Saturday, March 21, 2009

Manuel Rivas

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

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.


Just Another Flâneur said...

When is Jonathan Dunne going to translate some more Enrique Vila-Matas? Two novels just aren't enough to sustain this non-Spanish speaker's hunger for Vila-Matas!!!

Jonathan Dunne said...

There will be a third novel! New Directions have commissioned Anne McLean to translate the next of Vila-Matas' novels, París no se acaba nunca (named after the final chapter of Hemingway's A Moveable Feast: There Is Never Any End to Paris). I imagine it will come out in the next year!

Just Another Flâneur said...

Jonathan, I have one more question to ask of you regarding Vila-Matas and Bartleby & Co. In the novel there is a writer by the name of Clement Cadou who is mentioned, the one who sees himself as a piece of furniture. I have found conflicting information online in a wide variety of languages (and had friends translate for me), but there seems to be no consensus: is he real or not? Any help would be greatly appreciated!