Tag Archives: poetry

Map and territory: LIFE TRANSLATED FOR OTHERS (3)

by Santiago Barcaza S.

When the Nobel Prize was given to Beckett, the Swedish Academy considered the set of its texts in English and French as a single work and at the award ceremony, its dedication to “one man, two languages ​​and a third nation” [ Ireland]”.

Beckett is the self-translator who has received more attention and more studies have been done since he was the first to arouse interest in self-translation as a subject of study (Cohn, 1961). The anecdote is the following: the impossibility of finding an English publisher for his texts, considered at the time as untranslatable, caused the author to translate into French his work Murphy, written in English and published in 1938. From 1946, Beckett writes only in French, something that is quite difficult for him, and he translates himself into English. The recognition comes in 1953, year of the appearance of En attendant Godot and Trilogie. The self-translation into English of the first, Waiting for Godot, appears a year later, in 1954, when it is reconciled with the English language. From that moment on, he continues writing in both languages ​​and exchanging the directions of the self-translation.

By the way, to the question, why self-translate? It is not difficult to understand the eagerness of authors like Tagore or Beckett to reach more readers, to ambition as soon as possible a place in the history of universal literature. But there is also another literature. There is a literature that comes from the bosom of cultures that resist extinction, languages ​​that do not give ground to the languages ​​of the colonizers.

odi gonzales
The poet Odi Gonzales

I held a conversation with Odi Gonzales (Cuzco, 1961), poet, translator, self-translator, professor and researcher at NYU, where among other topics we spoke about the Quechua language and its resistance. Here are some fragments of that conversation:

“In a language in danger of extinction, the passage of time will always generate profits and losses. For example, the advent of technological devices and the Internet allow you to communicate with monolingual children from a rural school in the Andes and record the conversation; or make documentaries, movies, photography, etcetera. These records are documents that will not be deleted, they will survive the speakers themselves. That is a gain. But at the same time, these media, with hegemony in Castilian or English, are undermining the speech of monolinguals or bilinguals, who tend to use more the acquired language, to incorporate neologisms into their lexicon”.

And with regard to the orality of the Quechua language, he tells us:

“For example, in the Quechua oral stories, there is no omniscient narrator, since that would make the story implausible: the narrator can not be in two places at once, or know what his characters think. On the other hand, in writing [in the dominant language], the omniscient narrator is crucial, indispensable. Likewise, we believed that Joyce had invented the interior monologue in Ulysses, that paradigm of the modern novel. But the truth is that internal monologue is common practice of oral languages. In Quechua, it is configured exclusively with the pronoun us (ñoqayku), which involves the narrator and his immediate surroundings. The poet speaks for himself and for his own, not for others. The great difference between the interior monologue of a foxs tale and that of Ulysses, is the extension. By its nature, the inner monologue of an oral story is short, precise and concrete, composed only a sentence or two. Instead, Bloom’s inner monologue is a 42-page stream”.

(You can check the complete interview in Spanish here)

With Quechua, Odi talks to us about a kind of oraliture (?). The translations come and go, from the first to the second language and vice versa, and in the turns the words are polished together like stones. As explained by Odi, oral literature as an artistic expression of the Andean cosmovision, marks a cultural continuity between what has been and what it is today. Authors who live in communities and in cities, who permanently travel the path between both spaces. Making their lives territory of coexistence and conflict: between tradition and modernity, between the community and the individual, between the original language and the imposed language. But at the same time, translating, or rather self-translating, the complex message that is transmitted from the oral to the written, and vice versa. Because after all, how do you create a literature that is not written?

Map and territory. A fictitious and real construction at the same time, by authors descendants of peoples and subjugated cultures. A fiction that delimits a territory with diffuse borders, with authors whose mother tongue is the dominant one, but who possess the strength to fulfill the mission of not turning their back on their ancestors.

In the next installment, we will approach the work of Mapuche poets, from the Kenyan Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and we will follow the dialogue with Rodrigo Rojas.

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Sergio Mondragón and Collaborative Translation

Koss - Mexico - Mondragon

Zane Koss and Sergio Mondragón on June 11, 2018.

 

Posted by Zane Koss – PhD Candidate in English Literature at NYU

On June 11th, I had the pleasure of meeting with Sergio Mondragón in the Coyoacán neighbourhood of Mexico City. My dissertation focuses on Mexican and Canadian poetry in the 1960s and 1970s, searching for meaningful connections between poets and means of reading comparatively that are able to situate these poets both within their own complex national contexts and within broader transnational poetic movements. From 1962 to 1969, Mondragón co-edited and co-published El corno emplumado / The Plumed Horn, a bilingual magazine of poetry and the arts in Mexico City with Margaret Randall, a young poet who had recently arrived in Mexico from New York. The magazine was a flashpoint of transnational literary and cultural exchange, publishing young and established poets from across the Americas, translated into both Spanish and English whenever possible. Our conversation that day covered a wide array of subjects, but – as the sprightly 82-year-old warned me beforehand – his memories of the 1960s were “borrosos o entremezclados.”

The day after our meeting, I received an unexpected phone call from Sergio. At his request, I had sent him a couple of my own poems, and he wanted to return his compliments by inviting me for a meal at his home in the hills west of Coyoacán and San Ángel. When I had asked Sergio about the work he performed translating the Canadian poet George Bowering’s 1964 book of poems, The Man in the Yellow Boots / El hombre de las botas amarillas – published as the sixteenth issue of El corno – he had quickly pointed out that Margaret Randall, who edited magazine’s English-language portions, had likely done most of the work in selecting poems and corresponding with Bowering. He insisted further that she had probably helped extensively with the translations. I failed to register the full importance of this comment at the time, considering it more of a polite nudge from Sergio to redirect my inquiries to Randall. But visiting Sergio in his home revealed the deeper truth of his statement.

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Chilean Popular Poetry and Biblical Psalms

Martinez, Chile, Santiago Figueroa

Santiago Figueroa. Folklorist, researcher and expert in popular music.

by Fernanda Martinez Varela, MA scholar at MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish. 

Shortly after arriving in Chile, I went to the public library of Doñihue in order to search for bibliographic material and, fortunately, there I met Santiago Figueroa Torres; a folklorist, researcher and expert in popular music. Talking informally while drinking coffee, I explained to him my thoughts about this investigation and he gave me his vision as an expert on the subject. Consequently, aided by this chance, his insights have served me as a guide for reading the bibliographic material found and redefining my research question.

What similarities exist between the Cantus to the divine cultivated in Chile and the Christian psalms in the Latin American version of the Catholic Bible? This is the question the present research will try to answer. For this purpose, in addition to ponder on some similarities, I will analyze and contrast two songs by the Chilean musician Violeta Parra (Maldigo del alto cielo and Volver a los 17) with the psalms 143 and 148.

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De la palabra escrita a la palabra hablada (II)

Una primera aproximación a la poesía dominicana reciente

(Segunda parte)

Adalber Salas Hernández, PhD Candidate at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, NYU

La poesía dominicana reciente circula por caminos oblicuos. Aparte de los eventos donde la palabra escrita se hace hablada (conciertos, recitales, eventos de spoken word como aquellos a los que me referí en el post anterior), el acceso a la palabra escrita e impresa es más complejo: muchos de los libros de la generación más reciente de poetas dominicanos han sido publicados en el exterior, por lo que circulan de manera excepcionalmente irregular. Pienso, por ejemplo, en el caso de Ariadna Vásquez Germán, varios de cuyos libros han sido publicados en Puerto Rico o en México. O el caso de Alejandro González Luna, cuyo segundo libro fue publicado recientemente en España. Esto permite que la joven poesía dominicana sea difundida en el exterior, lo cual sin duda es positivo, pero el circuito no es circular: ejemplares de esos libros no suelen llegar al país. Por otro lado, la Editora Nacional, que se encarga de la impresión de los libros ganadores de los concursos organizados por instancias gubernamentales (y que han sido ganados, en momentos distintos, por los poetas que acabo de mencionar) ciertamente podría distribuir con mayor regularidad.

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De la palabra escrita a la palabra hablada

Una primera aproximación a la poesía dominicana reciente

Adalber Salas Hernández, PhD Candidate at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, NYU

Proviniendo de un contexto hispanoparlante, el deseo de estudiar la poesía escrita en español en el Caribe no siempre implica una tarea sencilla. Especialmente si uno ha decidido estudiar el trabajo de poetas jóvenes, que han publicado un libro o quizás dos, y cuya difusión suele ser impar –salvo en contados, interesantísimos casos. El asunto se complica un poco más cuando se trata de la poesía dominicana: los espacios de circulación de sus autores no consagrados no siempre son fáciles de hallar. No obstante, en cuestión de días uno se encuentra con un trabajo poético vivo, múltiple, que crece devorando horizontes.

Tratándose de mi investigación, la poesía dominicana reciente es la practicada por autores nacidos a partir de 1970. Un límite arbitrario, sin duda, pero sumamente útil. En este sentido, mi primer contacto en República Dominicana fue Frank Báez. Poeta, cronista, narrador, traductor y editor, junto a Giselle Rodríguez Cid, de la revista Ping Pong, Frank es además miembro del colectivo multidisciplinario El Hombrecito –donde también se encuentra el excelente poeta Homero Pumarol–, el cual fusiona de modo muy interesante poesía y música (en su canal de YouTube pueden escucharse canciones individuales, discos enteros y hasta alguna grabación en vivo). Su quehacer lo coloca en una suerte de encrucijada: es uno de los nervios principales de la nueva poesía del país –no solamente como uno de sus practicantes más reconocidos, sino también como difusor. Gracias a su inestimable ayuda, he podido conocer dos de los principales trabajos antológicos realizados en este campo: el número especial dedicado por la revista Punto de Partida, de la UNAM, a la poesía dominicana actual (No. 171, enero-febrero de 2012) y la muestra Presencias reales, publicada en la propia revista Ping Pong, en el 2011. A través de estos trabajos antológicos, he podido conocer la obra de poetas como Ariadna Vásquez Germán, Alejandro González Luna, Rossalinna Benjamín o Luis Reynaldo Pérez: escrituras ágiles, con brío, muy diferentes entre sí, que sumé de inmediato a las que ya formaban parte de mi investigación.

En la poesía dominicana reciente, la palabra escrita mantiene un vínculo singular con la palabra hablada: siempre una está a punto de convertirse en la otra. La letra vive al borde de la voz. Cabe recordar aquí el trabajo de la poeta y performer dominicana Josefina Báez, el cual, si bien no cae en los límites de mi investigación, es necesario leer –y escuchar, y ver–, pues resulta fascinante. Y cabe también recordar que, aparte de El Hombrecito, la figura de Rita Indiana: mejor conocida por su música (Rita Indiana y Los Misterios) y por su producción narrativa, también encontré en ella una poeta de singular potencia. En esta primera aproximación, un hecho se destaca de buenas a primeras: en la poesía reciente de República Dominicana, la palabra tiene un pasaje permanente de ida y vuelta para viajar de la escritura al habla.

Exploring the Yareta of Northern Chile Through the Archives

Posted by Amanda Lotspike – MA Candidate at CLACS

To write a story of the yareta is to start from its partial absence in the Chilean altiplano. It’s a hard thing to do. The yareta demands attention; it grows “like a tortoise—big and green”[1], a plant with almost animate qualities despite its resolute grounding in the Andean volcanic belt. Thriving at altitudes of twelve to fifteen-thousand feet above sea level, the yareta is more than a single cushion shrub. Hundreds of tightly wound, waxy succulent leaves make up the flat surface area of its circular outcroppings—bulbous growths that take on the appearance of carpet moss from far away. At eye level, a heavy resin (yaretawaqa or “tears” of the yareta) smudges its bright green surface, while dried yellow flowers collect in small pockets where the slopes of the yareta rise and fall.

Lotspike_Chile_yareta

The yareta, photo taken by author.

 

This summer I’ve set out to learn of and from the history of the yareta (its abundant growth, extraction and decline) in the Norte Grande of Chile. From stories of the “king” of the yareta (a Bolivian entrepreneur who led commercial exploitation of the species during the mid-twentieth century Chilean mining boom) to its representation in the writings of award-winning poet Miguel Urrelo Valdivia, I have explored the ways in which the yareta exists beyond its material presence (as a poetic imaginary, an heirloom, a divine resource and finally, a warning call).

In this series of blog posts I will highlight a few of these stories. First stop: the library at the National Service for Geology and Mining and the National Archive of Chile.
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Chronicle of an Omission Foretold: The Place of Concrete Poetry in the History of Digital Literature

Visual Poetry pieces by Augusto de Campos

Video Poetry works by Augusto de Campos exhibited during July in São Paulo

Milton Laufer, PhD Student at the Spanish and Portuguese Department.

As a PhD Student in the Spanish and Portuguese Department, my research focuses on the development in Latin America of what is known as digital literature. By this I mean a particular way of thinking about texts which is not constrained by the bounds of the device called “book”, which lays in between many other disciplines, like the visual arts, video art, and computer games. This involves not only a new paradigm, or at least a broader paradigm, in our way of conceptualizing literature, but also a meaningful political dimension, a democratization, in the sense of how cultural goods circulate—including but not limited to the Internet—and, most importantly, how they are produced: in the same fashion espoused by the avant-garde movements, in digital literature the boundaries between the producer and the consumer are blurred, calling into question not only ontological concepts like creator, art-work, and reader, but also legal ideas that have traveled a long and undisputed path, like intellectual property. Though the first two works of digital literature date back to the 1950s (Strachey, 1952 and Lutz, 1959), it was only during the past decade that a field of scholarship focused on this literary form began to emerge. In this time, digital literature has become a vital object of inquiry, not only because its trajectory is difficult to anticipate, but also—and more importantly—because it sheds light on our understanding of literary production in a broader sense.

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