Anyone who enjoyed the Galician writer Manuel Rivas’ poetry in Absinthe 8, or has read one of his novels, The Carpenter’s Pencil and In the Wilderness, or the recent edition of his short stories Vermeer’s Milkmaid & Other Stories, published in the States by Overlook Press, might like to know that the Sofia-based Small Stations Press has just brought out an anthology of eighty poems, From Unknown to Unknown, selected and translated into English by Jonathan Dunne.
The anthology has a condensed and extremely poetic introduction by the Scottish writer John Burnside, author of The Asylum Dance and Glister, which is available to read on the publisher’s website.
Since I am that translator, I should like to include here my favourite poem from the anthology, which always makes me smile…
The Last Judgement
Riseth ye up that ben ded, and cometh to the jugement Chaucer
And so God will send the angels to separate the good from the bad. And they will put some to one side with Saint Abel, the martyrs and the beggar Lazarus. The others with Cain, the blustering tyrant and the rich glutton. On the right Peter and on the left Judas the infamous. Till when? the damned will ask. And the Lord will clear his throat with a glass of water: For ever and to the end. And when everything’s over, we’ll arrive, the latecomers, a Soneira cart moaning in the now deserted valley of Jehoshaphat.