Three Poems

 

 

Caracas 1958

Caro figlio, my dear son.
Tutti bene. But this country has gone to the dogs.
Tuo padre went off with a dark slut,
but he’ll be back.
Money is not a problem here
ma the water tastes like petrolio.
Don’t you worry, figlio mio.
Over there, in nostro paese,
you have to grow up,
and study.

Because here there is no future,
and the girls,
well, I won’t say what they’re like
por rispetto
for this one ragazza who is kind enough 
to write this letter for me.
My back’s not so bad now, meno dolore,
because now I work alla macchina only til midday. 
I’ll send you money with Don Peppino
next month.

Tanti baci
e la Santa Benedizione.

Tua Mamma
Fortunata Strapazzoli

Translated by Colaboratorio Ávila, with the participation of Fiona Mackintosh

 

Terms of Comparison 

While my father
bottles tomato sauce
for the whole year and gets ready to salt
Sicilian
sardines from La Guaira
               two for Sara
               two for Enzo
               one for the Arab lady across the way
               another for whoever will come
               always begging
I write a book
on women
who don’t salt sardines
but write other books
about books
that will be refuted and vindicated
in the asignificant smoke
of the academy.

Respectfully, every now and then
not to seem indifferent
I nibble his pungent anchovies
red olives
with the obscene intention
of nourishing theories.

And book by book between sardines
and tomatoes
a cloud passes over the primal scene:
attentive master and mistress
his fervor disappears
perhaps resisting a little
in the bent over attitude
of cum grano salis
and now it’s not certain if they measure
with delicate fingers
the balance of every flavor and ingredient.
Scarce remains
               like my books
the ephemeral and tenacious
powder
of that lost
               winged
                              experience.

                            Translated by Peter Kahn

 

Serpent in Disguise

There is something that slithers
along fine stretch marks,
the legendary memory
of other pulsating species.
What language do you speak?
From what lineage?    

Translated by Peter Kahn

 

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Languages

Fogwill in LALT
Number 15

In our August 2020 issue, we celebrate the work of women writers and translators in honor of Women in Translation Month, highlighting the work of Victoria de Stefano, Krina Ber, Rowena Hill, and Margara Russotto—four women united by the coincidence of emigrating to Venezuela and becoming renowned writers in Spanish. We also pay homage to a giant of Latin American letters, Rodolfo Enrique Fogwill, on the tenth anniversary of his passing, and we highlight the work of Mé’pháá writer Hubert Matiúwàa in our Indigenous Literature section. This #WITMonth issue is rounded out with exclusive previews of upcoming books from women translators and an interview with translator Annie McDermott, plus poetry, fiction, interviews, and reviews of fascinating new releases from across Latin America.

Cover Photo: Grupo Mondongo

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Fogwill

Four Venezuelan Women Writers

Fiction

Poetry

Essays

Chronicle

Interviews

Indigenous Literature

Translation Previews and New Releases

On Translation

Nota Bene