La boda / Patricia Guzmán

Patricia Guzmán was born in Caracas in 1960. She attended the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello and researched Venezuelan literature as a graduate student at the Sorbonne. Her doctoral thesis was a study of the work of three Venezuelan poets, Vicente Gerbasi, Ramon Palomares and Luis Alberto Crespo. For several years now, Guzmán has been the editor of Verbigracia, the literary supplement for the newspaper El Universal. Her books of poetry include: De mi lo oscuro (Caracas: PEN Club, 1987), Canto de oficio (Caracas: Editorial Pequeña Venecia, 1997) and La boda (Caracas: Casa Nacional de las Letras Andres Bello, 2001). Aside from her work as an editor and poet, Guzmán is also a critic who writes about contemporary Venezuelan poetry.

The translated lines below are excerpted from Guzmán’s most recent work, the long poem entitled “La boda” (The Wedding).



I’ll find solace in the rose

(Roses are good

Fill the garden with prayers —I said)

I’ll find solace in the rose

(I lie down so as to not see her die —I said)

The rose will be my accomplice

The rose—even when dead—will be my accomplice

I contemplate her

I praise her

I force her to look in the mirror

She should know she smells of Sainthood

She should know she spills silence

She should learn to lean

She should learn to sanctify herself

My Husband Thinks that the rose died

I placed a gold rose in the Husband’s hands—do you remember?—

I illuminate the Husband with the rose

I prepare the Husband for the Wedding

I teach the Husband to pray for her

I teach the Husband to pray with her

I am the guard and caretaker of the Virgin of the Rose

I am the guard and caretaker of the Praying Virgin


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