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February 18, 2013 / johnoliversimon



In October, 2012, I spent a week travelling with a poetry circus, giving readings in Spanish in Rosario, San Nicolás and La Plata, Argetina, all along the shores of the mighty River Paraná. Now Lorena Wolfman and I have edited the voices of 21 poets who read those nights and caravanned those days into a special on-line issue of  Aldebaran Review.

The poets range across a half-century, from Alicia Salinas (1976) ,a tough-minded glamorous Rosarina who for my money is the best young poet in Argentina, to Mario Verandi (1926), the living embodiment of San Nicolás, to the tender veterans of the Malvinas war , Martín Rabninqueo and Gustavo Casi Rosendi (both 1962), our hosts in La Plata.

This marvelous outpouring of poetry is happening out in the provinces of Argentina, which means it doesn’t count in the inevitable hierarchy of reputation closed on itself in the black hole of Buenos Aires. Read it here first.

Lorena Lobita and I translated everything into English. There arte bios and always the voice of the river. Also poems in French and Basque. I don’t think I can bring the whole site over here, but I can offer a little teaser and a link. My compilation is at <>, while Lorena’a far cooler format is at <>.JOSLL_CC_globos.333114602_std

Here Lorena, Pennsyklvania poet Craig Czury and I prepare to launcm helium balloons, each one affixed with one of our poems and our flag, into the skies above San Nicolás from the courtyard where Argentine independence was proclaimed. As well, rapid, seamless Stéphane Chaumet joined us from Paris, sincere Kepa Murua from Basque Country, and Juany Rojas, who danced with Lady Death, from the Atacama desert of northern Chile.

Alicia Salinas

Gallina ciega

Antes de comenzar el juego conoció el fulgor.
Pero le quitaron el brillo, las brasas. Se reveló
entonces la ajenidad de las aureolas: la luz
no es de nadie, la oscuridad
de todos.

No importa quién vendó, de dónde
la recomendación de la tiniebla.
Es hora de (vol) ver.
Esta gallina se rebela a la ceguera, al titubeo.
Otros fuegos se esparcen en la noche.

Doloroso tendal traman los pasos,
y sin embargo a su través se atisba
el final del túnel.

Hoy nadie puede la indiferencia
ante semejante voluntad
de abjurar La Sombra.


Blind Hen (Blind Man’s Bluff)

Before the game began she had known splendor.
But they took away the shine, the spark. Revealing
the otherness of radiance: the light
belongs to no one, the darkness
to us all.

It doesn’t matter who tied the blindfold, where
they got the idea of lightlessness.
It’s time (again) to see.
This hen rebels against blindness and groping.
Other fires are scattered across the night.

Footsteps weave a painful way
and yet through it all the light
is glimpsed at tunnel’s end.

These days no one can be indifferent
before such an act of will
abjuring The Shadow.

(Translation: John Oliver Simon & Lorena Wolfman)

Mario Verandi

Los hijos

De acá a 50 o 60 años
algunos cometas regresarán dócilmente
los ceibos habrán florecido otras tantas
veces en San Nicolás de los Arroyos provincia de Buenos Aires
no estarán mis huellas
de animal perplejo
indeciso frente a las rutinas menudas de la vida civil.

Para ese entonces
mis hijos también
ya serán viejos
sumidos en la contemplación de sus enfermedades iridiscentes
y la pluralidad de los mundos.

Tal vez salgan al silencio del espacio
a mirar hacia acá
hacia esta esfera doliente
donde el padre yace
a salvo del fracaso.



50 or 60 years from now
some comets will return docilely
the ceibos will have flowered a number
of times in San Nicolás de los Arroyos province of Buenos Aires
there will be no trace of me
the perplexed animal
indecisive when faced with the small routines of domestic life.

By that time
my children too
will be old
lost in the contemplation of their iridescent illnesses
and the plurality of worlds.

Perhaps they will go out into the silence of space
to look over this way
towards the pained sphere
where their father lies
safe from failure.

(Translation: Lorena Wolfman)


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