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Born in Granada, Spain, in 1980, Fernando Valverde is widely considered one of the top young poets writing in Spanish today. Valverde is a leading figure in a movement of contemporary poets known as the Poetry of Uncertainty, and he has received some of the most significant awards for poetry in Spanish. This bilingual edition of his book The Insistence of Harm introduces English-language readers to some of his latest, most exciting work.
The Insistence of Harm is a series of poignant lyric poems that takes readers from India to the Balkans to Spain and to Latin America, exploring the nature of “harm” in its various guiseswar, disease, heartbreak, suicide. The poems grapple with both the reality of loss and the distance that language imposes on it. The English translations by Allen Josephs and Laura Juliet Wood effectively capture both tone and content while attending to subtle nuances of the original Spanish, bringing a new and important voice to students of Spanish and poetry readers alike.
A volume in the series Contemporary Spanish-Language Poetry in Translation, edited by Allen Josephs, funded by the University of West Florida
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|Publisher:||University Press of Florida|
|Series:||Contemporary Spanish-Language Poetry in Translation|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Fernando Valverde is visiting distinguished professor in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Virginia. He is the author of several books of poetry, including Eyes of the Pelican.
Allen Josephs, University Research Professor in the Department of English at the University of West Florida, is the author of a dozen books, all related to Spain and Latin America.
Laura Juliet Wood, poet and translator based in Pensacola, Florida, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is the author of All Hands Lost.
Read an Excerpt
Lo supimos después,
sin tiempo para nada.
Porque tal vez la vida nos dio todo al principio
y seguimos buscando
un camino que lleve a ese lugar,
un puñado de polvo
que guarde el equilibrio suficiente
para no convertirse
en aire o en montaña.
Porque tal vez la vida no nos perteneció
y se fue consumiendo
como todas las cosas que hemos creído nuestras
y son parte del daño
que dibuja las líneas de la historia
derribando ciudades con sus muros.
Y de haberlo sabido
habríamos juntado nuestras manos
o mirado a otra parte.
Y de haberlo sabido,
habríamos mordido nuestros labios
sangrando en el amor
para dejar visibles las heridas,
o habríamos rezado,
o renunciado a todo para quedarnos quietos
y no cruzar los días que agonizan.
Es todo tan inmenso que no cabe en el llanto
y el dolor nos observa desde fuera.
Lo supimos después,
no hay nostalgia más grande que aquella del futuro
We found out afterward,
no time for anything.
Because maybe life gave us everything at the start
and we keep on searching for
a road that leads to that place,
a handful of dust
with enough stability
not to turn into
air or a mountain.
Because maybe life didn’t belong to us
and went about consuming itself
like all the things we thought were ours,
and they are part of the harm
that draws the lines of history
knocking down cities and their walls.
And had we found out
we would have folded our hands
or looked the other way.
And had we found out
we would have bitten our lips
bleeding in the love
in order to make the wounds visible,
or we would have prayed,
or given up everything to remain still
and not suffer the agony of days to come.
It’s all so immense it won’t fit into the lament
and grief observes us from afar.
We found out afterwards,
there’s no nostalgia greater than that of the future.
Table of Contents
1. Crosses and Shadows 11
The Maid of Scarborough 13
Ratko Mladić Talks with Death 17
Walker on a Sea of Fog 23
Lament for the Dead 25
With Open Eyes You Walk through Death 29
Izet Sarajlić Crosses a Threshold Leading to Grief 37
Land of the Weak 41
2. Voyage of the World 43
The Edge of the Cliff 51
A Trail to You 53
Winter Postcard 55
Malá Strana Nocturne (Love Poem) 57
The Gambler 65
Abandoned Docks 67
3. Sadness in Maps 69
(San Salvador) 71
(Kutná Hora) 73
(Ruins of Toniná, Chiapas) 81
(Syntagma Square, Athens) 85
(San Cristóbal Beach) 87
(Field of Blackbirds) 91
4. The Light Will Not Arrive Alive Tomorrow 95
Memories Erased 101
The Fever Tree 105
Becoming Shadow 113
If the Sea Still Exists 117
The Weakness of the Light 119
What People are Saying About This
“Valverde, one of the most accomplished young poets writing in Spanish today, grapples with the sorrow of aging, death, and lost love in language that both makes us feel the immediacy of pain and its transcendence through poetry.”Anthony Geist, translator of Luis Hernández’s The School of Solitude: Collected Poems
“The translations are faithful but also artful, attending to both literal meaning and the multi-layered figurative language that gives Valverde’s work its rich texture and depth. His landscapes correspond to inner states of mind, his earthly journeys to inward ones.”Carolyn Forché, author of What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance