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Borderlands – Spring/Summer 2010

The “borderlands” concept has never been more accurate. Along with a more general selection of more than 20 poets, this issue features a special section of “translingual poets,” defined as writers who “create in a language other than the one they were born into.” Editor Liliana Valenzuela praises the fine work of the translators whose work appears here alongside the originals and notes that many are gifted poets themselves. This issue also includes wonderful artwork by Liliana Wilson, terrific images with surreal elements, but wholly “real” human aspects that render the work both familiar and wondrous in the magical (but not silly or childish) sense of the word.

The “borderlands” concept has never been more accurate. Along with a more general selection of more than 20 poets, this issue features a special section of “translingual poets,” defined as writers who “create in a language other than the one they were born into.” Editor Liliana Valenzuela praises the fine work of the translators whose work appears here alongside the originals and notes that many are gifted poets themselves. This issue also includes wonderful artwork by Liliana Wilson, terrific images with surreal elements, but wholly “real” human aspects that render the work both familiar and wondrous in the magical (but not silly or childish) sense of the word.

I appreciated the range of styles and voices in the poetry presented here. Highlights for me include “completely” by Charles Thomas, spare, elegant, direct, heart wrenching:

cover me
cover me

ribbons of read
assault me

bones
break me

sacrifices to lesser gods

And a poem built on the anaphoric use of “The End of Literature” by Irene O’Garden (“The End of Literature…is to attend a dazzly dinner / written in fiction, / cooked in truth, / and to feed on the people more / than the meal.”)

In the translingual section, I appreciated, above all, the dense lyricism of Peruvian poet Eduardo Chirinos in his poem “Poema de amor con rostro oscuro” / ”Love Poem with a Dark Face,” expertly translated by G.J. Racz; and Susanne Ayoub’s “Muchter & Trotte”/”Mother & Daughter,” with the wildly fabulous translation of Geoffrey C. Howes who successful captures Ayoub’s linguistic inventiveness (“nosear and yemouth / besistered daugtered / comorse”).

Ayoub’s poem ends “jaewig” (“ohforevery”). If it were not for Borderlands, I would never know about Ayoub’s work. Ohwhatpoetry – and wonderful literary journals like this one – can do!
[www.borderlands.org]

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