Fervor de Blog
Six years into this blog, I find myself moving further away from the self and closer to translation, to the pleasures of reading. In my boxes in storage at my family’s house outside Boston, I’ve come across several books that point to those pleasures, including my copy of Cortázar’s Rayuela and several editions of Borges. One of these, Obra poética, 1 (1923-1929), includes his first book Fervor de Buenos Aires. I’d first read his poems for a seminar on Borges ten years ago and I recall being underwhelmed by them. But rereading his poems now I find plenty I like, such as this fragment:
“En busca de la tarde
fui apurando en vano las calles.
Ya estaban los zaguanes entorpecidos de sombra.”
(“La plaza San Martín”)
In his 1932 book of essays Discusión, he makes comments about translation that help me in my own versions of Juan Sánchez Peláez, or in these quicker excursions here on the blog. The blog allows an avenue for immediate dissemination and, more importantly, a sense that I can read alongside others, in the company of fellow readers. I now translate what has already been translated from his essay on Homer, “Las versiones homéricas”:
“Bertrand Russell defines an external object as an irradiating, circular system of possible impressions; the same can be said about a text, given the incalculable repercussions of the verbal. A partial and precious document of the vicissitudes it suffers remain in its translations. What are the many versions of the Iliad from Chapman to Magnien if not diverse perspectives of an event in motion, if not a long experimental raffle of omissions and emphasis? (There is not an essential need to change languages, that deliberate game of attention is not impossible within a single literature.) To presuppose that any recombination of elements has to be inferior to its original, is to presuppose that draft 9 has to be inferior to draft H – since there can only be drafts. The concept of a definitive text only correponds to religion or to exhaustion.”
Traveling in Mérida last month, I was amazed by the scale of the mountains there, the overwhelming beauty of how the clouds would roll into the valleys, hills and villages of the Páramo region above the city of Mérida, the sound of the wind as it moved among the pine trees surrounding the Laguna de Mucubají, or the river as it passed through the town of Apartaderos. In Mérida and in Caracas I was lucky enough to find a few books for this library I inhabit with gratitude. The less I write here about myself the better, as there’s so much to read and the trees and fog are vast enough.
A partial list of Venezuelan books I’d want to comment on or translate from here, if I could find the time: Carlos Ávila, Mujeres recién bañadas (Mondadori, forthcoming), Israel Centeno, Calletania (Editorial Periférica, 2008), Luis Alberto Crespo, En lugar del resplandor. Antología poética (1968-1990) (Monte Ávila Editores, 2007), Enza García Arreaza, Cállate poco a poco (Monte Ávila Editores, 2007), Ángel Gustavo Infante, Cerrícola y otros relatos (Memorias de Altagracia/La Liebre Libre, 2004), Eduardo Mariño, A la salida del fastuoso recital (Monte Ávila Editores, 2009) and La salvación por el hastío (Fundación Editorial el perro y la rana, 2006), Juan Carlos Méndez Guédez, Retrato de Abel con isla volcánica al fondo (Editorial Troya, 1997), Mario Morenza, Pasillos de mi memoria ajena (Monte Ávila Editores, 2007) and La senda de los diálogos perdidos (Editorial Equinoccio, 2008), Ramón Palomares, Antología poética (Monte Ávila Editores, 2005), Gabriel Payares, Cuando bajaron las aguas (Monte Ávila Editores, 2008), Armando Rojas Guardia, Patria y otros poemas (Editorial Equinoccio, 2008), Ludovico Silva, Teoría poética (Editorial Equinoccio, 2008), Víctor Valera Mora, Nueva antología (Monte Ávila Editores, 2004). Fervor de blog, reading oneself in others.