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Articles tagged "Spanish Literature"

No Euskera

Bilbao rose to meet them, swathed in stagnant drizzle. At the door to the train station, the old woman opened her umbrella and stepped outside, with the girl walking snug against her body. The damp fog blurred the outlines of the city. Objects appeared menacingly distant, and the people seemed to be walking an inch off the ground. The old woman tied her black kerchief under her chin without dropping the basket hung over her arm. She was dressed in an old village woman’s prim mourning...

New in Spanish: Germán Sierra’s \“Standards\”

When Pálido Fuego, the publisher that has worked to bring such voices as Mark Leyner and Lars Iyers to audiences in Spain, decided to publish its first book from within that country’s borders, Germán Sierra’s fourth novel Standards was a fitting choice. Sierra is a representative of the “Nocilla Generation,” which introduced stylistic traits associated with late twentieth and early twenty-first-century English and American fiction into Spain’s...

Ode to Jean Arthur Rimbaud

Now, this October you will turn a hundred, harrowing friend. May I speak to you? I’m alone, through my window the Pacific breaks its eternal threatening thunder. It is night. The burning firewood throws over the oval of your old portrait a fugitive ray. You are a child of twisted locks, sour mouth. I apologize if I talk to you the way I am, the way I trust you would be today,  if I talk of marine water and of burning firewood, of simple things and simple beings. They tortured...

The Week in Translation

what: New Poetry from Spain: Round Table Discussion featuring Marta López-Luaces, Gerardo Piña-Rosales, and Leonard Schwartz when: Thursday, April 11, 7pm where: Instituto Cervantes, New York, NY more info: http://ow.ly/jRnlr Lorca in New York: A Celebration: the largest-ever festival in North America celebrating the work of acclaimed Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca. With more than two dozen events throughout...

Mangled Flesh

His father says, Son, if you see me crying when we go inside don’t be afraid, you keep moving forward, they’re my own things and they have nothing to do with you, coming here breaks my heart, but today I’m making good on something I’ve been promising you for a long time, Borja, I’m not putting it off any longer. Another March, noon, they said it’s going to rain. We don’t have to go inside if you don’t want to, Dad, what you told me already and...

from “Rhapsody”

XV The time has come to say good-bye; with farewells comes wind to the vineyard like dark Valpolicella wine in the hand of dark winter dyes: parks, far stations pass by winter platforms, by hills that lose their color on being dyed into crystals by thinking light; so we head for the center, not to flight or the abyss but the carnation of time, of what spots us in the flaming mirror. So clouds in their service pass by like the Holy Procession of Phantoms like the...

The Baghdad Clock

I never feared them nor did they ever do anything to frighten me. They were there, next to the stove, mixed up with the crackling of firewood, the taste of freshly baked bollos, the to-and-fro of the old women’s skirts. I never feared them, perhaps because in my imagination they were pale and beautiful, listening as we did to the stories that took place in nameless hamlets, waiting for the right moment to let themselves be heard, to whisper to us wordlessly: “We’re here,...

from “Rage”

From violent dampnesses, from places where the residues of torments and whimpers mesh, comes this arterial grief, this shredded memory.          They go insane, even the mothers who run through my veins.  *** The tortured shadows near the signs. I think about the day when horses learned to weep.  *** Who shows up shouting, announcing such a summer, lighting black lamps, hissing into the pure blue of knives?  *** They come...

The Last Day on Earth

There seemed to be no one left in the barrio now and the windows were bare and the wind stirred through gates and the rats crossed noiseless rooms and the smell of the honeysuckle was fading. At night there were neither the cries of a sleepless child nor the clatter of dishes deep in the kitchens. In the gardens, it was not the sound of fountains but those of a dry, broken-off branch, a well's pulley creaking in the wind, an orphaned cat whispering an astonished meow and the acacias...

Crossing Bridges

I crossed the Vltava by way of the Charles Bridge. I crossed the Neva by way of the Trinity Bridge. I crossed the Danube by way of the Lion Bridge. I crossed the Moskva by way of the Novoarbatski Bridge. I crossed the Sava by way of Branko’s Bridge. I crossed the Tiber by way of the ponte Sant’Angelo. I crossed the Seine by way of the pont Mirabeau. I crossed the bridges of rusted iron over the immense Paraná, at Gualeguaychú, and the equally mighty...

Social Skills

The Dodge Dart parked on the crosswalk with its right front wheel up on the curb and the fender touching the lamppost. Doña Mercedes, sitting in the passenger seat, opened the door and let out a snort. “Your driving is getting worse and worse, Hija. You’re really showing your age,” she said, although Felisa was eighteen years her junior. Felisa was Doña Mercedes’s maid, cook and, when necessary, driver. Petite, somewhat hunched, with a mousy face,...

They Destroyed Our Radios and Televisions

They destroyed our radios and televisions to leave us without images, without those maudlin songs that lulled our past to sleep back when we still believed in trains by the seaside, at the ranch where Laura carried her milk churns to the river to meet the prince on horseback, kissing the stamping steed on the mouth like in Gwendolyn’s garden, abandoned to what they called love. They made us spend nights reading Barthes and Derrida until words came undone in our hands and nothing had...

Under the Sign of Anaximander

I I was raised by a depressed mother and an alcoholic father. Mother soon stopped being a mom in every sense of the word and became more of a nuisance than an iconic figure, just a body to trip over. And Pops was tripping on her less and less, ‘cause when my older sisters seemed ready, straight away he started banging them, first one then the other, till finally he was banging one in front of the other, and I was starting to see myself as next on the list; soon as the girls...

What Do You Expect, Heart?

  What do you expect, heart? What do you want from me? To be like Zeno of Elea, who bit off his own tongue in one bite and spit it out at the tyrant? The good angel bad angel speaks: the bearable the unbearable. They look as if the quiet captured them (a sign of danger? how light falls at a given moment? through a work or an internal distillery?) in a comb of rich honey. About what is other, I accept everything  that I do not unbearably dislike. I accept it...

Bitter Lemons

Everything went well until we got to Corfu.  It’s not that things started to go wrong there, but that this may have been an omen that our happiness had already been drawn out far too long.  I was a new professor.  Upon completing my first course as a lecturer, I bought myself a car: a white Fiat 127.   My goal was to travel through Greece that summer, traversing those historic and literary places of which I had dreamed since my childhood.  I was neither...

Don’t Do It

He left his car in the parking lot of the hospital complex. It had all been under construction for years. Around him were unfinished buildings with display windows still protected by tape beside other old, dusty ones, with air conditioning units hanging off them like enormous ticks. Amid the buildings were pre-fab sheds, cranes, fenced-in areas all around, but he knew his route well. He passed a row of oleanders that had been relegated to no-man’s-land, and he emerged in an open...

The Devil Lives in Lisbon

On Mondays Mother always got up at five o’clock. She would leave half an hour after getting out of bed, once she had gathered up all the breakfast crockery, and then, looking at us again with a smile, she would not be back home till Saturday. When she’d come back down the same path that she had gone up on Monday. Nieves was seven at the time. I was six. Elisa, just three. Mother worked as a schoolteacher. In La Comba, a small village in the mountains. The little bus would come...

Jesús Cossio’s \“Barbarism\”: The Graphic Novel as Testimony

As a high schooler living in early ‘90s Spain, I spent many a Sunday night nursing a fierce hangover thanks to the exaggerated nightlife on the Iberian Peninsula.   Part of my end-of-weekend routine involved eating a late dinner in front of the TV, constantly switching channels, but primarily alternating between the day’s soccer highlights (on programs with impossibly complicated names such as Gol a Gol or Fútbol es Fútbol) and watching 120 Minutes on MTV...

Confession

I admit it: I once killed a journalist. I’ve tried to forget it, to keep quiet, to pretend, but it doesn’t make sense to continue deceiving myself. No one can escape their memories. The recollection of that unlucky wretch follows me, by day and by night. And when I say that it pursues me, I mean exactly that: when I open my eyes at dawn, frightened by some presence that I don’t recognize as real, I find that fool by my side, watching me with those bulging eyes,...

The Week in Translation

GO what: "Monet to Mallarmé": Mary Ann Caws, Paul Legault, Susan Mitchell, and Laila Pedro read from the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé, in French and in a variety of translations. Monet to Mallarmé is a six-event salon series at the New York Botanical Garden. when: Saturday, August 11, 4:00pm where: New York Botanical Garden Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road cost: Admission is free with All Garden...

Listening Under the Kitchen Table: An Interview with Kirmen Uribe

Kirmen Uribe is a Basque writer and poet. In 2008, his novel, Bilbao-New York-Bilbao was published in Basque. (It has subsequently been translated into more than ten languages and was awarded the Premio Nacional de Literatura (Narrativa) in Spain. Uribe has also published children´s stories and his collection of poetry, Meanwhile Take My Hand, which was translated into English by the U.S.-born writer, Elizabeth Macklin, was a finalist for the 2008 PEN Award for Poetry in...

Beyond this Darkness and this Silence

  The world has become aware of its invisible citizen. But no one knows you are here. —H. G. Wells   I warned her in one of our first conversations, though she didn’t take me seriously: “I’m invisible.” Not that I reproached her for her skepticism. To be honest, I don’t usually talk about it; people aren’t prepared to face the extraordinary. Which, if you are a part of what is considered “extraordinary,” can be...

Seizing Cervantes

When it all began, that is, when the Skeptic Party rose to power in the United Kingdom, in 2070, I was completely in favor. The group’s plan to completely forbid religious practice pleased me greatly. I was brought up in an intellectual environment, the son of a family that never believed in any god and always associated the religious figure with some guy with a double-digit IQ or a fanatical human bomb. I admit, I voted for the Skeptic Party as soon as it came into existence. But...

Holding Pattern

I’m so uneasy with reality that I find planes comfortable. I surrender myself, resigned, to movies I don’t want to see and food I don’t want to eat, as if practicing a disciplined spiritual routine. A samurai with headphones and plastic knife. Suspended, my cell phone off, I enjoy the nirvana of having nothing to decide. That’s what flying is to me: a way to postpone the numbers that get through to me. The last call I got before take-off was from Clara. I was at...

And If You See That I Don’t Come Back

Look at you, you’re soaked! I’ve been waiting hours for you. Out to buy cigarettes in the middle of all this! We need to talk. What about the cigarettes? Don’t tell me you didn’t get any . . . Actually, no, I decided it would be better to come back without them than to just take off. I figured the cigarettes would find their own way back. But I knew you’d be upset to see them coming home alone so late, as dangerous as the streets are and all. Don’t...

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