Translator's notes

Invitation

By Líber Falco

Every time I translate a Uruguayan poet from Spanish into English, I’m aware that I am, in a way, redressing an injustice – these poets being, for the most part, unknown outside the boundaries of our country. But this feeling of vindication was never so strong as with Líber Falco – not only because his lifelong poverty and obscurity make it particularly satisfying to be able to bring his work to the attention of a wider readership, but also because translation is, in his case, long overdue.

Falco lived all his life in humble circumstances, working at different times as a printer’s employee, hairdresser, baker, and newspaper proofreader. One of Uruguay’s best-loved poets, he was also the centre of a warm circle of friends, many of whom appear as addressees of his poems, and who financed and saw through the press an edition of his collected poems after he died in 1955.
If I can’t do Falco personally any justice, perhaps I can do it
to the many English-language readers who will doubtless enjoy
the deceptive simplicity of his poems, the depth of his love for friends, city and surroundings, and the uniqueness of a vision that drew inspiration from the very spare circumstances of his life and transformed it into something profoundly beautiful. Time and Time (the title of his collected poems) has passed since Falco’s death, and his poetry has stood the test of that doubled time, making it fitting and necessary to introduce him to the foreign readership he so deserves.

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