Juan Sánchez Peláez

For this month's entry at Antología, I've posted a few of my English versions of poems from Juan Sánchez Peláez's penultimate book, Aire sobre el aire (1989).


"The sun was setting by the time we left."

Odd as this might seem, one of Slint's NY shows is reviewed at The New Yorker.

Baltimore City Paper reviews their concert in Seattle.

Here in Boston, they were brilliant.


In one of his Paris poems, César Vallejo writes:

"En el momento en que el tenista lanza magistralmente
su bala, le posee una inocencia totalmente animal;"

I associate these lines with artists who accomplish a type of thoughtless beauty in their pieces. Works that offer the audience a moment outside of everything, beyond the brain's perpetual motion, sharpened to a sound, a spell.

Reading Aire sobre el aire for the first time at a book stall in a convention center in Providence, and later that night up the hill in the Pembroke quadrangle, was one moment I associate with Vallejo's observation.

Another was a few years earlier, in a friend's living room in Boulder, afternoon light through windows and Spiderland on a turntable while we sat smoking.

As with the tennis match in Vallejo's poem, these aren't necessarily transcendent or visionary moments (I think those ended long ago). Rather, they're sketches of what silence can do for us, how things grow of their own accord if we allow them space. Silence is always the better choice.

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