culture in translation

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issue 06 - new


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alba londres issue 06

This is a special issue that gathers a collection of contemporary Mexican poets. With an introduction by Yaxkin Melchy and poetry and translations by Juana Adcock, Paula Abramo, Sergio Ernesto Ríos, Sergio Loo, Gerónimo Sarmiento Cruz, Dolores Dorantes and Yaxkin Melchy. Gloria Gervitz is translated by William Rowe; poems by Ámbar Past; Daniel Eltringham translates traditional Mexican songs and Juan José Bobadilla writes and article on Comtemporary Mexican Poetry. Cover by Mexican artist Tila Rodríguez-Past.

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about

about alba londres

There four albas: Paris, Beijing, Berlin and London.

The project is similar in its different locations, however, we organise the magazine in an autonomous way.

In alba Londres we publish articles on Spanish/Latin-American culture in England − or in English − and original poetry in translation. We work with different languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Galician, Euskera, Occitan and English.

Given the interest in Hispanic culture and the constant cultural exchanges taking place in London in its booming literary-artistic-intellectual arena, we believe that alba Londres will fill a void and invite the production of new material of this sort.

what's on

LONDON 03/02/15
LAUNCH OF ALBA LONDRES 06

We launched a special issue on Mexican Contemporary Poetry in translation!
The following poets and translators red at the event presented by Noèlia Diaz Vicedo:
William Rowe
Jèssica Pujol (reading Yaxkin Melchy)
Juana Adcock (reading her work and Paula Abramo's)
Annie McDermott (reading Segio Loo)
Sarah Kelly (reading Sergio Ernesto Ríos)
Frances Kruk (reading Dolores Dorantes)
The event was hosted by the Mexican Embassy in London followed by a wine reception.

LONDON 19/01/15
A TALK ON "CREATIVE TRANSLATION POETICS"

BARCELONA 20/03/14
LAUNCH OF FIFTY LOVE POEMS AND THE BODY'S REASON

SURREY 24/05/14
SURREY POETRY FESTIVAL - PERFORMING / TRANSLATION

articles

  • 03/02
    YAXKIN MELCHY:
    ELLOS SURFEAN TSUNAMIS

  • YAXKIN MELCHY:
    THEY RIDE TSUNAMIS

Ellos surfean tsunamis.
Yaxkin Melchy

(Artículo publicado en alba Londres 06)

Es como si de tajo a la poesía mexicana alguien le hubiera quebrado la cabeza, como si eso ya hubiese sucedido hace dos sexenios, ¿pero quién? quizá fue el habla la que rompió la puerta del palacio nacional literario, a como se ve ahora, los poetas sacaron los huesos del museo, lo vemos, los libros también son cadáveres. En este particular des-contorno ha des-aparecido la poesía ¿mexicana? o ¿más cierto es decir que entró a su estado poroso? A partir de estas nuevas escrituras no se puede hablar de una poesía abanderada en su literatura ni atrincherada en su contracultura, sino de un habla que se parte y reparte entre decenas, cientos, y quizá miles de naciones en proceso. Para los defensores del orden literario esto representa un obvio problema. La nación moderna toleraba a los poetas por miedo y maña institucional, cultural. El habla de un poema sin ancla es un probable atentado para las ciudades del discurso, los funcionamientos de la identidad, los halcones de la educación, y he aquí una mayor diferencia actual respecto a la anterior historia de la poesía en México. Desollada ya la certidumbre cultural, el rasgo nacional, su representación y referente, hay un quehacer atravesando otros territorios, hallados o inventados, antiguos o en ciernes. Tiene el aura de una psiconáutica que arroja modos políticos, comunicativos, un estado nebular o atravesante, mucho más holográfico que tradicional.

En México actualmente se escriben cientos de poemas como los de esta muestra, y lo hace una colectividad extraña, con vidas poco en común pero que sin embargo transcurren por esta fiesta en una larga noche. Convocados a nomadizarse o abonados a la orogenia propia se ha llegado a este batik del habla.

Por fin sopla un vendaval que retira el traje monástico y forzado por los españolistas y sus reflejos en la institución y la residencia. En un país de 120 millones de habitantes lo under llega a florecer a sus anchas cuando renace el operador subverso entre contenidos que se editan principalmente por los propios autores, libros fetiches, cibernéticos enlaces, comunidades pirata, revistas, encuentros… Esto es así porque no se han formado conforme al "plan de la cultura", sino que en su propio júbilo han nacido frente a una crisis eternizada, frente a un estilo inusitado de explotación y publicidad tercer mundista, y he ahí la idea brillante de hacer poesía para trabajar primero con un flujo, con un enlace de mundos dispersos. En esto hemos aprendido no sólo de poetas mayores, sino también de artistas que se adelantaron a sembrar la radicalidad, la desmesura, la ternura, antes que las políticas del oficialismo, la transa, las migajas…

Escuchamos el quehacer de lo político en la porosidad extrema allí donde el sentir no requiere de un significado preciosista sino de la ingesta de un habla intensa, el poema como una suerte de válvula que "descompuesta" mancha, versos cuya acidez van cavando otra circulación del espacio de frente a lo doméstico y sus domesticados talleres. Pienso que esta muestra tiene en común el vórtice "post mexicano" que empieza a funcionar por trasvase de lenguas, pero también de los quehaceres de los poetas. Por fin podemos abocarnos más bien a oficios, libros y prácticas inconseguibles.

Dentro de estas particularidades resuena la risa del coctel barroco en el que se descoloca lo puntual y se hace del sentir sentido, el niño juega a beberlo todo y ocupa el lugar de aquel "señor importante" que se empodera entre los sesos. Mucha resortera, cizalla y motocicletas. Guerrera conexión en la acción de hinchar el recorrido de la imagen y no dejarse a un automatismo ni a una inmediatez, sino a un pensar en hablas excreticias, pulpas, sucus. Un sentido de guerrear para salir, para evidenciar lo que ha muerto… En el rizo lingüístico que los atropella y los vuelve a dejar evidenciamos el saboreo, el desmadre de país dividiéndose en la lengua, poemas como torres de arena lavándose y reconstruyéndose enfrente del oído vidente. El poema da de que hablar, y hablar nos parte y por eso da posibilidades de transitar allende las fronteras y nos pone en la duda de la forma, se parte la poesía y da mensajes, ahí están estos poemas, en la multiplicación del contorno, dejando vidas intrigantes como la huella de otros seres, de otros entes, sus poemas como el registro quedo de ese estruendo cuando se atraviesa a otros sentidos.

Fulmen a la idea de generación, ese légamo de institución y de mercado, en las noches más oscuras del legado los poemas escritos en este territorio son de una valentía que salió de su propia piel y atraviesa por otras atmósferas y edades, entre ellas el gozo en lo político del habla, en el particularísimo espécimen explorador y aventurero que se confronta a una literatura nacional arribista e irrecuperable, una literatura que había perdido su terreno jubiloso, presa del miedo, por ello hoy la poesía de este fulminante momento extirpa esas sanguijuelas publicitarias del significado "mexicano" "joven" "poeta", hacia lo vidente, el giro, el vórtice para seguir escribiendo, partiéndose, y cada vez refractándose más de sí como supurante natura que crece en el desborde del sentido.

Habría que ahondar más en su pluridireccionalidad, porque el que ahonda ve que lo brillante equidista en cumbres de lo puro, quizá seguir estas naturalezas obliga a pensar en un nacareo libre mientras a México se lo lleva un tsunami político, económico, emocional. México ya es lo perdido, México yace años hundido bajo una gran ola.
Chau al mexican moment, se necesitaba salir de la continuidad de los productos y bailar y surfear para aprender que las alturas no generan cuerpos de habla sino al revés. Entre la selva intraducible está la artesanía más niña, la de un vuelo surfista que da la vuelta al mundo y que sonríe a las sombras conseguidas como una nueva naturaleza.

They ride tsunamis.
Yaxkin Melchy
Trans. by Jèssica Pujol i Duran

(Published in alba Londres 06)

It is as if with a single stroke someone had cut Mexican poetry's head off, perhaps two presidential terms ago or so, but who? Maybe it was a certain speech which broke down the door of the national literary palace, or the poets bust in and robbed the bones out of the museum, for books are corpses too. Thus has ¿Mexican? poetry dis-appeared, or perhaps it's truer to say that it has entered a newly porous state? When we address the new Mexican writings we can't really speak of a flag-waving poetics or a poetics bound by its counterculture, but a speech that breaks out of and is shared by tens, hundreds, and perhaps thousands of nations in progress. For those who defend literary order this represents an obvious problem. The modern nation used to tolerate poets because of a fear of the cultural tactics the bards might employ. An anchorless, nationless poem is by its nature an attack on the bastions of conventional speech, the oppressions of identity-politics, the predatory hawks of the education system, and, again by its nature, takes as its purview a greatly expanded conception of the possibilities of the poetic in comparison with what had gone before in Mexico. Once Mexican cultural certainty, the possibility of a definable national trait, its representation and referent have been torn asunder, the task expands into other cultural possibilities, rediscovered or newly invented, old or freshly budding. The new poetics must have the aura of a psychonautical exploration, one that produces newly political communicative modes, exists within a nebular and liminal flux that is finally much more holographic than orthodox.

Hundreds of poems like those collected here are currently being written in Mexico, written by members of a strange community, with lives that may have little in common but who, nevertheless, share much in the conception of the new Mexican poetics. Driven to nomadism thus we have reached this new warp and weave of speech.

Finally, a new wind is blowing, removing the monastic robes of the 'españolistas' and their presence in the institution of Mexican poetics. In a country of 120 million inhabitants the subtext blooms at ease as the subversive operator is reborn, scattering their products between urls, pirate communities, magazines, meetings… It is like this because they have not been formed according to the plan of the dominant culture's, but because they have been born in joy against the background of perpetual crisis, facing a particular exploitation and a third world publicity—born beholding the bright idea of making a poetry to work first and foremost with the instinctive, rebarbative flow, amidst the linkages of scattered conceptual worlds. By these we have learned not only of our major poets, but also of artists who push ahead, sowing radicalism, excess and tenderness, rather than the policies of the elite; the crooked and the crumbs from their tables…

We hear the work of the political in this poetry's extreme porosity, in which feeling does not necessitate the precious, but, rather, the bruising intake of intense conversation; the new Mexican poem is made up of verses whose acidity creatively scar our understanding of the poetic workshop and the isolated workspaces of the toiling poet. The poets in this anthology share what we might term a 'post-Mexican' vortex, one that foregrounds a transfer and exchange of languages and traditions, as well as the specific tasks required of the poets in this unique moment.

A certain distinctively Mexican cocktail of Baroque influences can be detected throughout all of these particularities, one that dislodges the conventionally punctual and instead concentrates on the conversion of the excited emotions of the marginal into dazzling new sense; like children the new Mexican poets engage in the project in order that they might thus displace that 'very important person' who dominates the channels of empowerment in conventional cultural circles. We are the inheritors of too many catapults, clipper-ships and motorcycles. The new poets resist the old connections through the action of redirecting the traditional path of the image and insist that the modern artist must not abandon themselves to automatism or the equally delinquent immediacy. Instead they insist upon a new kind of thinking about excretion, pulp, manifest and material utterances. There's a new sense of fighting to get out of the body and the body politic, in order to prove to the dominant culture that within it which is dead… In the linguistic cycle that runs around these writers—touching and passing about them again and again—we relish our great refurbishment, witness the catastrophe of a Mexico divided by language, with poems like towers of sand melting and rebuilding before the viewer / listener—towers that challenge the solidity of the capitalist, colonialist and neo-colonialist projects. The poem is conversation, dialogue, and conversation and dialogue divide and connect us, and it thus offers the possibility of both the drawing of borders and a crossing of frontiers, thus forcing us to doubt received forms (be they societal, cultural or poetic). As poetry divides it gives us messages, addresses; there are poems and nodes of liberatory power, in the multiplication of the lines of the contour they leave intriguing accounts of lives that curve like the lines about the footprints of unknown others.

The great negative battery behind the new creative conceptions of a new generation is the institutional and market slime, and in the darkest nights the poems written in today's Mexico are made with a courage that seeps out of our poets' skin and penetrates into other atmospheres and ages, foregrounding joy in the political of speech, in the very particular explorer and adventurous specimen who confronts both the perfidious nationalist careerist and his unrecoverable literature, a literature that has lost its joyous connection to the land and, seized by fear. Thus today's new Mexican poetry peels away the advertising leeches away from the meanings of 'Mexican', 'young' and 'poet'. Thus today's new Mexican poetry takes back, instead, to the seer, to the rotation and the vortex that urges us on to continue writing, splitting, and increasingly refracting ourselves like the fecund and festering nature that bursts forth from the overflow of meaning.

We should dig deeper into our movement's multidirectionality, because those who do so see that what shines is very different from something that might be termed pure. Following these such impulses obliges us to think of a chameleon-like writer while Mexico is devastated by a continuing political, economic and emotional tsunami. Mexico is already lost; Mexico has being lying submerged beneath a great wave for many years. Her new poets must bid ciao to the Mexican moment, escaping the continuity of consumerism is of the utmost necessity, along with dancing and the surfing of Mexico's catastrophic tsunami that we might learn that the transcendent heights do not generate bodies of speech but the opposite; the dialogical division of silence. Within the untranslatable jungle we find child-like crafts; the surfer's flight that turns the world upside down and smiles upon the world's old darknesses like a new nature.

poetry

Richard Price
Three versions of Vallejo
alba Londres 01


Alfonso Grez
Ya se ha hecho
alba Londres 01


Harry Gilonis/Elizabeth James
The Kiss by Joan Brossa
alba Londres 02


Silvia Terrón
Prólogo
alba Londres 03


R.T.A. Parker
xxviii.
alba Londres 03


Prólogo
From La imposibilidad gravitatoria
Translated into English by Lorna Scott Fox

Alguien espera durante años

a que se abra una puerta.

Mientras, explora la imposibilidad gravitatoria,

la geometría de las conversaciones,

disfraza la voz y el voto

de provisionalidades.

Hay un verano de desengaño

en el que comprende:

necesita muletas

para apoyarse en la realidad.

Existen los minotauros portátiles,

las mallas simultáneas de poemas y escaleras
vistas desde lo alto, los astilleros de la perspectiva,
los ídolos de las líneas suburbanas y la invención
de un nuevo turismo narrativo.

La ruptura es el instante perfecto

en que las luces se apagan

y los aviones vuelan bajo

ante la puerta cerrada.

"I've happened"

I've happened on a poor girl
who I conducted to the scene.
The mother, her sisters, so kind, and also
that unfortunate "you're not coming back" of hers.
As, on certain business, I was doing so admirably,
they surrounded me with an air of flourishing dynastics.
The bride became water
crying to me so beautifully
her love so misapprehending
. I liked her shy dance
of modest adornments when they were all a-swirl,
how her handkerchief sketched the points,
the accents, of the marsh-dance music-alphabet.
And when we both body-swerved the priest,
my negotiations were broken and hers and the swept-up sphere.

(Trilce, XXXVII)

voy a pintar un cuadro con una mujer entera de pincel, ya se ha hecho... voy a pintar cuadros de un sólo color siempre azul, le voy a dar nombre propio, siempre blanco, siempre negro, le voy a dar un nombre otro... ya se ha hecho. voy a pintar una fecha y repetirla hasta el cansancio -y yo nunca me canso- voy a donar mi cuerpo cadáver al museo, ya se ha hecho... voy a hacer una telaraña de pelo humano y relojes invisibles, voy a rellenar un edificio de cemento, luego demolerlo, voy a cortar una casa por la mitad o aserrucharle un pedazo de muro, ya se ha hecho... voy a hacerme cirugías plásticas y públicas con médicos vestidos de etiqueta ya se ha hecho... voy a esculpir con explosivos, pintar a balazos, dibujar con orina y óxido, ya se ha hecho... voy a hacer una cabeza de sangre, un cuadro de moscas, voy a partir una vaca en 10 pedazos... ya se ha hecho. voy a encerrame con un coyote y que me miren, voy a seguir a alguien por la calle, voy a disfrazarme de muchas personas, voy a construir un sol artificial, pero juro, también se ha hecho.

Prologue

Someone waits for years

for a door to open.

Meanwhile she explores the impossibility of gravity,
the geometry of conversations,

disguising voice and will

beneath provisionalities.

One summer of disillusion,

she understands:

she needs crutches to lean on reality.

There are portable minotaurs,

the simultaneous mesh of poems and stairways

seen from high up, the shipyards of perspective,
the idols of suburban branch lines and the invention
of a new narrative tourism.

The fracture is the perfect moment

when lights are extinguished
and planes fly low

in front of the shut door.

xxviii.

Risa | boba | en la e
Sencia | del re | cuerdo:
¡Pará | sito | de un pa

Sado | tan va | cío!
¡Arro | jarlo en | anda
Mios de | pasa | dos! Re

Cuerdo | justa | mente
Ese | día: | un par
Que, una es | quina: | gozar

collaborators

collaborators

  • Constanza Ceresa
  • Noèlia Díaz Vicedo
  • Jèssica Pujol
  • Valentino Gianuzzi
  • Guillermo Laín
  • Mazal Oaknin
  • Richard Parker
  • Sarah Kelly
  • Ana García Segura
  • Cristina Florit
  • Andrew Khosravani
  • Francisco Segura
  • Jaime Temple

discipline

  • poets

    Richard Parker

    Sarah Kelly

  • translators

    Constanza Ceresa

    Noèlia Díaz Vicedo

    Jèssica Pujol

    Valentino Gianuzzi

    Guillermo Laín

    Mazal Oaknin

  • illustrators

    Cristina Florit

    Andrew Khosravani

    Francisco Segura

    Jaime Temple

Artists

Constanza Ceresa

Chile

Constanza Ceresa (MA, PhD) is Teaching Fellow in Spanish and Latin American Studies.
Her research interests are the relation between poetics and politics in Contemporary Latin American poetry and cinema, particularly in Chile and Argentina, critical theory and gender studies. Among her publications, her article 'De lo real en el cine y la poesía argentina de los 90s' is included in Resistance and Emancipation: Cultural and Poetic Practices (Peter Lang, 2011) and 'Las cartografías poéticas de Néstor Perlongher y Enrique Lihn' will appear in the forthcoming edited volumen Poesía y diversidades. Lecturas críticas en el Bicentenario (Lom, 2012).

Before joining UCL, Constanza was Teaching Fellowship in Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Bath.

Noèlia Díaz Vicedo

Spain

Noèlia Diaz Vicedo is a writer, translator and researcher. She was born in Agost (Alacant), Spain. She has completed her thesis at Queen Mary University of London on the poetry of Maria-Mercè Marçal. She combines teaching in this university with a research on Spanish and Catalan contemporary women's poetry. She has published Maria-Mercè Marçal: An Exploration of Feminine Poetics in the Works of a Late 20th Century Catalan Poet (Cuadernos de Trabajos de Investigación, Universidad de Alicante, 2004) and various articles about writing and woman. She collaborates with the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women's Writing at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of London.

Jèssica Pujol

Spain

Jèssica Pujol i Duran was born in Barcelona in 1982 and is currently living in London (UK), though her home is Mataró in free and tropical Maresme. In London she is working on a Ph.D. on the experimentalisms of Julio Cortázar and Italo Calvino in the 1960s and 1970s at UCL.
She is also a poet and has written and translated extensively in Catalan, English and Spanish. Her first book in English, Now Worry, was published by Department Press in 2012; and Oystercatcher published her chapbook, Every Bit of Light, also in 2012.

Valentino Gianuzzi

Perú

Valentino Gianuzzi lives in Lima, where he was born in 1976. He graduated in Hispanic Literature from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and has worked as a journalist, translator and assistant editor.
He has edited the complete fiction of Peruvian writer José Diez-Canseco, and is currently translating selected works of F. Scott Fitzgerald. For Shearsman Books he has co-translated the complete poetry of César Vallejo. He is co-editor of the project El Archivo Vallejo.

Guillermo Laín

Spain

Dr. Guillermo Laín Corona (MA and Ph.D, University of Malaga, and MA and Ph.D, University College London) teaches Spanish language and literature. His field of expertise is Contemporary Spanish Literature, with a particular interest in 20th Century Spanish Novel.
For his Ph.D work he studied the influence of the Modernist novelist Gabriel Miró (Alicante 1879 - Madrid 1930) in several writers, including other Modernists, like Benjamín Jarnés, and authors of the post-civil war period, such as Camilo José Cela or Francisco Umbral.

Mazal Oaknin

Spain

Mazal Oaknin was born in Almeria, Spain , but she soon grew tired of greenhouses and set off to discover new places while gaining university degrees. After an unforgettable voyage around Malaga, Birmingham, upstate New York and Paris, Mazal established herself in London in 2007.
Among st her luggage she had a BA in Translation, a n MA in Teaching Spanish as a Forei gn Language and a good deal of experience (and patience) as a Spanish teacher.
Since then, Mazal has gained a n MA in Hispanic Studies (UCL), and besides teaching Spanish language and literature at UCL and Birkbeck , she has published and presented various p apers at Especulo, ALEPH, WISPS e IGRS, among others. Mazal still lives in London, where she works, studies and enjoys herself. She cannot wait to finish her doctoral thesis 'Women's Literature and Public Reception' (UCL).

Richard Parker

UK

Richard Parker was born in 1978, he completed his thesis on Ezra Pound and Louis Zukofsky in 2010.  His publications include the full-length collection from The Mountain of California ..., from Openned Press and the pamphlet China from Knives, Forks and Spoons Press.  He is the editor and printer of the letterpressed poetry pamphlet series Crater.
His work in Alba is an hallucinatory mistranslation of song five of Jacinct Verdaguer's Canigó.

Sarah Kelly

UK

Sarah Kelly is a poet and artist based in London, with ties to Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is the author of 'locklines' (KnivesForksandSpoons Press, 2010) and her work has been published in various magazines, journals and anthologies. She now works mainly in hand made paper and text sculpture, and her visual poetic work has been exhibited in both Argentina and the UK. She was recently commissioned to produce visual poetry translations as part of the Spain NOW! Literary Festival 2013.

Sarah's work

Sequence 14

Sequence 11

Ana García Segura

Spain

Ana is a cross-disciplinary design collaborative working in the UK and New York. Native to Spain, Ana's work spans the areas of photography, identity, branding, exhibition, web, interactive and publishing.

Ana's work

Queens

Queens II

Cristina Florit

Spain

Cristina Florit Gomila was born in Barcelona but raised in Menorca, Cristina is a distracted illustrator currently studying BA Illustration and Visual Media at London Colleague of Communication.

Cristina's work

THE 10

THE 10

Andrew Khosravani

UK

Free Lance London Based illustrator and animator. Portfolio includes work for Slam City Skates, 79TH, Book Art Book Shop, Squint Limited, Brompton Design Festival, Mongroove Collective, Forage Press, RAAAD and KK Outlet.

Andrew's work

Slow Lightning

Slow Lightning II

Francisco Segura

Spain

Francisco Segura is a Freelance Spain based illustrator. Francisco is collaboratiing with alba Paris and alba Londres and also has illustrated children's books like "El elefante que quería ser hormiga" by Emilio Calderón and M Luz Bravo.

Francisco's work

Ink Spots

Ink Spots II

Jaime Temple

UK

Jaime is a graphic designer, illustrator and printmaker based in London. He has a passion for designing books, magazines, records, branding, the occasional app, and making lino cuts

Jaime's work

Dusky Dolphin

Crab Eater Seal

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