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About Rhymes (Bal­tasar de Alcázar)

alcazarThis is a little-​known, funny poem by Bal­tasar de Alcázar (15301606) about the dan­ger of rhyming. If any­one else has trans­lated the poem before me, or even taken much notice of it in Span­ish, I have yet to dis­cover evi­dence on the Inter­net. Of course, it was even more essen­tial than usual that the trans­la­tion be a rhyming one, given that rhyme itself is the sub­ject of the poem. My thanks to Bill Thomp­son for pub­lish­ing this in the Alabama Lit­er­ary Review (2012).

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Human Rhymes (Lope de Vega)

lope1

Called by Cer­vantes “the prodigy of nature,” Lope de Vega (15621635) wrote over 1,800 plays as well as count­less hun­dreds of poems. The poem trans­lated here, “Human Rhymes,” speaks of the two-​edged sword of love, which Vega expe­ri­enced first-​hand as his pas­sions and affairs some­times landed him in jail, some­times in exile, and some­times gave him peri­ods of peace and con­tent­ment. This trans­la­tion was a final­ist in the Barn­stone Trans­la­tion com­pe­ti­tion and was pub­lished in the Evans­ville Review.

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Proverbs and Songs (Anto­nio Machado)

machadoThis is a trans­la­tion of the first sec­tion of Anto­nio Machado’s “Proverbs and Songs.” The trans­la­tion pre­vi­ously appeared in the Alabama Lit­er­ary Review.

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Last Night as I Lay Sleep­ing (Anto­nio Machado)

machadoHere is a trans­la­tion of a poem by Anto­nio Machado, “Anoche cuando dor­mía.” The trans­la­tion orig­i­nally appeared in First Things.

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I Look for Life in Death (Miguel de Cervantes)

cervantesAlthough it may seem quixotic to trans­late a poem by Miguel de Cer­vantes, I couldn’t resist tilt­ing at wind­mills for this short lyric, “I Look for Life in Death.” The trans­la­tion pre­vi­ously appeared in Leviathan Quar­terly.

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To Christ on the Cross (Miguel de Guevara)

christ“To Christ on the Cross” is one of the most famous poems in Span­ish lit­er­a­ture. Long attrib­uted to Saint Teresa, it is now thought to be the work of an obscure cleric, Fray Miguel de Gue­vara, who died in 1646. The pic­ture to the left is by El Greco. The trans­la­tion was orig­i­nally pub­lished in First Things.

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Blind Man (Jorge Luis Borges)

jorge-luis-borgesThis is a son­net by the great Argen­tin­ian writer, Jorge Luis Borges, on the sub­ject of his blind­ness. The trans­la­tion was first pub­lished in the Alabama Lit­er­ary Review.

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Fated (Rubén Darío)

Ruben Dario headshotHere is a trans­la­tion of a poem by the great Nicaraguan poet, Rubén Darío, enti­tled “Lo fatal.” The trans­la­tion orig­i­nally appeared in String Poet.

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His Man­ner of Liv­ing in Old Age (Bal­tasar de Alcázar)

alcazarThis poem, about life in an old age home, dis­plays Bal­tasar de Alcázar’s (15301606) char­ac­ter­is­tic obses­sion with food and drink, along with his humor, but ends on a more poignant note. It is called “Su modo de vivir en la vejez,” or “His Man­ner of Liv­ing in Old Age.” The trans­la­tion orig­i­nally appeared in Redac­tions.

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Autumn Day (Rainer Marie Rilke)

Rainer Marie RilkeLord, it’s time. Great sum­mer now must yield.
Cast your shade across the gnomon’s shade
and loose your winds across the dark­ened field.

The trans­la­tion orig­i­nally appeared in String Poet.

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Three Things (Bal­tasar de Alcázar)

alcazarBal­tasar de Alcázar (15301606) is one of the few poets of his day who con­sis­tently allowed him­self to be funny. He is some­times called the “gas­tro­nomic poet” because he often wrote about food and drink. Here is my trans­la­tion of his most famous poem, “Tres Cosas” (Three Things). The trans­la­tion was orig­i­nally pub­lished in the Rain­town Review.

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Night (Gabriela Mistral)

mistral Gabriela Mis­tral (18891957) was a Chilean poet, diplo­mat and edu­ca­tor. She won the Nobel Prize in 1945, the only Latin Amer­i­can woman to have done so. She wrote fre­quently about chil­dren and par­ent­hood, although she had no chil­dren of her own. Her work includes many lul­la­bies, of which this trans­la­tion is one. The trans­la­tion orig­i­nally appeared in String Poet.

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