by Daniela Gioseffi from On Prejudice: A Global Perspective,
a multicultural anthology of world literature ©1993 Daniela
Gioseffi, Doubleday/Anchor, NY. All rights reserved.
poet, novelist, translator, editor.
below on the author of your choice, or scroll down to read all
translations by Daniela Gioseffi.
Akhmatova | Marina
Ileana Malancioiu | Carilda
Oliver Labra |
FIRST LONG RANGE ARTILLERY FIRE ON LENINGRAD
A multi-colored crowd streaked about,
and suddenly all was totally changed.
It wasn't the usual city racket.
It came from a strange land.
True, it was akin to some random claps of thunder,
but natural thunder heralds the wetness of fresh water
to quench the thirst of fields gone dry and parched,
a messenger of blessed rain,
but this was as dry as hell must be.
My distraught perception refused
to blieve it, because of the insane
suddenness with which it sounded, swelled and hit,
and how casually it came
to murder my child.
Copyright © 1993 by DanielaGioseffi. All rights reserved.]
Tsvetayeva of Russia:
POEM OF THE END, Stanzas from#12:
as a horse's mane,
our eyes. Hills ahead.
passed the outskirts.
far from town. ....
tears at us.
and part from each other.
months, we hope for
moments of sharing.
Comprehend? We're nationless!
we've passed the walls within.
a place where it's forbidden
Like the Hebrew quarter.
it more worthy to
an eternal Jew?
not a viper
the same pogrom.
for converts only
of all faiths.
live on segragated, leprous islands,
hell, anywhere, only not
in a compromised
life nurturing traitors,
those who are sheep to butchers!
which gives me the
to live--I stamp. Under my feet.
as vengence for the star
For heaps of corpses,
all, the Jews didn't wantto live."
of the resolute! Beyond this
no mercy abounds
most Christian of worlds,
of truth are Jews!
Copyright © 1993 by Daniela Gioseffi. All rights reserved.]
Malancioiu of Romania:
writer and philospher., she received a doctorate in philosophy
from Bucharest University and has worked for Romaniantelevision.
She is an editor with the monthly literary magainze Viata Romaneasca.One
of the most prolific of contemporary Romanian poets, she has publishednine
volumes of poems since her first in l967. Born in the area of
Argesin l940, she won the poetry prize of the Writers' Union in
l970. This oneof her poems demonstrates an eternal theme through
the use of an ancientstory. The mighty emperors and dictators
carry on their bloody wars andmake the rules for all, while the
lonely kin struggle to mourn and burytheir dead with dignity,
and the people around them are too frightened or apathetic to
change the horrors.
mound, white body of a dead man
in hard battle and left above the Earth.
dogs come to bite the treacherous snow
winter comes, too, to take its bite.
pure woman appear to break the command,
the forsaken body from the dogs
it as a dear brother--
those near her wash their hands of it
her to be buried alive in the earth
in unreal white,
the emperor lost his great battle
and buried her frozen mound.
Copyright © by Daniela Gioseffi.All rights reserved.]
OLIVER LABRA(b. 1922--) LATIN-AMERICAN CARIBBEAN :
Born in Matanzas , Cuba, she taught for many years as a
professor of FineArts in Havana. The coveted National Prize for
poetry came to her in l950as a result of her popular and notorious
book, At the South of MyThroat (Al sur de mi garganta)
1949. In honor of the tri-centennialof Sor Juana Ines de la
Cruz ,in a contest sponsored by The Latin AmericanSociety in Washington
D.C., in 1950, she received first place the same yearshe won the
national Cuban First Prize. Her work was highly praised by NobelPrize
Winners, Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda. Her debut collection,l943,
Lyric Prelude (Preludio lirico) immediately establishedher
as an important poetic voice, even before At the South of My Throat--made
her famous. In 1958, she published Feverish Memory (Memoriade
la fiebre) which added to her notoriety as a blatantly
eroticpoet. Like Alexandra Kollantai of Russia, Emma Goldman of
the U.S., GeorgeSand of England, or Simone de Beauvoir of France,
she was a pioneer of woman'sindependence in her homeland and has
emerged today as one of Cuba's leadingpoets. Carilda Oliver-Labra's
other works include Song to the Flag(Canto a la Bandera,
1950); Song to Marti (Canto a Marti,1953); Song
to Matanzas (Canto a Matanzas, 1956.) Today, inSpain a
foundation offers the Carilda Oliver Prize for Poetry, and a documentaryof
the poet's life has been produced and aired throghout Europe.
Some of these poems come from her first volume of poetry in
AmericanEnglish, translated by Daniela Gioseffi with Enildo Garcia,
with a forewordby Gregory Rabassa, Dust Disappiears (Cross
Cultural Communications,Merrick, N.Y., ©1995 by the translators).
In the foreword to DustDisappears, Gregory Rabassa,
translator of Gabriel Garcia Marquezamong other Nobel Prize Winners,
said: "A phenomenon that had its rootsin the poetical revolt
called Modernism that took place in Spanish Americatoward the
end of the century was the sudden appearance of a generationof
women poets ( stemming from isolated figures, such as Sor Juan
Ines dela Cruz of the 17th century) who, in any number of ways,
formed a bridgeto the second revolt, that of prose, often referred
to as "magic realism,"which came about at mid-century.
... Their new poetry was called poesiafemina, . In view
of the events between their time and ours, today wecan correctly
call it poesia feminista. The feminist movement hasits
early counterparts in these poets of Latin America, where its
aims wereand still are sorely needed..
MOTHER YOU ARE IN A LETTER FROM MIAMI
you're only in a letter
an old scolding that I couldn't find;
forever in the center
of a blooming
rose that never dies.
so far away, tired
and mist. Wait, I'm coming
you home to live with the sun insideyou,
who lives in a letter.
give a date to mystery,
blend with bewitching shadows;
be the stone rolled away,
evaporate the circles under your eyes;
your small daughter, Mother;
dare to do all you can do, don't die
BOY WHO SELLS GREENS
no parents, its clear...I know
of your indecisive look. I can tellbecause of your shirt.
small but grown up behind the basket.
the sparrows. A penny is enoughfor you.
pass dressed inside with steel.
listen to you...You have shouted
three times: "Greens!"
indifferently carrying packages andumbrellas;
pants and new yellow blouses;
in a hurry toward the bank and thetedium
the sunset through Main Street...
not selling: you do the game of selling;
you never played, it comes to youwithout trying...
get close to me; no, child, don'ttalk with me.
want to see the site of your probablewings.
you this morning around the courthouse,
a blow your unhappy innocence has givenme!
which was a urn of illusion
like a wilted greens, like no heart...
tell you about truth,
the word's going to die
bearing the word
was sensitive to it.
a little of it...
took the word from your shoulder.
too, double over.
to say the word
flower already blooms there.
the final truth
word was murdered by gunfire.
you with earth,
sing in the seeds.
From Dust Disappears,
selected poems of Carilda Oliver Labra, Letras Cubanas, Havana,1953.
Original Spanish Copyright by the author. English translations
©1995 by Daniela Gioseffi & Enildo Gracia.]
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