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May 24th, 2013 / 10:27 am
Web Hype

“…I am from here / and in these very same places / I now leave my balance.”

Over at Typo, Guillermo Parra has put together (with the help of many scholarly friends/friendly scholars) a collection of Venezuelan poetry (1921-2001) nuzzled-into-English. It really makes your hair feel softer, these poems. There are trails that crawl both uphill and downhill. There are fugitive instants that barely contain your breathing. There is the spooky insistence of overwhelming presence when you think you want to be alone. Like José Antonio Ramos Sucre explains: “I would like to stay between the empty dark, cruelty on earth hurts my senses, life an affliction.” But “They followed me on horseback with their black dogs.” Almond trees and leopards. Owls putting shirts on their fathers. Pistol vapors vs. peaceful sleep. Cañabrava wood and mangrove beams. Boats with chimneys, ham wrapped in aluminum foil. Selfhood as a long dark hike both inside and out. Or on its stomach to watch TV, or facing the ceiling to be loved. Patricia Guzmán, for example, has always wanted to learn how to sing, and she says so to her sisters:

I’ve told them to listen to me
I’ve told them to let me know I sing
I’ve told them not to kiss me on the mouth while I sing
Not to invite anyone to hear me

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