broma sobre tu i m’hi assenti a sobre, escolta

el meu cul, el començament d’un nou cor que sent

el teu destí tacat de curri. El llac


empassa. El cor al teu cul i assenta-t’hi. Em manté fora del carrer,

primavera, dos animals en pau. *

Ara sóc veritable nuesa, una espècie de noia bala de fenc, una actriu

ximpleta saltant rius

en les còmiques aventures de Boots. Posant-me d’acord amb

gairebé dos milions de persones que empenyo

per Londres cada dia i per una estona sóc teva, per

una vegada deixa que et


no puc, estic massa afectada pels mobles del Pacific. Mai

hem parlat de que ens podem trobar

un dia en un poema, potser inclús en aquest que

vaig deixar al teu costat aquella nit

pastisset, que et vas assentar al meu costat. Et vas donar un cop

de cap amb la màscara de gat

i se’t van ocórrer 100 idees sexy. Inclús els teus petons eren millors


trencant-se a l’oceà

on per amor flota la crema. * No importa que siguis una gelatina imploradora i esvelta,

com afecta la teva escalfor

a una noia. No parlaré aquesta nit quan

estàs posseït escrivint.

Quan ets terra i mar amb tendència a arraulir-te en el teu

tronc d’arbre contant les reblades,

sempre penso que tens més de 2.000 anys i no m’equivoco,

ja ho sé,

però sempre em sorprèn. Què estàs fent ara, espero

que tornis, jo oh oh,

preciosa, per resumir i apropar-me al present

estaré aquí sempre

amb tu? Potser morim abans de que tornin els ratpenats.

número 02

Islàndia s’estén, s’entén

que em converteixis en la teva senyoreta solitària, jo també estaré sola,

desintegraré la felicitat

en pols i m’instal·laré a la teva pell i faré diamants amb tu.

Escriuré alguna vegada un

Poema, escriuràs mai això amb mi, no ho crec, així que ho puc fer.

No crec que la poesia,

no crec, la diferència és important en els mars difícils,

no per un espectre nou.

M’agradaria saber que sempre sóc present, sempre et canto,

inclús quan estàs posseït

tot d’un plegat em reben totes les coses salvatges, les fulles salvatges.

Ara sóc

propicia a tot. Pren nota que avui fora de les llibretes, en

l’estès plomatge dels nostres cervells,

què més dóna el que faci si gires el cap

graciosament cap a l’esquerra,

el gires amb gràcia. Quin alleujament renunciar a tota la fauna,

deixar-ho tot

al príncep distret que era el meu enemic però últimament

tan sols rebota la meva mirada

a través de les finestres dels autobusos d’hidrogen. Perquè tinc el tiquet daurat

i cupons i vals de descompte,

no n’estic segura del que no podem aconseguir

mirant els ànecs calents

clacar, els seus cossos brillants i massissos escombraven el carrer.

tr. Jessica Pujol La vall vertigen


Maria Mercè Marçal Two Poems

Solstice (from Terra de mai, 1982) Your sex and mine are two mouths. Don’t you feel what a dew kiss on the flesh! What a nip, with the brightness of a living almond! What a talk with night-dew of an open gorge! What a dance, little tongues without a bridle! What a secret of a narrow pass! Our sexes, love, are two mouths. And two sexes rattling us now to the place of mouths. A buried terror, the sunken echo of the bridle that tamed the dancing of the flesh, we have the beach wide open: let’s launch here the desire of the living surf. Your sex and my mouth alive, in abundance, twisted together as if they were two sexes, intermingling liquors of the open fruit and becoming, in full raving, mouths. Mouths, corals in lacuna of flesh where the hour feeds the fate and loses the bridle.


We are where the hour and the fate lose the bridle, where we ride on the spring living tide, without sails, sliding along the wake of the flesh, my sex and your mouth: sexes in the middle of the face and the crotch, mouths. Everything is an undulation of open salt. Sea castles at a party, in the open night effacing signs and giving the bridle of everything to the madness of mouths. Any dead leaf becomes alive in the sunlight that gives dark light to the sexes and paints in carmine the flames of the flesh. Let everything burn in a torrent of flesh and let our open sap ripen! Let the solstice of our sexes happen, let the heart convert to rain every bridle! Let the patches burst into a living tilth! Let the forests flourish in thousands of mouths! And let the mouths make the flesh takes root, alive, like the open skin with no bridle at the mirror of our sexes!

número 02

tr. Noèlia DiazVicedo

Untitled Poem (from Thawing, 1989)

I love you when I know you naked like a little girl, like an open hand, like a high and tender call that beckons me from a naked branch, like a fish that forgets the fish hooks. Like a terrified fish with a fish hook in its mouth. Like an axe in the eyes of the mutilated child in dreams, in flesh. Like blood that runs. Naked like blood. I love you when I know you naked like a knife, like a vivid and offered leaf, like a thunderclap that burns it, blind. Like the grass, like the rain. Like my shadow, naked behind the frozen mirror. As naked as a breast stuck to my lips. Like the open lip of a toothless old man Facing death. Like the disarmed And open hour of thawing.

tr. Noèlia DiazVicedo


John Ashbery

Two Poems from Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

Com qui fiquen borratxo al vaixell de càrrega Vaig provar-ho tot, només alguns eren lliures i immortals. A qualsevol altre indret ens trobem com si seiéssim en un lloc on el sol es filtra, a poc a poc, esperant que arribi algú. Es diuen paraules dures i el sol esgrogueeix les fulles de l’auró... I això va ser tot, però vaig sentir el bellugueig obscur d’un nou alè en les pàgines que al l’hivern feien olor de catàleg vell. Sorgien noves frases. I tanmateix l’estiu


anava prou bé, sense haver passat encara el punt àlgid, ple i fosc amb la promesa d’aquella plenitud, aquell moment en què ningú no pot marxar i fins i tot els menys atents es queden en silenci per tal d’observar allò que ha de passar. Una mirada gèlida t’atura i camines tremolós: m’hauran vist? S’hauran adonat de la meva presència, aquest cop, de tal com sóc, o ho han tornat a deixar per a més endavant? Els infants juguen encara, els núvols apareixen amb una sobtada impaciència en el cel de la tarda, després es dissipen mentre arriba, densa i límpida, la penombra. Només per aquell so de clàxon a baix, per un moment, vaig pensar que començava aquell gran afer seriós, orquestrat, amb els colors concentrats en un cop d’ull, una balada que ara abasta el món sencer, però amb suavitat,

número 02

amb suavitat encara, a pesar de la seva autoritat i gran tacte. El predomini d’aquests borrallons grisos que cauen? Són taques solars. Has dormit al sol més temps que l’esfinx, i no ets qui en surt més ben parat. Entra. I em va semblar que una ombra cobria la porta, però era només ella que arribava per tornar-me a demanar si entrava, i em deia que, si no, no tingués pressa. La lluentor de la nit s’imposa. Una lluna pàl·lida i cistersense s’ha enfilat al bell mig del cel, instal·lada, finalment compromesa amb això de la fosca. I sorgeix un sospir de totes les coses petites del món, els llibres, el paper, els lligacames vells i els botons dels calçotets llargs guardats en alguna capsa de cartró, i totes les versions més baixes de ciutats aplanades sota la nit que tot ho iguala. L’estiu exigeix i s’emporta massa coses, però la nit —la reservada, la reticent— dóna més del que s’enduu.

66 tr. Melcion Mateu

Situació agreujant Igual que una tempesta, va dir, els colors trenats em banyen i no em serveixen de res. O iqual que aquell que, en un banquet, no menja res, perquè no sap escollir entre els plats fumejants. Aquesta mà tallada defensa la vida i la llibertat de vagar per on vulgui, per l’est o per l’oest, pel nord o pel sud, sempre camina un estrany al meu costat. Ai, estacions, cabines, chaleur, curanderos amb barret negre als afores d’alguna festa rural, el nom que eviteu i no dieu mai és el meu, el meu! Algun dia em queixaré de com n’estic de cansat per culpa vostra, però mentrestant el passeig continua. Tothom està llest per sortir, segons sembla. I és que què més tenim? Els jocs anuals? Sí, hi ha ocasions per als uniformes blancs i per a un llenguatge especial mantingut en sectet davant dels altres. Tallen les llimes tal com cal. Tot això bé que ho sé però es veu que no puc evitar que m’afecti, cada dia, tot el dia. He provat alguna distracció, llegir fins ben entrada la nit, viatjar en tren i l’amor. Un dia em va trucar un home quan no hi era i em va deixar aquest missatge: «S’ha equivocat de cap a cap. Per sort, encara té temps de corregir la situació, però ha d’actuar amb rapidesa. Vingui’m a veure tan aviat com pugui. I, sisplau, no parli amb ningú del tema. En depenen moltes coses, a més de la seva vida.» Al principi, no em va preocupar gens. Darrerament m’he estat mirant peces antiquades de roba escocesa, tocant colls blancs emmidonats, pensant si hi ha manera que tornin a ser blancs. La meva dona


es pensa que sóc a Oslo —a Oslo, França, és clar.

tr. Melcion Mateu

número 02

Ezra Pound

Canto IV Palácio em luz fumegante, Tróia um fiapo de fronteiras crestadas no fogo, ANAXIFORMINGES! Aurunculeia! Ouça-me. Cadmo de Proas Douradas! Espelhos de prata captam o brilho das rochas, fulguram; A aurora, para o nosso despertar, imerge na luz verde-fria; Orvalho –névoa embaça, na grama, calcanhares pálidos se movendo. Bate, bate, zumbe, um baque, na relva suave            sob as macieiras, Choros nympharum, pata de bode, alternando um pé branco; Crescente de águas raiadas de azul, verde-ouro nos bancos de areia, Um galo negro canta na espuma do mar;   E junto ao curvado, esculpido pé do coxim,             pata-garra e cabeça leonina, um velho sentado Murmura num tom monótono... :                         Ityn! Et ter flebiliter, Ityn, Ityn! E ela foi à janela e de lá se jogou,             “O tempo todo, todo, andorinhas gritando: Ityn!               “E tinhas o coração de Cabestan no prato.”             “Eu tinha o coração de Cabestan no prato?             “Nenhum outro sabor me será grato.” E ela foi à janela,                         a fina barra de pedra branca Fazendo um arco duplo; Firmes os dedos na firme rocha branca; Oscilou um momento,                         E o vento vindo de Rhodez Inflou a manga de sua camisa.                 .  .  .  as andorinhas gritando: ’Tis.  ’Tis.  Ytis!             Actæon...                 e um vale, O vale espesso com folhas, com folhas, as árvores, A luz do sol brilha, brilha no alto, Como um teto de escama de peixe,             Como o teto da igreja em Poictiers Se fosse de ouro.             Abaixo, abaixo Nem raio, nem fibra, nem sequer um disco de luz do sol Laminando a água negra, suave; No banho do corpo de ninfas, de ninfas, e Diana, Ninfas, branco-agregadas em torno dela, e o ar, o ar, Sacudindo, o ar aceso com a deusa,


soprando os cabelos no escuro, Erguendo, erguendo e agitando: Marfim imergindo na prata,            Escurecido, obscurecido Marfim imergindo na prata, Nem borrão, nem sequer um  breve estilhaço de luz do sol. Então Actæon: Vidal, Vidal.  É o velho Vidal tagarelando,             tropeçando ao longo do bosque, Nem bruxuleio, nem salpicado que seja de luz do sol,             os cabelos lívidos da deusa. Saltam os cães sobre Actæon,             “Aqui, aqui, Actæon,” Gamo malhado do bosque; Ouro, ouro, mecha dourada,             Espessa como feixe de trigo, Brilho, brilho no sol,             Saltam os cães sobre Actæon. Tropeçando, tropeçando ao longo do bosque, Murmurando, murmurando Ovídio:             “Pergusa... lago... lago... Gargáfia, “Lago... lago de Salmacis.”             A armadura vazia estremece ao movimento do cisne.   Então a luz chove, então entorna, e lo soleills plovil O cristal líquido e impetuoso             sob os joelhos dos deuses. Prega a prega, suave luzir de água; Filete de riacho traz pétalas brancas. O pinheiro em Takasago cresce com o pinheiro de Isé! A água agita a areia de alvo brilho junto à fonte “Eis a Árvore dos Semblantes!” Pontas de ramos forcados, flamejando como lótus. Prega a prega O fluido raso revolteia, sob os joelhos dos deuses.   Tochas se fundem no clarão             a chama acesa do quiosque da esquina, Azul-ágata envolve o céu (como em Gourdon aquela vez)             o espirrar de resina, Sândalo açafrão se despetala em pés pequenos: Hymenæus Io!             Hymen, Io Hymenæe!    Aurunculeia! Uma flor escarlate deposta na pedra alvibranca.               E Sõ-Gyoku, dizendo: “Este vento, senhor, é o vento do rei,             Este vento é o vento do palácio, Sacudindo os jatos d’água imperiais.”


número 02

E Hsiang, afrouxando o colarinho: “Este vento ruge no fundo da terra,            expele a água em torrentes.” Nenhum vento é o vento do rei.             Que cada vaca fique com seu vitelo. “Este vento é retido em cortinas de gaze...” Nenhum vento é o do rei...   Os cameleiros sentam-se na volta da escada, Miram Ecbátana de ruas planejadas, “Danaë! Danaë! Que vento é o do rei? Fumaça se apega à corrente, Os pessegueiros espalham folhas radiantes na água, O som flutua na névoa vespertina,             A barca arranha o vau, Vigas douradas sobre a água negra,             Três passos num espaço aberto, Pilares de pedra cinzenta à frente...   Père Henri Jacques ia falar com o Sennin, no Rokku, Monte Rokku entre a rocha e os cedros, Polhonac, Como Gyges na louça trácia fez a festa, Cabestan, Tereu,             E tens o coração de Cabestan no prato, Vidal, ou Ecbátana, na torre dourada em Ecbátana Deita-se a noiva do deus, deita-se sempre, para a chuva dourada. No Garonne. “Saave!” O Garonne é espesso como tinta, Procissão, — “Et sa’ave, sa’ave, sa’ave Regina!” — Se move como um verme na multidão. Adige, filme esguio de imagens, Através do Adige, de Stefano, Madonna in hortulo, Como Cavalcanti a viu.             O calcanhar do Centauro fincado na lama. E nos sentamos aqui...             lá na arena...

tr. DirceuVilla


Dirceu Villa

cefalópode leio que o polvo gigante é silencioso, fluindo sem ossos em noite profunda; sem corpo: cabeça e tentáculos só. hectocótilo, o seu sexo imóvel; & comer, um plano de lentas ventosas: alcança, então prende, consome e se move. produz uma tinta e escreve com ela arabescos ilegíveis no oceano, água que os esquece quando estão impressos [se diz: rapida scribere oportet aqua] na melancólica tinta que o camufla. também os zoólogos comem sua carne? — imenso, mas sem corpo, o mole covarde escreve apenas quando foge ao que não sabe. pegajoso, e o que expele suja o azul.

cephalopod 71

i read the giant octopus is silent, boneless flowing in deep deep night; bodiless too: head and tentacles only. hectocotylus, its unmoving sex; & eating is a plan of sluggish suckers: it reaches it, then grabs it, gorges it and then moves. it makes an ink and writes with it illegible arabesques in the ocean, water that forgets’em when already printed [we say: rapida scribere oportet aqua] by its camouflaging melancholy ink. zoologists would also eat its flesh? — immense, but bodiless, the limp cowardly writes only when flying from what it doesn’t know. clingy, and what it expels tarnishes the blue.

tr. DirceuVilla

número 02



nĂşmero 02



nĂşmero 02


Alba Biographies Amy De’Ath Amy De’Ath was born in Suffolk, England in 1985. She studied at the University of East Anglia, UK, and in Philadelphia, US, before moving to Australia and then London. Her publications include Erec & Enide (Salt, 2010), and Andromeda / The World Works for Me (Crater Press, 2010). She has a new chapbook, Caribou, due out soon in the UK from Bad Press, and her work is featured in a number of UK anthologies published this year. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Open Letter: a Canadian Journal of Writing and Theory, QUID, Jacket2, Esque, onedit, and Vlak magazine. For three years she lived and worked in London, where she was recently Poet-in-Residence at the University of Surrey. She now lives in Vancouver, where she is beginning her PhD on contemporary poetry and theory at Simon Fraser University.

Noèlia Diaz Vicedo Noèlia Diaz Vicedo es escritora, traductora e investigadora. Nació en Agost (Alacant), España en 1977. Acaba de terminar su doctorado en Queen Mary, University of London sobre la poesía de Maria-Mercè Marçal. Combina las clases en esta universidad con la investigación de la poesía contemporánea de mujeres en lengua castellana y catalana. Ha publicado Maria-Mercè Marçal: An Exploration of Feminine Poetics in the Works of a Late 20th Century Catalan Poet (Cuadernos de Trabajos de Investigación, Universidad de Alicante, 2004) y diversos artículos sobre escritura y mujer. Colabora con el Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of London.

Carlos Fernández López


Carlos Fernández López es Master of Arts in Comparative Literature (UCL). Ha sido premiado en el XII Certamen de poesía de los Colegios Mayores de Madrid, el XXIV Premio de Poesía Isabel de España y La voz + joven 2007. En los últimos años ha tomado parte en proyectos interdisciplinares en los que su poesía dialoga con la música—vitral de voz (Madrid, 2004)— la danza —i(u)ter (Mallorca, 2006)— y la performance —ERICA (Dresde, 2008)— y desarrollado una intensa actividad investigadora, recogida en César Vallejo: textos rescatados (2009). Acaba de publicar Vitral de voz, (DVD Ediciones), su primer libro de poemas. Pueden encontrar la obra de Carlos en: http://vimeo. com/20779493

Gregorio Fontén Gregorio Fontén (Chile, 1983). Musician and poet. He works as a composer and performs his music and poetry solo or with his project/band Cuchufleta. He has been published in several anthologies of visual and experimental poetry. From orchestral works to song cycles, his latest work is centered in the exploration of microtonality and just intonation as a basic element for music construction and for the interaction with other art forms.

Harry Gilonis Harry Gilonis is a poet, editor, publisher, and occasional critic (writing on poetry, music, and art). He wrote the catalogue essay for Ian Hamilton Finlay’s exhibition Variations On SeveralThemes held at Barcelona's Fundació Joan Miró.  His first poetry book, Reliefs, was technically published in Dublin, but actually came from an Irish press based in Barcelona.  A Professor at a Canadian university said of Harry Gilonis that he“collaborates with his reading”; much of his work works intertextually, through assorted modes of translation and mis-translation.  His most recent book, eyeblink, from Veer Books in London, consists of “faithless” translations of classical Chinese poetry; he has also published Acacia Feelings, the collected poems of Pao Ling-hui, with Crater in London.

Elizabeth Guthrie Elizabeth Guthrie is doing research for a practice-based PhD in text and performance at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is poet and performer, a co-editor of Livestock Editions and the former poetry editor of Bombay Gin. Her work has appeared in Onedit, Requited, Klatch, Bombay Gin, Pinstripe Fedora and American Drivel Review, with a pamphlet, X Portraits, out through Crater Press, a chapbook,Yellow and Red, through Black Lodge Press, and the collaborative chapbook with Andrew K. Peterson, Between Here and the Telescopes, through Slumgullion Press. She is poet in residence at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in London and has performed for POLYply, Crossing the Line, Desperate for Love, Crater, Openned and in the seminar Poetic Corners within the Exhibition Cornered Rooms at the Waterside Project Space. She continues her search for the Art of Memory. número 02

Lorenza Ippolito Born in Johannesbourg (South Africa) in 1979, she is a fine art photographer based in Brighton, working out of the Blank Studios, and on behalf of Fabrica Art Gallery, and the organiser of Armchair Critics. She completed an MA in Photography at Brighton University in 2007, having already obtained a degree in Fine Art in Italy. Her work is concerned with topics relating to cross cultural identity, intimacy, and ideas of self-representation. She lived for many years in Bologna, though she spent her formative years in South Africa and currently lives and works in Brighton.

Elizabeth James lizabeth James is a 'resting' poet (Base to Carry, Barque Press, 2003) and a librarian at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Aurélia Lassaque Born in 1983, Aurélia Lassaque is a poet in both the French and Occitan languages. She is keenly interested in the relationship between poetry and the visual arts and has collaborated with a number of artists, including Julie Baugnet, an American painter and academic (shows in the US in 2009 and in Italy in 2010), Adriana Civitarese, Jaumes Privat, Robert Lobet and Véronique Agostini. Her poems have been translated into Catalan, Italian, English, Albanian and Arabic, and have been published in various magazines and anthologies. In 2010 she was responsible for the artistic direction of the Festival of European and Mediterranean Minority Literatures (organized in Italy). In 2011 she is in charge of the exhibition « Dialogue entre cultures et langues », to be held at the Conseil de l'Europe. Aurélia Lassaque is also working on a PhD thesis about baroque Occitan drama. She has published Cinquena Sason (Letras d’oc, 2006), Ombras de Luna / Ombres de Lune (Éditions de la Margeride, 1st 2009, 2nd 2010), E t’entornes pas / Et ne te retourne pas, (Éditions de la Margeride, 2010), Lo sòmi d’Euridícia – le rêve d’Eurydice, (Éditions les Aresquiers, février 2011) ; Lo sòmi d’Orfèu – le rêve d’Orphée (Éditions les Aresquiers, juillet 2011) ; Solstici lo bram de Janus – Solstice, le brame de Janus (to be published by Éditions Jacques Brémond, Autumn 2011).

Tony Lopez Tony Lopez is an English poet best known for his book False Memory (The Figures, 1996) a political poem composed in multiple registers of public language. His most recent poetry publication is Only More So (University of New Orleans Press, 2011), the latest of 25 books of poetry, fiction and criticism. He has received awards from the Wingate Foundation, the Society of Authors, the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, and Arts Council England. His poetry is featured in TwentiethCentury British and Irish Poetry (Oxford), Vanishing Points (Salt), The Reality Street Book of Sonnets (RSE), Other: British & Irish Poetry since 1970 (Wesleyan) and Conductors of Chaos (Picador). His critical writings are collected in Meaning Performance: Essays on Poetry (Salt, 2006) and The Poetry of W.S. Graham (Edinburgh University Press, 1989). He taught for many years at the University of Plymouth where he was appointed the first Professor of Poetry. His website is at http://tonylopez.

Melcion Mateu Melcion Mateu Adrover (Barcelona, 1971) és un poeta i traductor català. Amb Vida evident (Columna Edicions, 1999), el seu debut, va guanyar el premi Octavio Paz de poesia; és un llibre format per sonets, que va sorprendre pel seu domini tècnic i la intensitat del seu vers. Més tard va venir Ningú, petit (Edicions 62, 2002), un homenatge al còmic Little Nemo in Slumberland, de Winsor McCay; es tracta d'una filigrana poètica en la qual la infantesa i les petites coses centren bona part del discurs. Finalment, Jardí amb cangurs (Edicions 62, 2005), un llibre divers i marcat especialment pel llarg poema 'Veritable Panamà', tercera part del volum, una composició de 368 versos que actualitza la tradició èpica.

James McGonigal James McGonigal (b.1947) has combined professional work in schools and teacher education with editing volumes on Pound and Bunting and on literary relations between Scotland and Ireland. His own poetry has won prizes in both countries. Recent publications include Beyond the Last Dragon: A Life of Edwin Morgan (Sandstone Press, 2010) and Cloud Pibroch (Mariscat Press, 2010) which won the Michael Marks Poetry Pamphlet Award.

Laia Noguera i Coflent Laia Noguera i Clofent (Calella, 1983) ha publicat els llibres de poesia L’oscultor (2002), Fuga


evasió (2004), Incendi (2005), No et puc dir res (2007), Els llops (2009), Triomf (2009), L’U (2010) i Parets (2011). Ha gravat el disc Carboncle amb el violista de roda Adrià Grandia, amb qui ha creat diversos espectacles de música i poesia, i és guitarra solista en el grup de thrash Red for more, amb el qual ha gravat la maqueta Red for more.

Mazal Oaknin Mazal Oaknin nació en Almeria, pero pronto se cansó de los invernaderos y se fue a ver mundo, a la par que acumular títulos universitarios. Tras un inolvidable periplo por Málaga, Birmingham, el estado de Nueva York y París, Mazal se instaló en Londres en 2007 con una licenciatura en Traducción, un máster en ELE y bastante experiencia (y paciencia) como profesora de español. Desde entonces, ha terminado un máster en Estudios Hispánicos (UCL) y ha publicado y presentado diversos artículos en Especulo, ALEPH, WISPS e IGRS, entre otros. Mazal sigue en Londres, donde trabaja, estudia y se divierte. No ve la hora de terminar su tesis en 'Women's Literature and Public Reception' (UCL).

Richard Parker Richard Parker was born in 1978 and had his D.Phil. conferred upon him in the summer of 2010 for a dissertation on the work of Louis Zukofsky and Ezra Pound. He’s also published books of poetry, including China and from The Mountain of California… in the summer of 2010. He’s the editor and printer of the Crater pamphlet series, which is available at

Jessica Pujol i Duran Jessica Pujol i Duran was born in Barcelona in 1982 and is currently living in London, though her home is Mataró in tropical Maresme. In London she is working on a Ph.D. on Julio Cortázar and experimental writing in the 1960s at UCL. She is also a poet and has written and translated extensively in Catalan and Spanish. Her first book in English, Now Worry., is forthcoming from Department Press.

Roberta Quance


Roberta Ann Quance was born in Canandaigua, New York in 1950 and received her Ph.D. in Romance Studies at Cornell University in 1982. She is at present living in Belfast, where she is a senior lecturer in Spanish at Queen’s University. Prior to this she lived and worked in Spain, teaching on the English faculty at the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid.

William Rowe William Rowe is a Professor at Birbeck, University of London. He is the author of several books on LatinAmericanliteratureandculture,including: Ensayosvallejianos (Lima,LatinoamericanaEditores, 2006) and Cesar Vallejo: El acto y la palabra (Lima: Fondo Editorial del Congreso del Peru, 2010). William's book on Spanish American poetry since 1950 was published in 2000 by Oxford University Press.  He is a founding editor of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies: Travesia and remains on its advisory board. He is a specialist in 20c poetry and poetics in Latin America, the USA and Britain, and has published widely, read and broadcast translations of Latin American poetry.

Dirceu Villa Dirceu Villa was born in 1975 in São Paulo, Brazil, and is the author of three books of poetry: MCMXCVIII (1998), Descort (2003) and Icterofagia (2008). He has translated Joseph Conrad’s short stories (2009) and Ezra Pound’s Lustra (2011), written essays on the revision of Portuguese and Brazilian poetry canon and organized an anthology of 12 contemporary Brazilian poets for the literary magazine La Otra (Mexico City). He has also written introductions to the works of Marlowe, Baudelaire and Mallarmé, and is now finishing his PhD thesis at the University of São Paulo, on the Italian and English poetics of the XV and XVI centuries. David Roas (Barcelona, 1965). Escritor y profesor de Teoría de la Literatura y Literatura Comparada en la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. Especialista en literatura fantástica, ha dedicado a este género diversas obras, entre las que cabe destacar los siguientes ensayos: Teorías de lo fantástico (2001), Hoffmann en España (2002), De la maravilla al horror. Los orígenes de lo fantástico en la cultura española (1750-1860) (2006) y La sombra del cuervo. Edgar Allan Poe y la literatura fantástica española del siglo XIX (2010). Como escritor ha publicado los volúmenes de cuentos: Los dichos de un necio (1996), Horrores cotidianos (2007) y Distorsiones (2010).

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nĂşmero 02

alba Londres issue 02  

In this issue Mazal Oaknin and Noèlia Díaz Vicedo talk about women's literature and translation in Spain. We interview the Chilean artist...

alba Londres issue 02  

In this issue Mazal Oaknin and Noèlia Díaz Vicedo talk about women's literature and translation in Spain. We interview the Chilean artist...