Posts filed under 'the body'

The Singing Knots of Jorge Eduardo Eielson: Room in Rome in Review

The white pages are treated like canvas, and the lines as singing knots.

room-in-rome-jorge-eduardo-eielson-rgb

Room in Rome, by Jorge Eduardo Eielson, translated from the Spanish by David Shook, Cardboard House Press, 2019

Knots
That are not knots
And knots that are only
Knots

  1. Peruvian poet Jorge Eduardo Eielson once said of César Vallejo: “There is no superfluousness in Vallejo’s poetry, just as there isn’t any in Christian mysticism, although for opposite reasons”. This reason, according to Eielson, is that Vallejo’s poetry, as opposed to Christian mysticism that supposes a martyrdom of the body, is “a descent of the body—fleshly and social—into hell, that supposes another martyrdom, that of the soul.”
  1. Eielson writes the fleshly and social descent of the body into the Eternal City. Just looking at the title of the opening poem confirms Eielson’s commitment to the body: “Blasphemous Elegy for Those Who Live in the Neighborhood of San Pedro and Have Nothing to Eat.” Room in Rome was written in 1952, shortly after he had left Peru for Italy, where he would settle until his death in 2006. Vallejo, his hero, would also leave Peru for France. Despite this, Eielson’s book was widely available until 1977. During this period, he produced the novel El cuerpo de Gulia-no (The Body of Gulia-no). Again, its title suggests a rigorous investigation of the body and its descent into the worldly. Eielson would write, in 1955, Noche oscura del cuerpo (The Dark Night of the Body)—a shout-out to the Christian mystic St. John of the Cross.)
  1. “i have turned / my patience / into water / my solitude / into bread”
    “here i am headless and shoeless”
    “our father who art in the water”
    “love will be reborn/ between my parched lips”

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Translation Tuesday: “Closing Time at the Drunken Farmer” by Lorenz Just

In the corners of his mouth are the stubborn vestiges of frothy spittle—a vital bodily fluid holding everything together and postponing decay.

This week’s Translation Tuesday sees Jeff Clingenpeel’s rendering of a bemusing and sensual tale by Lorenz Just. A short and striking stream of consciousness set at the eponymous Drunken Farmer, this story merges head spinning, confusing abstractions and speculation with pungent, visceral sensory imagery to mesmerising effect.

It’s like I’m sitting on a highway of ants, a dark chasm running through my ass. For the past several minutes, my conversation partner has, as near as I can understand, been talking about nasal spray dependency. I can hardly follow him, so intense is the itch between my butt cheeks. My conversation partner, a man, sniffs whenever he pauses for even just a moment to put his words in order. He raises his index finger, wipes his knuckles across his nostrils and down to his mouth, and then, like a gecko snatching insects, sends his tongue darting out from between his lips to the mucus clinging there, which he fishes into his mouth; finally, he audibly scratches his unshaven cheek and talks and talks. I don’t want to see it or hear it. But he forces me to stare at him—he won’t let me out of his sight for even a second, not even when he labors to blow his nose into his hanky.

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