Sunday, December 6, 2009

Shit you can read.

I spend a fair amount of time here talking about things in Spanish that haven't been translated, and that's fine and everything, but there's a bunch of shit that has translated (or even, imagine it, written in English that are totally worth the trouble.

I am, however, feeling really fucking lazy right now, so just imagine you see images, pictures of book covers and things, weird author photos, and everything's linked and I don't expect you to just open another tab and cut/paste whatever name your curious about into a search engine.

Also, it's after 4 a.m. and I just got off work two hours ago, my mental state is about what you'd expect, so this is a totally random list.

1. Joe Ceravalo I bought a selected poems of his the other day and it kicked my ass. Joe was from Astoria (Queens get the money) and seems to get kind of written off as a "second generation New York School poet" which is your fucking loss if you care about shit like that. Most of his work was originally published on Ted Berrigan's C Press, and he took workshops with Koch and O'Hara. Much more abstract than any of those poets. Very light touch.

2. Steve Carey Another New York poet, his Selected Poems came out recently and came highly recommended. Totally awesome weird wry poems that kick up a considerable atmosphere.

3. Luis Cernuda One of my favorite poets ever. Steve Dolph brought me back a Complete Poetry of his from Spain and I'll probably have that book until I die. Cernuda was Spanish, part of "Generation of 27" with Lorca and Vicente Alexandre (who I think won a Nobel) and a bunch of other really good poets. But Luis has it over all of them, as far as I'm concerned, Lorca included. He left Spain after the Civil War there, lived is Massachusetts for a while, hated it, then went to Mexico on vacation once and then immediately moved there. That's when the poems get really good, for whatever reason. There's a lot of terribly corny poetry written about sex and related topics in the Spanish language. Cernuda's one of the only poets I can think of who writes about it well, especially totally hopeless lust. White Pine Press recently put out a collection of Cernuda's poems translated by Stephen Kessler. We had some of these in Calque, and Stephen is a good friend of mine, so I can't really claim to have no horse in this race, but I think the translations are exceptionally good.

4. Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar, translated by Gregory Rabassa I have compared this translation to the original at great length, and read both versions more times than I can count, and I am convinced this is the greatest translation ever published.

5. This goddamn Geto Boys song, which is basically just Scarface going off about how to behave when you're under indictment.

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