Saturday, April 2, 2011

National Poetry Month: Humberto Ak'abal

Humberto Ak'abal (Guatamala, b. 1952)


Blackbirds, buzzards, and doves
land on cathedrals and palaces
just as they do
on rocks, trees, and fences...

and they shit on them
with the complete freedom
of one who knows that god and justice
belong to the soul.

early hours

In the high hours of the night
stars get naked
and bathe in the rivers.

Owls desire them,
the little feathers on their heads
stand up.

The Farrar Straus Giroux book of Twentieth Century Latin American Poetry

A brilliant, moving, and thought-provoking summation of many poetic paths, The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry invites us to look at an illustrious literary tradition with fresh eyes. Ilan Stavans, one of the foremost scholars of Hispanic culture and a distinguished translator, goes beyond easy geographical and linguistic categorizations in gathering these works.

This bilingual anthology features eighty-four authors from sixteen different countries writing in Spanish, Portuguese, Mapuche, Nahuatl, Quechua, Mazatec, Zapotec, Ladino, and Spanglish. The poems are rendered into English in inspired fashion by first-rate translators such as Elizabeth Bishop, Galway Kinnell, W. S. Merwin, Alastair Reid, Mark Strand, and Richard Wilbur.

No comments: