Gemma Gorga: Translated by Sharon Dolin

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BIO

Gemma Gorga was born in Barcelona in 1968. She has a Ph.D. in Philology from the University of Barcelona, where she is Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Spanish Literature. She has published six collections of poetry. The prose poems are from Llibre dels minuts (Book of Minutes, Barcelona, 2006), which won the Premi Miquel de Palol (2006) and appeared in a Catalan-Spanish bilingual edition, Libro de los minutos y otros poemas, (Book of Minutes and Other Poems, Valencia, 2009, translated by V. Berenguer).

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BIO

Sharon Dolin is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently: Manual for Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016), Whirlwind (Pittsburgh, 2012), and Burn and Dodge (Pittsburgh, 2008), which received the AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. Her ekphrastic collection, Serious Pink was reissued in 2015 by Marsh Hawk Press. She directs the Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition as well as the international workshop Writing About Art in Barcelona: http://www.sharondolin.com/barcelona-workshops/

 

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Chamber, Castle, Shell or Thimble

Cambra, castell, conquilla o didal: trobar, amb el temps, un espai propi on viure; un espai, posem per cas, que tingui la mida exacta de la llum —ni més gran, que hi cabrien les ombres, ni més petit, que no hi cabria el pa—. I aleshores empènyer la porta amb suavitat, i acomodar la veu a l’alçada del sostre, i despullar-se fins a l’arrel última del vestit, i aprendre a somriure de finestra a finestra, com si l’alegria es dilatés amb l’escalfor groga del sol. I després, en un ritual necessari, empassar-se la clau per pura gratitud.

Chamber, castle, shell or thimble: to find, eventually, your own space in which to live; a space, let’s say, that has the exact dimensions as light—neither too big, since then shadows would fit inside, nor too small, since then a piece of bread wouldn’t fit inside. Then, to push open the door gently, and allow your voice to reach the height of the ceiling, and to undress down to the last shred of clothing, and learn to smile from window to window, as if joy expands with the sun’s yellow warmth. Afterwards, in a required ritual, to swallow the key out of pure gratitude.

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Dressed In the Color Saffron

El monjo, vestit de color safrà, colpeja la vora del bol amb la maça de fusta. I l’aire es torna elàstic per millor acollir la ressonància expansiva del metall. Una, dues, tres vegades. Després, pren cura del so, el prolonga, l’alimenta amb el seu propi silenci. Fins que les ones concèntriques agiten les parets opalines de l’ànima, bells cortinatges rere els quals s’oculta la ciutat prohibida d’ell mateix.

Dressed in the color saffron, the monk strikes the edge of the bowl with the wooden mallet. And the air becomes elastic to allow for the expansive resonance of metal. Once, twice, three times. Afterwards, he takes care of the sound, prolongs it, nourishes it with his own silence. Until the concentric waves stir up the opalescent walls of the soul, beautiful curtains behind which lies hidden the forbidden city of himself.

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Happiness Resembles a Monosyllable

La felicitat s’assembla a un monosíl·lab. Per la seva senzillesa estructural. També, per la brevetat amb què ens visita la boca.

Happiness resembles a monosyllable. Due to its structural simplicity. Also, due to the brevity with which it visits our mouth.

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I Arrange the Pieces of My Skeleton

Endreço les peces del meu esquelet, com si fossin les vint-i-vuit fitxes del dòmino. No sempre és fàcil encaixar foscor amb foscor, claror amb claror, encertar la juntura exacta que ha de sostenir el pes feixuc de la identitat. Nit rere nit, hi torno. Fins que la matinada em col·loca damunt la pell el doble blanc de la llum i puc tancar la partida.

I arrange the pieces of my skeleton, as if they were the twenty-eight domino tiles. It’s not always easy to fit dark with dark, light with light, finding the exact joint that has to withstand the burden of identity. Night after night, I return. Until dawn places the double-white of light on my skin and I can quit the game.

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The Mouth is Small

La boca és petita per a segons quina paraula. El silenci, en canvi, és immens com un vell casalot familiar: tot hi cap, i tot s’hi perd.

The mouth is small, depending upon the word. Silence, however, is immense, like a big old, rambling family house: within it everything fits, and everything is lost.

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2 Comments:

  1. Pingback: Sharon Dolin Wins a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant – Sharon Dolin

  2. Beautiful. Thanks, Sharon. Next year in Barcelona!

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