From prepoems in postspanish and other poems

 

 

prepoems in postspanish and other poems marks the first full-length collection to appear in English by the groundbreaking Ecuadorian poet Jorgenrique Adoum (1926-2009), hailed by Nobel-prize winner Pablo Neruda as the best Latin American poet of his generation.  Adoum’s poetry is at once radically experimental, fiercely lyrical, and passionately committed to social change. This timely volume showcases Adoum at his most formally innovative, gathering together three books published between 1973 and 1993: Curriculum Mortis, prepoems in postspanish, and Love Disinterred. Translators Katherine M. Hedeen and Víctor Rodríguez Núñez’s inventive and expert renderings bring Adoum’s experimentation to the fore.
 

Available March 1, 2021 from Action Books.

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A History of Antiquity

savage after all but urban
each year i repeat the ancient history it hasn’t changed much
full of madmen and lepers like a temple or a bus in india
the history of humanity i don’t know so well what it’s good for
after matthausen or hiroshima (i don’t know so well either)
the persian wars minuscule in the microscope
facing the stupendous pentagon pyrotechnics
(and the best is yet to come)
the history of ideas to begin after coronels
i am airing out the same eternity rag since september
romulus and remo suckling from the shewolf

in the graphite age we poked fun at hephaestus
i don’t remember if for the name or the limp
or more like because the world was going to be ours
the past was so long and dusty in its muffled monuments
licked by the historian bigmouth
behindhand greedier clumsier than flies
like a child deciphering the gebel alphabet
we were going to change history at least the present
after all it was easier and now it’s dirtier

someone will have to do it someones perhaps my students
“the last day of june is the last day of history
the rest is your problem and ours too”

with my annual monotonous hope (i go from hopefully to hopefully toward the subsequentlies)
in those faces i see my mask insolent from the age
i had before so cheekily ending with death
repeating the same gestures for the same salary
earning a living in all this losing it in the paperwork
unlearning what the hell happens to man
still no point in giving further thought to our pride
any one of us is better than ashurbanipal
something like a semen ripeness

this evening it’s my turn for the splendor of greece again
what about its cadaver i’m dragging around juan the madman ripped up by dogs?
and i hate the cuban embargo more than the siege of saguntum

but every monday is the same
you go back to work like to your country
vietnam indonesia biafra where it dumps buckets of dying
today’s paper just like last week’s
cro-magnon contemporary and compatriot 
and still this nostalgia for the present

since between the last rain of youth and this one
i was actually what i didn’t do marat all itchy
great projects in the bathtub
ideals returned to in the morning
like a murder victim to the scene of the crime
with his deoblivion
to look for his shoes

in other words i haven’t yet died 
i can still be reborn with the events of the day
soon to be before
the dedirtied future history
“then spartacus with his combatant prophets
early heir to the tradition of che and his tatterdemalions
entered new york
his fall was the end of the hun empire”

 

Egotist’s Weekend

on the next day after the next day
of the dayaftertomorrow’s beyondthedayaftertomorrow 
(after having muchly looked for my personal effects
which as their name implies were taken
from my personal residence which obviously
got robbed by the agents of order
because they threaten the order [the agents not the poor effects]
though it’s true that they were disordered [the effects not the agents]
yellowed pictures only i know
addresses where nobody’s lived for so loooooong
since they died from exile lowblow soldier or marriage
letters they’ll never understand because this love
is worse than the other love written in code underneath
books read, disread, reread, illread
dangerous tapes because they are apparently magnetic
and were actually just melanchonostalgic greek music
where the junta of coronelopulis could never go
they left like always you know like dogs with their tails like you know
some shirts too and a little cash i’d saved too
because you don’t actually ever know all of it in a barracks subdemocracy
after breaking my back over deskpapers
and my neck untwisted so in the morning i can leave early from where i unsleep
to where i work countersilent and vice versa presleeping)
it’s going to be english saturday again and since i’m not achronal
but postparadisiacal adamic from monday on
i’ll start re-being who i was seven days ago and believed
that i unremember what happened what’s to come in your hip
because the daily schedules will now be quaternaries
and since i-we still have two bottles of wine coffee some apples left
i’ll keep relearning you as if i’d left you forgotten
me who knows you by heart from the inside out
and my eyelashes will once more lick your body

 

In the Beginning Was the Word

i number you bored i telephone you 
address you (i street house and stair)
and now you bedroomed i lamp you floor you
glass you matchstick you book you
longplay you display you i disdress you diseared
i bed you pillow you light up uncover
i hair you hip you you waist me
decant each other lip to lip
i’m bottled in your within
we are redone i disform you i conform
miltuplied you me mildivided

 

Translated by Katherine M. Hedeen and Víctor Rodríguez Núñez 

En otros idiomas

LALT No. 17
Número 17

En nuestro decimoséptimo número, destacamos la obra de la innovadora escritora colombiana Albalucía Ángel, junto con Octavio Paz, una figura sobresaliente de las letras mexicanas y el segundo autor latinoamericano en recibir el Premio Neustadt. También presentamos al poeta peruano Eduardo Chirinos, una serie de retratos fotográficos de escritores en la pandemia, una selección de traducciones en busca de editorial, más poesía y prosa en las lenguas murui, quechua y tseltal en nuestra sección permanente de Literatura Indígena.

Tabla de Contenidos

Nota del Editor

Autora destacada: Albalucía Ángel

Dossier: Octavio Paz

Despachos desde la República de las Letras

Ficción

Poesía

Ensayos

Chronicle

Entrevistas

Postales del confinamiento

Literatura Indígena

Adelantos de traducción y novedades editoriales

Sobre la traducción: En busca de editorial

Dossier: Eduardo Chirinos

Nota Bene