All posts tagged: poetry

Reina María Rodríguez: Poems in Translation

Poems by REINA MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ

Translated by KRISTIN DYKSTRA

Translator’s Note

At first, it seems simple to outline the role of place in poems by Reina María Rodríguez. She began writing poetry in Havana, Cuba, a city that permeates much of her work. She grew up in a building on Ánimas Street, not far from the ocean, in a neighborhood of modest means. Eventually she and her partner built a tiny apartment on that same building’s roof out of largely recycled materials, and there they ran a historic, open-air cultural salon in the 1990s. Today Rodríguez remains interested in everyday life, in the realities accessible to inhabitants moving through the city streets. Alongside her explorations of the present, she incorporates memories from her neighborhood into many poems.

Reina María Rodríguez: Poems in Translation
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Joss

By PATRICIA LIU 

Image of a river and houses on a hill.

Yunnan Province, China

Paper is thin. In the beginning, still billows in the wind, still petal-like, still grounded in this world 

of living. The incense is the only material that translates the viscera to mist. Early, the fog has not yet 

lifted, and we move through the white drip as if through total darkness. Fish lost in the deep under-

water. It is easy for water to find home in our bodies. How wonderful it is to think my father’s

dead father a translation of our living selves, the water in-between my cells, the same water of

ghosts. Of women and Buddha, of lotus flower and palace, of lion. See the shine of fire, even

now. See the smoke, encapsulated by the fog. My father tells stories of the state’s inexorable beckoning,

the brothers, and the sisters, too, sent to the countryside. What they remember most is the truck

and the dust, the broad shoulders of horse, that first night and its stars, the mass exodus of dragonflies

following the monsoons—but no, exodus is uniquely a human endeavor. My father cannot bring 

himself to anger; he knows it is shame that is the ugliest language. Somewhere, I have lost my place 

in the life-wheel, and the only words I know in Chinese are our names. Jiayu is rain. Jialei is rosebud. 

Only years later do I learn that Jiayu means jade. Only years later do I long for pure, unadulterated 

fortune over the ritual of early rain. Somehow, turn face to sky. Here. In memory, to burn is to revere.

Joss
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March 2021 Poetry Feature: Sylvie Durbec

Poem by SYLVIE DURBEC, translated from the French by DENIS HIRSON

Sylvie Durbec was born in Marseille and lives in Provence, near Avignon. She writes texts in both prose and poetry, as well as painting and making collages. The many books she has published over the past twenty years include the prose-poetry memoire Marseille : éclats et quartiers (Marseille, fragments and quarters) which won the prestigious Jean Follain prize; Prendre place (Taking  place) concerning the internment camp at Douadic in France and Soutine, a prose-poem about the painter, published in The Common. This year she has published 50 carrés du jour (50 squares of the day) and Ça qui me poursuit (That which pursues me).

Denis Hirson grew up in South Africa and has lived in France since 1975. He has published nine books, several concerning the memory of South Africa under apartheid. The latest, both published in 2017, are Footnotes for the Panther, ten conversations with William Kentridge, and Ma langue au chat, in French, concerning the torture and delight of speaking and writing in that language.

 

Table of Contents 

  • The Ignorance of Beasts 

 

 

The Ignorance of Beasts

I still don’t know how to type a tilde on a computer keyboard

when writing the name of a Spanish or Portuguese writer I love.

 

Nor do I know what poetry is. 

 

March 2021 Poetry Feature: Sylvie Durbec
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February 2021 Poetry Feature

Poems by REBECCA MORGAN FRANK, JEFFREY HARRISON, CALEB NOLEN, and ALEXANDRA WATSON.

Contents:

  • Rebecca Morgan Frank  |  I hold with those who favor fire
  • Jeffrey Harrison  |  Hazards, 2020
  • Caleb Nolen  | The Deal
                           | Jonah Years
  • Alexandra Watson | when the party’s over or, portrait of an addict zero days sober or, my mom sent me this book healing the addicted brain 

  

  

February 2021 Poetry Feature
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LitFest 2021: Poems by Tommye Blount and Natalie Diaz

LitFest Poems 2021

Amherst College’s sixth annual literary festival will take place virtually this year, from Thursday, February 25 to Sunday, February 28. Among the guests are 2020 National Book Award poetry finalists Tommye Blount and Natalie Diaz. The Commonis pleased to reprint four of their poems here.

Join Tommye Blount and Natalie Diaz in conversation with host John Hennessy (poetry editor of The Common) on Saturday, February 27 from 11am to noon.

Register and see the full list of LitFest events here.

LitFest 2021: Poems by Tommye Blount and Natalie Diaz
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January 2021 Poetry Feature: Bruce Bond

Happy New Year! We begin 2021 by welcoming BRUCE BOND back to The Common.

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-seven books, including, most recently, Black Anthem, Gold Bee, Sacrum, Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997–2015, Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods, Frankenstein’s Children, Dear Reader, Plurality and the Poetics of Self, Words Written Against the Walls of the City, and The Calling.

Table of Contents

  • Patmos III
  • Patmos V
January 2021 Poetry Feature: Bruce Bond
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Poems in Translation from Bestia di gioia

Poetry by MARIANGELA GUALTIERI
Translated from the Italian by OLIVIA E. SEARS

Poems appear in both Italian and English.

 

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE

Mariangela Gualtieri is a poet of great incandescence. Whether confronting existential questions or questions of daily existence, she writes with searing honesty and compassion. A veteran of the theater, Gualtieri’s voice can be thunderous and oracular, but also painfully intimate.

Poems in Translation from Bestia di gioia
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December 2020 Poetry Feature: Denise Duhamel and Jeffrey Harrison

Poems by DENISE DUHAMEL and JEFFREY HARRISON

 

This month we welcome back longtime contributors Denise Duhamel and Jeffrey Harrison to our pages.

 

Table of Contents:

            Denise Duhamel
                        – 2020
                        – American Sestina, 2019

            Jeffrey Harrison
                        – The Mount

December 2020 Poetry Feature: Denise Duhamel and Jeffrey Harrison
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In the Garden of Invasive Species, I Offer Gratitude

By JENNIFER PERRINE

Girl in a garden

 

Port Murray, New Jersey and Milwaukie, Oregon

for my grandparents, who did not teach me
how to farm, and yet they scattered these seeds:
How a dunk into scalding water slips
the skin from a peach, leaves it unfuzzed, slick
for canning. How the trick to shucking corn
is one clean jerk. How jars of beet brine turn
eggs to amethysts that stain my fingers,
my lips. They left me to play in cellars
stocked with preserves and jam, in rows of trees
that released chestnut burrs for my bare feet
to find. What would they think of my pea shoots
left unlatticed, free to tendril one noose
after another around other plants,
my slapdash harvest, larder left to chance?

In the Garden of Invasive Species, I Offer Gratitude
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