18 feb. 2009


*Coral Bracho. Firefly Under the Tongue: Selected Poems. Trans. Forrest Gander. 2007. 133 pp.

I missed this when it first came out, but was able to finagle a review copy. Coral Bracho is one of the best poets alive writing in Spanish, sometimes so good I can hardly believe that such a thing is possible. Gander's translation seems more or less good. Sometimes it is exceptionally good, so I won't quibble with the word "foehn" as a translation of "vendaval" (gale of wind). I had to look up "foehn" because I'd never heard of it before, so I'm grateful about learning something new.

Truth is, I didn't look at the translation much. I think the stronger point here is the strong choice of poet and poems. The volume would be good for someone who knew about as much Spanish as I know Italian.

What is good about Bracho? I think it's partly diction, the choice of words for both sound and precision of language. There's a soft penumbra of connotation, but not in a conventional or clichéd way. It seems to be a new kind of Spanish, different from that of almost everyone else.

3 comentarios:

Andrew Shields dijo...

"Foehn" is a wind in Switzerland, which I first heard of when ... I moved to Switzerland!

It made my head so sluggish that first October.

John Latta dijo...

Isn't "foehn" the final word in A Nest of Ninnies? That's where I learn'd it.


Jonathan dijo...

I had forgotten that:

"So it was that the cliff dwellers, after bidding their cousins good night, moved off toward the parking area, while the latter bent their steps toward the partially rebuilt shopping plaza in the teeth of the freshening foehn."