Poetry in Spanish Translation

It's a great honour that someone would think my poetry worth translating into another language. This involves a lot of work and needs subtle thought. I read quite a lot of poetry in translation, and have often thought about the problems involved.

The translations are by Fernando Cuevas Ulitzsch, from Colombia, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Bogotá, when he gave me these texts. Fernando has been, for more than 20 years, a creator, artist and professional scholar of the relationships between art, communication and aesthetics, with emphasis on the possibilities and capabilities of the Image, drawing and speech, associated with its digital and / or analog nature. I am deeply grateful to him for this remarkable gift.

The translations have been revised with the expert help of Jacqueline Buswell and Penny O'Donnell, working through a series of memorable poetry lunches. My heartfelt thanks to them for teaching me a great deal about Spanish, and about poetry.

The translations are in the "Free Papers" file on this blog, and can also be accessed directly, under the heading TRADUCCIÓN, here : https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B7PfMzZfEk7vcE9NWU9GTkVEUWc 

Here is the first in the series:

Un lunes si, un lunes no, el municipio recoge residuos verdes
de los contenedores en el callejón.

Raramente recuerdo cual semana nos toca,
y mi basura es principalmente cucaracha marrón
o el gris de las ramitas muertas, así que agrego rápidamente, para alentarlos,
una capa de malas hierbas suaves, todavía fresca.

Verde, sí, pero ¿desperdicio? ¿Puedo confiar que este municipio de constantes recortes
apunte su camión basurero a un montón de compost?

Quiero que mis riquezas alimenten el verde nuevo, y no
el negro derroche de petróleo, el rojo desperdicio de la guerra.


Each second Monday the council collects Green Waste
from bins in the back lane.

I rarely remember which week is the one,
and my Waste’s mostly cockroach brown
or the grey of dead twigs, so I quickly add – to encourage them –
a layer of soft weeds, still fresh.

Green, yes, but waste? Can I trust this cost-cutting council
to aim its dump truck at a compost heap?

I want my wealth to feed new green, and not
the black waste of oil, the red waste of war.

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