miércoles, 1 de julio de 2009


Jacket es una reconocida revista de poesía, prosa creativa, reseñas, entrevistas y artículos informativos que sale en Australia desde octubre de 1997. La página web de Jacket ha recibido más de medio millón de visitantes desde su creación. En su último número, el número 37, el poeta peruano Edgar Saavedra acaba de ser publicado en edición bilingüe junto a poetas de la talla del esloveno Tomaž Šalamun. En este número también podemos leer interesantísimos artículos sobre Jack Spicer, Oulipo, Frank O’Hara, George Oppen, John Ashbery, Seamus Heaney, etc. El poema “ISLA” de Edgar Saavedra ha sido traducido por Kristin Dykstra con una luminosa introducción:

Edgar Saavedra was born in Caxamarca, Perú, in 1976. At age 18 he reported for obligatory military service on the island of San Lorenzo, located off the Peruvian coastline. Later he would go on to earn a degree in literature and an MA in Cultural Studies at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima.

Saavedra’s Final aún, a book of poems, was published in Lima in 2000. He remarks that the book establishes a dialogue with Latin American predecessors who have surrealist leanings, among them Moro, Westphalen, Molina, Paz, and Mutis. Classical Greek and Latin poetry has also influenced his writing.

More recently Saavedra has taken a renewed interest in César Vallejo’s work and that of their fellow Peruvian, César Calvo. Attracted to Brazilian literature as well, he has translated works by Haroldo de Campos and Roberto Piva into Spanish. Saavedra has worked with the publishing house Mano Falsa. He is presently completing a new book of poems, which partly take shape from his research into Andean shamanism.

When José Ignacio Padilla organized a Spanish-language folio for Mandorla11 (2008) to represent some of the most interesting new writers from Perú, he highlighted Saavedra’s four-part prose poem “isla” (“island”). Saavedra says that “isla” is unusual for him: it’s one of the only poems he has written with urban themes. “Isla” represents his effort to comprehend ongoing encounters with the port of Callao. He found less poetic forms of prose insufficient for grapping with emotion, disorientation and “arrebato,” which can be translated as a moment of rage, a fit of anger or passion, or even an experience of rapture.

Padilla finds it significant that Saavedra, who comes from Perú’s northern highlands, chose not to portray an arrival in the grand coastal city of Lima but his movements around Lima’s next-door neighbor – Callao, Lima’s double and opposite in the Peruvian urban imagination. In the poem’s details Padilla identifies three spaces, which give structure to Saavedra’s imagined port: the space of the State (drawing on Saavedra’s military service at San Lorenzo, near Callao), specific zones within the port (the cocaine scene; also Callao’s district of La Punta, ten years later), and a mythical space of origins (the sea).

Challenges for translating the poem involve its fluidity and soundcape. Grammatical structures come into sight, but a lack of conventional punctuation renders their streaming odd; meanwhile, the flow of sound itself requires attention.

Colloquial terms specific to the region ground certain moments in the poem before slipping into plays on sound and meaning. For example, “Chalaca” names a kick in soccer. In part 3 where that term appears, though, Saavedra works across two meanings of the term in the Spanish original: “Chalaco/a” is also the name for someone who lives in Callao. Callao also has its own local vocabulary around cocaine use, which surfaces in part 2. Some of this language is racialized in ways not universally familiar to Peruvians. A challenge presented within that language is Saavedra’s soundplay across two similar phrasings, each using the adjective “negro” with a different meaning; I’ve used “black” and “blackened” to suggest the slide in sound, while also retaining social and aesthetic tensions suggested by this urban vocabulary.

My thanks to Saavedra, Padilla, Ricardo Gutiérrez Mouat, and Reynaldo Riva Gallardo for useful conversations about details in the poem.

– Kristin Dykstra / 2009


Isla / Island
by Edgar Saavedra / translated by Kristin Dykstra



nuevos paisajes se descubren inhóspitos en los hospitales y en los cuarteles lejos detrás de la niebla oscura vivían cansados dentro de un cuarto enorme y una pintura que decía marino ella te prefiere más que a tu recuerdo misiles cargabas todo el día con tu corte al filo de los cuchillos que ascendían de la marina tempestad del mar frío agosto húmedo amanece pensando que no ha de caer arrastrado de su reino ahí mismo angustiado en esa región de cabellos rubios y tumbas pre incas al frente del puerto en su ocaso celeste balneario de sombra de mar de la costa soleada de una tierra que no quiere pertenecer a esta tierra desolada enfermerías repletas de cuerpos lisiados lejos no muy lejos del precipicio la sal se condensa en el rancho de un soldado raso adormecido por la inocencia al sur de ese circuito nostálgico arremete con su ametralladora llena de magia era tu experiencia la voz que amanece en la fría niebla que se repite


new landscapes are discovered inhospitable in hospitals and in barracks far away behind the murky fog they lived tired inside an enormous dormitory and a painted saying marine she prefers you to the memory of you missiles you loaded all day long with your buzzcut to the blade of knives that rose out of the marine storm of the chill sea moist august awakens thinking that his fall won’t necessarily come to pass won’t be dragged out of his kingdom right there worried in that region of blond heads of hair and pre incan tombs in front of the port in its celestial sunset peninsular beachtown of sea shadow of the sunswept coast of a land that doesn’t want to belong to this desolate land sickbays packed with impaired bodies far away not very far away from the precipice the salt precipitates on the rations for a leveled soldier numb with the innocence south of that nostalgic circuit he charges with a machine gun full of magic was your experience the voice it awakens in the chill fog that goes repeating


algunos años después el callao era una circunstancia de negros vi solo negros yo era negro y lancé millones de insultos y la salsa veranea conmigo veo un retorno corrosivo hay una ternura en cada unas de las cosas que comprábamos sin pudicia ahí mismo para no morir y volver a la fiesta de negros y nosotros también estábamos negros hay un recuerdo lejano y la música insolente solo eso escuché decir contar bailar jalar y salir corriendo escapando de la vida

esa sensación se repite y es esta vez el puerto que no duerme el puerto provinciano que quizás deba sucumbir en nuestro equipaje de granadas de guerra de la guerra que cada uno libra para no morir o para morir de pura vida de puro negro explota esa tempestad que acontece lejana en el grito de las palmeras que no existen porque el callao no es el caribe aunque a veces siento el caminar de cabezas de culebra de los negros y las negras


some years later callao was a happening of blacks I saw just blacks I was black and I threw down millions of insults and salsa summers with me I see a return corrosive there is tenderness in each of the things we were buying without decency right there so as not to die and return to the festival of blackness and we were blackened with blow there’s a distant memory and the music insolent just that I heard said heard told danced snorted and left running escaping from the life

that sensation goes repeating and this time it’s the port that doesn’t sleep the province’s port that maybe ought to succumb in our baggage grenades war of the war that each one opens so as not to die or so as to die from pure life from coke’s pure blackness blows up the storm that takes place far away in the shout of the palm trees that don’t exist because callao is not the caribbean though sometimes I sense the snakehead locomotions of the black or blackened men, and of the women


la punta se llenaba de millones de cervezas millones de peces omnívoros millones de cuchillos todo es millones millones de tempestades y gritos y furor y risa total y risa y mujer y sexo chalaco de chalaca hice el gol las negras mujeres repisas mujeres con sexo escondido y otra vez y otra vez es una palabra que se repite en las murallas del lobo del hueso del silencio angosto de luces que a veces vuelan entre el silencio y no veo la isla veo nuevamente la isla y me recuerdo abandonado agotado hasta el tuétano haciendo las verticales abdominales y sigo y prosigo mirando de lejos la costa que no puedo alcanzar y duermo y me despierto a veces entre la marea que alcanza y el frío que entra por las orejas desnudo en fila india esperando que anochezca y que amanezca


la punta was filling with millions of beer bottles millions of omnivorous fish millions of knives everything is millions millions of storms and shouts and furor and big laughter and laughter and woman and chalaco sex from chalaca bicycle kick whereafter I scored blackened women revisits women with sex hidden and again and again is a word that repeats on the walls of the wolf of the bone of the narrow silence of the lights that sometimes fly through the silence and I don’t see the island newly see the island and I recall myself abandoned bone-tired crunching abdominals verticals and I keep on and keep going looking from far away at the coast that I can’t reach and I sleep and wake sometimes between the tide that rises and the chill that enters through the ears naked in single file waiting for night to fall and for the dawn


enormemente festivo se verifica que todo acontece mejor en la soledad o en el destierro sueño con palabras placeres extrañas palabras de gas fosforescente libres de funciones sintácticas palabras solas y en las olas no será terrible divisar animales que nunca imaginas el invierno o el verano que dan lo mismo continúa en esa tempestad que viene y despierta y urge algo más terrible de lo que pueda explicar sin verdad sin alma sin el titular tutelar de los que dicen en las angostas aguas minerales de una hermosa bahía que no amanece y la frontera es apenas perceptible hace tiempo que no me pongo triste dijiste y todo brillaba veo y creo veo y recreo lo que escuché de la voz del anciano niño pájaro pez eran lo mismo desde el mismo lugar comido y amado por el mar sometido a su placer a su inclemencia


enormously festive it has been verified that everything takes place best in solitude or when uprooted I dream of phrases pleasures strange phrases of phosphorescent gas free of syntactical functions lone words and on the waves it won’t be terrible to sight animals that you’d never have imagined the winter or the summer since they’re the same continues in that storm that comes and wakes and drives something more terrible than what I can explain without truth without soul without the tutelary titular of those who speak in the narrowed mineral waters of a gorgeous bay that does not wake and the border is barely perceptible long time since I haven’t been sad you said and everything sparkled I see and I create I see and I recreate what I heard of the voice of the elder child bird fish they were all the same from the same place eaten and loved by the ocean subject to its pleasure to its severity
Kristin Dykstra’s current translation projects include poetry, poetic prose and essays by Ángel Escobar, Omar Pérez, Reina María Rodríguez and Carlos Aguilera. Her translations and commentary are featured in bilingual editions of poetry by Rodríguez and Pérez, the most recent being Something of the Sacred / Algo de lo sagrado (Factory School, 2007). Another book with Rodríguez, The Winter Garden Photograph, is forthcoming from Green Integer, which previously published an anthology by the same writer entitled Violet Island and Other Poems (2004). Dykstra’s work has recently appeared in The Brooklyn Rail (InTranslation), Washington Square, Callaloo, and other journals; more is forthcoming in Lana Turner, Afro-Hispanic Review, The Havana Reader, and The Whole Island.

Imagen 1: Edgar Saavedra, fotografía de Lito García
Imagen 2: Kristin Dykstra

4 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

que bueno saber de él.lo máximo.

Verónica dijo...




violeta dijo...

un grande el señor saavedra. felicitaciones desde todos los lados,

Anónimo dijo...

¡Mis mayores exitos para ti,Edgar Saavedra!