Thursday May 23

Alexis-Levitin Alexis Levitin’s 25th book of translations, Astrid Cabral’s Cage, was published by Host Publications last summer. Earlier books include Clarice Lispector’s Soulstorm and Eugenio de Andrade’s Forbidden Words (both from New Directions). His translations have appeared in over two hundred magazines, including Kenyon Review, New England Review, Partisan Review, New Letters, and American Poetry Review, and Dirty Goat. His co-translation of Ecuadorian poetry, Tapestry of the Sun, came out in July, 2009, from Coimbra Editions of the California Institute of Arts and Letters. His anthology of A Traveler’s Literary Companion to Brazil will be published by Whereabouts Press before Christmas.
  Salgado-Marranhao Salgado Maranhão won Brazil’s prestigious Prêmio Jabuti in 1999 for his book Mural of the Winds. His most recent volume is The Tiger’s Fur. His collected poems will be appearing later this year. In addition to six books of poetry, he has written song lyrics and made recordings with some of Brazil’s leading jazz and pop musicians. His translations of poems drawn from his recent collection Bloody Sun, have appeared, so far, in BOMB, Dirty Goat, 4th River, Left Curve, Measure, Osiris, Per Contra, Pleiades, Subtropics, Words Without Borders, and Xavier Review.



Poetry by Salgado Maranhão, translation by Alexis Levitin



Tons de íris lago furta-cor
de labareda sem o fogo

vero. A face plana e muda
mármore, inunda o que desnuda.

E do poder que serve ao extremo
de nos vender o que já temos,

reina o espectro volátil
das águas, que da pedra tátil

deságua. E a imagem em seu sê-lo
a tornar-se asas do espelho

que frio se acasala sem cio:
uma rima para silêncio.


Das estrias que a mão
             só o que brilha

Nômade a manhã
despe o sol
                   à flor
da carne,

à vertigem da linguagem.

Não há comportas
nem caminhos

não há saaras
nem vienas

em tudo há rinhas
e arestas
de flores
              e esquifes.

Em tudo entalha-se
ao revés
              coisas que se mostram
e não se dão,

que só no verso vêem-se,
no peeling pelo avesso.

(Delitos que em seu exílio
transbordam de rubro
                                   a lira,
resenham através do júbilo,
rasuram através da ira.)

Sopra revanche de ritmos
no íntimo viés do não dito,

sopra o arbítrio dos dias

Of the Mirror

Lake-iris iridescent hue
of flames that flicker without true
fire. Its surface smooth, serene, fair,
a marble face that floods what it strips bare.

The power, too, to sell or loan
us what already is our own.

Solid stone, it serves as host
to a governing shadow, a watery ghost.

That liquid image, though it flees,
wings the mirror with utter ease

to an icy coupling, devoid of heat --
a silent mating without meat.

Of Will

Of the scratches sculpted
by a hand
            only those that glow

A nomad, morning
strips bare the sun
                             on the surface
of the flesh,

in the giddiness of language.

There are no floodgates
No paths prepared 

No Saharas
or Viennas

In everything a battle
with flowers
            and coffins.

In everything a carving
on the other side
                           of things that show themselves
but don’t surrender,

that only in a verse are seen,
in the peeling of the underside.

(Offenses that in exile
drown the lyre
                        crimson red,
record through jubilation,
erase through rage.)

The breath of rhythm’s second chance,
the intimacy of unvoiced ways,

the breath of will, the breath of days.