Translation

The Mermaids’ Cry

By LEONARDO TONUS
Translated by CAROLYNE WRIGHT

they say that the most impressive of all crossings
is not thirst 
or the fear
afterwards.
The humiliation
no longer wounds
what does not exist
                        they say 
bodies in a boat 
of bodies 
veins 
eyes 
skin 
penis 
nails
vagina

The Mermaids’ Cry
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Exile

By CLARA OBLIGADO
Translated by RACHEL BALLENGER

 

On December 5, 1976, I arrived in Madrid from Argentina. I flew Iberia airlines, caught the plane in Montevideo because I was afraid of the disappearances happening at the border. I left wearing summer clothes, as if I were a tourist heading for the beaches of Uruguay, then, two or three days later, landed in Madrid, where it was winter. My father and sister saw me off. It took me six years—the years of the dictatorship—to return.

Exile
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Under Our Skin—A Journey

By JOAQUIM ARENA
Translated by JETHRO SOUTAR

 

And then, as is its wont, death comes knocking at the door. This time from two thousand miles away.

I try to get the image I have of him in my head to focus. The man who tried to be my father for over thirty years. Officially, not biologically, and not anymore. A death that will nevertheless force me home, back to Lisbon, just when I thought I’d found my place on this dry and sleepy island.

Under Our Skin—A Journey
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Maria, I’m Going to War

By JOSÉ PINTO DE SÁ
Translated by JETHRO SOUTAR

Papá announced, “Maria, I’m going to war,” and stubbed his cigarette out in the ashtray. Mamã, clearing the table, gave her usual start. She stood stranded in the kitchen doorway, a dirty plate in each hand.

Going to war meant going out in the dead of night to David’s bar, playing hide-and-seek with military patrols. Our lot’s supporters gathered there after hours, drank a few beers, exchanged questionable information and reliable rumors. It had been the same every night for the last three weeks, since their lot retook the city.

After dinner, Papá would say, “Maria, I’m going to war,” and Mamã would give a start, try to talk him out of it, remind him of martial law and the curfew. 

Then, out of desperation, she’d say, “At least wait for the shooting to die down.”

Maria, I’m Going to War
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The Rower of the Maré

By ELIANE MARQUES
Translated by TIFFANY HIGGINS

 

To Marielle Franco, city councillor, sociologist, and activist in Black and LGBTQI+ movements, who was assassinated along with her driver Anderson Gomes in Estácio in the middle of Rio de Janeiro on March 14, 2018. Those who ordered the crime have not yet been brought to justice. 

We are full of bullets from AKs in our heads and in our necks
With stray slugs that enter our bones our backs
We are in the Ecstasy neighborhood
But not dying of love

The Rower of the Maré
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It’s Done

By RUI CARDOSO MARTINS
Translated by DEAN THOMAS ELLIS

 

There are two twin girls in the courtroom. They look very much alike, with fine blonde hair, tightly bound, and short, pretty noses. One can see they have not yet reached the point in life where twins become separate. If they were to trade places, it would not be easy to tell the difference. But do not look at them in this way. A year and a half ago, a curtain fell between them.

It’s Done
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Brazilian Poets in Translation

Image saying "writing from the Lusosphere"

As part of this fall’s Lusosphere portfolio, we’re publishing accompanying work online. This translation feature highlights the work of two Brazilian poets, Eliane Marques and Leonardo Tonus. Work appears in both the original Portuguese and in English.

 

“A body on the sand” by LEONARDO TONUS, translated by CAROLYNE WRIGHT

“Federal Intervention” by ELIANE MARQUES, translated by TIFFANY HIGGINS

Brazilian Poets in Translation
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Princess Ixkik’

A Retelling from the Popol Vuh by ILAN STAVANS
 

Popol Vuh Retelling Cover


The archetypal creation story of Latin America, the
Popol Vuh began as a Maya oral tradition millennia ago. In the mid-sixteenth century, as indigenous cultures across the continent were being threatened with destruction by European conquest and Christianity, it was written down in verse by members of the K’iche’ nobility in what is today Guatemala. In 1701, that text was translated into Spanish by a Dominican friar and ethnographer before vanishing mysteriously.

Princess Ixkik’
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