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PBS SUMMER TRANSLATION CHOICE

Posted on June 25 2020

As part of our open access for #BLM, we've opened up access to this extract from Ilya Kaminsky's review of The Sea Needs No Ornament, a bilingual Anthology of Contemporary Caribbean Women Poets which has been selected as the PBS Summer Translation Choice:

"Thirty-three poets from the English and Spanish speaking Caribbean in this book give us some of the most passionate, and insightful writing around, in any language, but as I look at translated voices here, I am both moved and transformed by the ways they seem to address the devastation of our current moment. For example, Karol Starocean from Santo Domingo, shows “how the emergency sirens don’t stop blinking... there are no fish or fishermen” because a hurricane “wishes to salute us down to the bone.”

While Thais Espaillat, also from Santo Domingo, brings a more humorous perspective, she also gives us a nuanced lyric strangeness. Extraterrestrials, the poet says, “don’t talk to us because we are boring"..."Or maybe they know so much that they don’t even talk anymore...and they show up in some photos... with slobber that awakens a distant volcano. I am sure that extraterrestrials don’t write poetry... They don’t cook on television"

A few pages later, Mara Pastor from Puerto Rico, also begins on a humorous note, but quickly becomes political, addressing a deserted nation:

"If everything continues like this, If everyone leaves now ...the island will be taken over By iguanas And lion fish. They will make a bust of me. It will be easy to be the national poet among bush-chicken iguanas"

PBS Members can read Ilya's full review in our Summer PBS Bulletin and order copies of The Sea Needs No Ornament with 25% off here.

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