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The Arrival of the Orchestra

By Gustavo Pereira

Translated by John Green, Michal Boncza, Eduardo Embry

Smokestack Books Paperback ISBN: 9780956417534

Sent by Rodney Wood

I've never heard of this Venezuelan poet so relied on the back page and introduction for context. He's highly respected and has written about his childhood on the island of Margarita, his strong communist beliefs that wear “a Phryian bonnet”, the peoples right to culture and expression, and the “human eternity”of the revolutionary traditions of Amerindian tribes. I fell in love with shorter poems because they're arrows, humorous and self deprecating, like my favourite “Politics is useful for many things/In contrast to the muses/who sometimes are there to shame us.” (Somari of the Muses).
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Al Otro Lado del Aguilar

By Terry Gifford and Christopher North

Translated by Teresa Gomez Reus, Lorraine Kerslake, Peter Lauber and Juan Tomas Matarranz Araque

Oversteps books 2011

Sent by Rodney Wood

The book is like being invited to a village wedding and going up to each guest in turn to talk under almond trees, dance to the “sudden jazz”, drink some supermarket bought wine and share some food with your new friends but you're taken unawares as the strange culture of the Spanish villages hits you and you fart loudly. Everyone keeps their distance, you're a foreigner after all but poetry is a bridge between two similar cultures that “crackle with echoes” and share “a delicious kind of grace”.
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Poems

By Mohan Rana

Translated by Bernard O'Donoghue and Lucy Rosenstein

The Poetry Translation Centre, 2011, 978-0-9560576-5-5, £4.00

Sent by Ruth Yates

Even in a camper van with five hungry adults, a two year old toddler, and a whole cassette of kids' songs, reading these poems gives you an immense sense of peace. Between all the questions ('Does the light see the dark?') and the sublimely expressed longings ('I want, suddenly to see your face/then to be surprised'), there is the surprise of imagery - an immense satisfaction of seeing for the first time ('we stopped to watch the light being dusted from the sky'). The collection's simple name is deceiving. The poet interrogates himself, the limits of language, and our existence, gentle but persistent ('and I want us to be a tall tower/to see round the horizon/whose hand it was that dimmed the light'). The surprise of a two year old, the wisdom of great writing.
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The Poetess Counts to 100 and Bows Out

By Edwina Lugg

Translated by Marcel Smith

Princeton University Press, 2003 ISBN 0-691-09671-6

Sent by Edwina Lugg

Ana Enriqueta Teran is a 93 year old elegant lady; the You Tube video depicts an upright, slim figure, head held high with a pair of arching eyebrows which shoot to the sky as she discusses her poetry. Her first collection, 'North of the Blood', published in Venezuela in 1946, was the same year that Elizabeth Bishop published her first collection, 'North and South'. Bishop also lived in South America for 15 years, from 1951 - did they meet?Teran's poetry is muscular, animalistic, avian, with violent imagery, 'whips torn limbs', but also wonderfully alliterative, 'wings solo among stretched wingspans of wind'. There are seven more years before 'The poetess counts to 100 and bows out'.
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The Galloping Stone

By Various writers

Translated by Gillian Allnutt

New Writing North, 2010, ISBN 978 0955882968

Sent by Annie Kerr

The Galloping Stone features writing from people with troubling stories to tell, but it's been an interesting read on my Summer reading pile. Clients, staff and volunteers of The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture North East Office and Gillian Allnutt have contributed to a haunting, optimistic and beautiful volume that also contains stunning accompanying photos. You can't help but be transported by these words as they evoke homelands left behind, journeys survived and futures hoped for. The words in this book stay with you, as does the hope for the writers of them.
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We Are Never Alone

By Alexis Stamatis -

Translated by Thom Nairn and D. Zervanou

Dionysia Press, 2009 - 978-1-903171-32-5 £9:50

Sent by Jim Barron

Is simplicity the translation or the poet? I will probably never know. The space and place of the work is not mine, even though the words have been translated. This is what I want from writing, to be taken to another place, from near to far. My ideas of the world and words taken to another place and made to account for themselves. He ranges through love and loss, into vignettes of his life and culture. Finally asking the question why.

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Ficticia

By Maria Baranda

Translated by Joshua Edwards

Shearsman, 2010, ISBN 9781848611238, £8.95

Sent by Aisling Tempany

My journey with Baranda's collection begins 'with the moon and a desolate sky/ a place of frail words to open/ the native prose of dreams.' Ficticia is a journey of words, sea, time and place. It travels far and wide, further than I should ever know away from Baranda's pages. Joshua Edwards translates a cool, calm and circular poem that ends back where we begin, as journeys generally do. I am sad to arrive on the last page with 'the moon's furtive passage/ the beginning of an abrupt sky.' Nothing lasts forever though, especially if its good.
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Selected poetry of Francisco de Quevedo: A bilingual edition

By Francisco de Quevedo

Translated by Christopher Johnson

The University of Chicago Press, 20009, 978-0-226-69889-2, £31.00

Sent by Ruth Yates

Two quarters of the moon illumined the earth. For, because it was my birth, it would not spend a dollar. Reading this collection on a muggy day in the Basque Country, I'm innocently surprised at how a baroque, 17th century Spanish writer can have such an unexpected, and just plain daft, sense of humour. He doesn't just write moral and lyric poems, elegies and epitaphs, and love and satiric poems. He compares his love to Etna, rants about a big nose, insults chameleons, as well as going on about brevity, time, death and the stars. Throughout, and even in the most serious moments, he plays with exaggeration and with subtle, and not so subtle, shades of irony: 'He teaches how everything warns of death', 'To a cross-eyed, beautiful woman'. One of those people you wish you could have over for a drink.

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