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Take a Bilingual Ride on the Red River / Un viaje poético por el Río rojo

In this case, I am referring to  Red River Reviewan outstanding online poetry journal, which began "way back" in 1999. Current editor is Michelle Hartman, and Bob McRanie serves as Web master. This electronic journal is simply and elegantly organized, and the poetry it publishes represents a fantastic variety of  voices that bring real life to poetry and bring poetry to real life. 

Photo by Ysabel de la Rosa

In the introduction to this month's issue, Michelle writes:
Dylan Thomas defined poetry this way: "Poetry is what makes me laugh or cry or yawn, what makes my toenails twinkle, what makes me want to do this or that or nothing." What happened to poems about sunsets, heart break, or golden leaves spiraling frivolously to the ground? I hear at workshops that these topics are dead, and all that can be said about them has been said. Has it? Isn’t that what poetry is all about, taking something that we observe every day and holding it up to a new light, using new tools of perception and language to show the world it’s not your mother's kind of leaf?

As Michelle also points out in her introduction, this issue even includes a poem about bill collection. While the subject may be one we would all rather run from, Madonna Wilt's poem transforms the emotions that accompany this part of real life into real art--and a beautiful piece of writing.

This month's Red River Review  also includes five of my bilingual poems: 

Art Lesson / Lección de arte
Family Tree / Árbol de familia
Feeling There While Being Here / En el estado de no estar
Stilled / Calmada
There Are Times When / Hay veces cuando 

Bilingual readers will notice that these poems aren't standard translations of each other. A poem may “come” to me first in either language. Whether the versión original is in English or Spanish, working on bilingual poetry is, for me, a dance—sometimes a very difficult one—where there can be much retracing of steps and no small amount of starting over in the effort to make each poem an artistic whole in its own language, yet maintain its vital relationship to its sister poem.

by Ysabel de la Rosa
Speaking of sisters, I'd like to thank some of my "bilingual poetry sisters." First and foremost, thanks to Carmen Castaños, friend, mentor, hermana del alma, and grand master of merengue; to Catherine Andrako for her aesthetic, moral and emotional support; to Araceli Galiano, literary cheerleader, writer, and artist; and to Patricia Melgar, one of the most talented and skilled bilingual translators and editors anywhere in the world. And thanks to Alicia Pérez que tiene un corazón más grande que ella misma


En este caso, me refiero a la excelente revista literaria Red River Review. Empezó a publicarse en el año 1999. Su redactora es la poeta Michelle Hartman y Bob McRanie es el Web master. La revista está organizada de manera sencilla y directa y la poesía que publica representa una maravillosa variedad de voces que introducen la vida real en la poesía y que introducen la poesía en la vida real.  

En la introducción de la edición de noviembre, Michelle escribe:

Dylan Thomas describió la poesía así: "La poesía es lo que me hace reír, llorar o bostezar, lo que hace centellear a mis uñas, lo que me hace querer hacer algo o no querer hacer nada". 

¿Qué pasó a los poemas sobre las puestas del sol, el sufrimiento del corazón, o unas hojas doradas bajándose en espiral al suelo? Me dicen en las conferencias que estos temos están muertos, que todo lo que se puede decir al respecto ya se ha dicho. ¿De verdad? ¿No es verdad que de esto se trata la poesía? ¿Tomar algo que observamos cada día, mirarlo por una nueva luz, utilizar las herramientas de la percepción y del idioma para demostrar al resto del mundo que esta hoja no es la hoja de nadie más, sino que esta hoja es única e irrepetible? 

¡Tiene razón!  Este número del Red River Review incluye un poema sobre un tema demasiado común, lo de las deudas y cómo pagarlas. Aunque el tema no es agradable, el poema escrito por Madonna Wilt transforma las emociones que acompañan esta situación de tal manera que hasta este tema quotidiano se convierte en un ejemplo de escritura realmente bella. 

Este número de Red River Review también incluye cinco poemas míos

Art Lesson / Lección de arte
Family Tree / Árbol de familia
Feeling There While Being Here / En el estado de no estar
Stilled / Calmada
There Are Times When / Hay veces cuando 

Lectores bilingües observarán que estos poemas no son traducciones estándares, el uno al otro. Puede que un poema me "llegue" en inglés o castellano. Sin embargo, tarde o temprano, los poemas se convierten en gemelos (fraternos, no maternos) y para mí, el trabajar con las dos versiones resulta ser una especie de baile--a veces un baile muy difícil de aprender--uno en que tengo que "desandar el andado" y empezar de nuevo muchísimas veces en un esfuerzo para crear de cada poema una unidad artística sin perder su relación vital con su "poema gemelo". 

Hablando de parientes poéticos, quisiera dar las gracias a unas hermanas poéticas mías. A Carmen Castaños, amiga, confidante, mentora, hermana del alma, y maestra del merengue; a Catherine Andrako por su apoyo estético, moral y emocional; a Araceli Galiano, amiga, artista, escritora y animadora; a Patricia Melgar, una de las traductoras y redactoras bilingües más expertas y perspicaces en todo el mundo. Y, finalmente, a Alicia Pérez, que tiene un corazón más grande que ella misma. 


Gnarly Mesquite said…
Beautifully said in two languages.
jan said…
Thank you for sharing your poetry, your soul.
Congratulations, Ysabel! I've sent you an e-mail. (Tried leaving a comment a few minutes ago and couldn't.) You know how much I admire your poems...and you. And when mentioning your poetry Chris always says - Yeah, she's really something. Now there's a compliment! All the best, much love, and enjoy the autumn.
Catherine xx

P.S. I wish we could meet up at the Japanese Gardens in FW. I'm dying to see the maple trees.

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