Last night I had the pleasure of attending the launch of The Other Tiger: Recent Poetry from Latin America, selected and translated by Richard Gwyn. Also attending were notable contributors Jorge Fondebrider and Marina Serrano (Argentina) and Mexican poets Carlos López Beltrán and Alicia García Bergua.
I read the English translations of the women poets present and others from the book and was particularly moved by their words and by hearing the poems read in their first language; it was like a dance, an incantation, poetry with important messages about those who are/have been forcibly absented/disappeared/hacked to death/raped. ‘We live in a terrible sadness,’ said Alicia in regards to narco-crime in Mexico. These poems were brave and important. It put a great deal into context for me. Sobering. I sit in my study ‘faffing’ over words, talent, wondering am I good enough, etc, wasting time and talent when there are writers like this using their words to draw attention to issues of such significance, they risk their lives in so doing.
I look forward to experiencing this book and its introduction by Richard Gwyn. Both Carlos and Jorge spoke of the sensitivity and insight in Richard’s approach to translating the work from these diverse cultures. The book’s organisation is like a novel, has progression, is cyclical too, addresses the dream and non-dream reality.
Although I heard many poems about absence, there was a strong presencing too, a resurrection of those who have been Othered in so many ways.