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March 2010

Correspondences in the Air: International Poetry

Image: Elana Kundell, Mbira Experiment, 2009, Oil on Panel (Detail)

We’re celebrating the publication of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, edited by Ilya Kaminsky and Susan Harris of Words without Borders, by devoting the month to poetry. Reading poetry gives one a chance to overhear similarities, or what Anna Akhmatova once called “correspondences in the air”—that is, moments where authors of different geographical and historical circumstances, languages, and traditions seem to address each other in their works. In these correspondences we see the importance of dialogue, as poets return to their poetic origins in order to create something new. Listen in on Roberto Bolaño, Sergio Chejfec, Nyk de Vries, Charles Ducal, Alta Ifland, Jazra Khaleed, Luis Garcia Montero, Yiannis Moundelas, Francesc Parcerisas, Mercedes Roffé, Tomaž Šalamun, Nikos Violaris, and Richard Wagner, and enjoy the conversations.

Correspondences in the Air: On The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry

Octavio Paz once wrote that the modern poet “extracts his visions from within himself.”

from “Tales of the Autumn in Gerona”

A woman—I should say a stranger—who caresses you, jokes with you

From the Figure 6 Into Ships

You destroyed all letters. You burned the heavenly garden.

Largo di Vitoria

Out of milk, out of strong skin jumps the big brother. When the river flows, the berth sleeps. There’s the block behind me.


You went to heaven, Sir, forgetting your legs. Should we bury them?

Roosters and Bones

If when night falls in the kitchen Someone leans over

Black Lips

Listen You who chew on my solitude

Worth It (A Thursday Telephonically)

Around ten I call you to say I have ten calls,


Then with her hands she’d crown her son’s head,


Observe yourself in the mirror, unchanged yet strange,

Call Me at Home, Flambé

darling, when it comes to strawberries you’re like me

Day, A

gulls woke me and the sun

Hermes In Retrogression

With fingers—fingertips and edge of nail— he plots fires with tongues of snakes,

Let Us Talk

First, we will bury you in the sand, with your head free to speak about mutual understanding, about peace;   first, we will make your field our own, station soldiers between mine

Situation: To Cast Off A Malady

invite people over. invite everyone. to a feast. a big feast. and if the sick one doesn't want to get out of bed, that’s fine, leave him there.

Night Does Not Fall

Night does not fall nor does it come


I walk toward the mill To meet my quiet father

Half Sleep Half Death

Half sleep half death. My hands in springtime


In that town there was a room I kept circling.

Bilingual Poem avec Clichés

Danse avec moi baby under the stormy sky


Book Reviews

Alicia Borinsky’s “Frivolous Women and Other Sinners/Frivolas y pecadoras”

Reviewed by Adam Eaglin

Alicia Borinsky’s book Frivolous Women and Other Sinners (Frivolas y Pecadoras) consistently surprises with its verve and stamina

Emmanuel Moses’s “He and I”

Reviewed by Fiona Sze-Lorrain

Ernest Farrés’s “Edward Hopper”

Reviewed by Karen Rigby

The Horse Has Six Legs: An Anthology of Serbian Poetry

Reviewed by Sibelan Forrester

Translation of poetry should always motivate two kinds of fidelity

Recent Issues

Animal Kingdom

Our Nueva York: Writing the City in Spanish

The Language of Identity: Kaaps Writing from South Africa

Voices on the Verge: Writing from Southeast Asian Creole Languages

The Slow Burn of Inner Chaos: Writing from Malaysia

Backstories: Afro-Italian Women Writers

The Queer Issue XII

Movement and Multiplicity: Writing from Mauritania

Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.