Monday, November 12, 2007

long time away

Okay, so a lot has gone on since the last time I made an entry. I guess I need to get better at simply blogging on a daily basis but that isn't my habit. I guess if I have the choice of writing a poem or writing on a blog I'd rather work on a poem.

But I am just back from the ALTA conference in Dallas and it was really more than I expected. Good conversations with Stephen Kessler about translating in general, about Lorca in particular. He's a good poet (been reading his book After Modigliani, some nice stuff, check it out on Creative Arts Press) but he's also done some important translations, a selected Cortazar with City Lights and Cernuda's prose poems.

Also saw C.M. Mayo (her blog is Madame Mayo and should be looked at) who, like Stephen came to the panel I was on on translation and collaboration and is a wonderful translator. Other folks I got to spend good time with were Alexis Levitin, Aliki Barnstone, Douglas Unger, Esther Allen. Alexis and I were walking along, ran into Gregory Rabassa and Willis Barnstone and Alexis had to race off and I had a good 25 minute conversation with these two about Garcia Lorca that made the whole conference in itself worth it.

But that seemed to be the strength of the conference: conversation. I went to a number of panels, bi-lingual readings, but it was really something to just sit and talk with people whose appreciation for literature matched my own. I've felt humbled often by the privilege of translating Poet in New York, given how little translating I've done compared with some of these other folks (maybe that made me naive enough to not realize what I was getting into--why others have not done it). But I had no sense from anyone other than support, that they were as excited about this as I was.

So the work will go on. People have been writing and commenting on the translations in APR. Thank you. Some comments at ALTA about the ones in Subtropics.

And I've even been getting more of my own poetry written, which is hard given all the Lorca work. Tonight I went to a reading at ICP which was tied into the current exhbit on photos of the Spanish Civil War. Phillip Levine read from Orwell, as did one of the other readers but for me the highlight was Monica de la Torre reading from Cernuda and Guillen (too often forgotten from the Generation of 27) and Margo Jefferson (Lang colleague) read two Neruda poems inspired (?) by the murder of Lorca (whose assasination Willis Barnstone had an interesting take on, which Margo and I talked about and has appeared in the writing of Jaime Manrique--that Lorca was murdered because he was gay, for no other reason, and that he was shot from behind and up his backside).

In the days to come I plan on posting links to sites I like--not sure how to do this so anyone out there who knows, give a helpful holler.


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