Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poems: Damaris Calderón

Y hoy, nuestra poetisa cubana es: Damaris Calderón (1967-). Like Alessandra Molina and unlike many of the older poets here, she was born after the Revolution, and lived in Cuba until she moved to Chile, where she now resides and is publishing books and studying. Since her early 20s she's been winning national poetry prizes, and has published her work in three collections as well as in many periodicals both within and outside Cuba. Her work's distinctiveness will be instantly apparent when you read it, so I'll post two poems by her, to give you a sense of her voice, which is often ironic and caustic. And always worth hearing and reading.

Césped inglés

Los segadores
tienen una rara vocación por la simetría
y recortan las palabras sicomoro,
serbal, abeto, roble.
Guardan las proporciones
como guardan sus partes pudendas—
Y ejercen sin condescendencia
el orden universal
porque el hombre
--como el pasto—
también debe ser cortado

English Lawn

have a rare vocation for symmetry
they clip the words sycamore,
service tree, fir, elm.
They guard proportions
as they guard their private parts—
and enact without indulgence
the universal order
because man too
--like a lawn—
must be mown down.

Cielo boca abajo

el cielo no se tiende
como un paciente
sobre la mesa
El paciente
en su camilla
anestesiado de sí mismo
no mira al cielo
el corte
el bisturí
que haga saltar al potro de su infancia
y las canciones natales que volverán
con las agujas hipodérmicas.

Sky Face Down

the sky is not stretched out
like a patient
upon the table
The patient
on his stretcher
anesthetized to self
is not looking at the sky
he awaits
the cut
the scalpel
that will make the colt of childhood leap
and the birth songs come rushing back
with the hypodermic needles.

Translated by Barbara Jamison

Copyright © 2007, Damaris Calderón, translated by Barbara Jamison, from Island of My Hunger: Cuban Poetry Today, Edited and with an introduction by Francisco Morán, San Francisco: City Light Books. All rights reserved.

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