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International Poetry Review - Fall 2009

  • Issue Number: Volume 35 Number 2
  • Published Date: Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

This special issue dedicated to “Spain’s Modern Experience” is guest edited by Heidi Czerwiec and Claudia Routon, who selected and translated the work. Originals and translations appear side by side and include poems in Spanish, Asturian, and Galician. Poets include several quite well known in Spain and others in the early stages of their careers.

The editors have selected a great group of poems by nine poets, and for those who can read Spanish, the issue is especially appealing – the originals of these poems are particularly satisfying in their sounds and rhythms. They are marked by vivid imagery, strong emotional content, a sense of immediacy and urgency, a tendency to link the personal and the metaphysical, and reverence for language. And, of course, no selection of poetry from Spain would be complete without a few love poems (“Mi vida sin ti, sera un mar sin sal,”- “My life without you, a sea without salt” writes Branca Vilela in “No Quiero Morir, Amor” – “I Don’t Want to Die, Love”).

José Corredor-Matheos contributes a meta-poem (a poem that refers to itself as a poem), an effective and memorable one. Here are the opening lines:

El poem se oculta
en el poema,
igual que la Montana
se oculta en la manana,
y hasta el number de Dios,
en los nombres de Dios.
The poem hides
in the poem,
just like the mountain
hides in the mountain,
and even the name of God,
in the names of God.

Poetry in English in this edition of the journal includes, among other poems, several family narratives, an ode by Joanna Kurowska to “Nothing” (“I am thankful for nothing. / I can carry it in my purse, / in a suitcase, a cart / or in my backpack.”), and Scott Mulrane’s “Marbles in the Luxembourg Gardens,” my favorite this issue (“One’s mother has eaten the Bible, Koran, / Villon, / and Pound’s Cantos”).

Editor Mark Smith-Soto reminds readers that the journal “welcomes formal or informal essays on the art and craft of translation and he offers his own “personal ruminations” in this issue: “On Translation: Faithful In Our Fashion.” It’s a thoughtful piece on his personal experience, over many years, of the process of translating and some of the many challenges translation poses.

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Review Posted on March 31, 2010

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