Sunday, January 29, 2012

Maria Baranda's Ficticia

Published 15 August 2010

Translated by Joshua Edwards Paperback, 80pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £8.95 / $15
ISBN 9781848611238.
Ficticia was first published in Mexico in 2006. The book is a trilogy of long poems: an initial sequence bearing the overall title, a series of 'Letters to Robinson', and a 'Sky Cycle'. While these series are distinct poems, they are all interconnected and intended to amplify each other and make a greater whole. The first sequence has a narrative voice and addresses an unidentified "you"; the second, the Letters, is addressed to Robinson, a witness to the events that unfold; the third returns to the narrative voice:

The sky is in my eyes.
I have fallen silent before the hurricane of its proverbs,
the jaws of thirst rising
from cracks in the mud.
I have fallen silent.
I have fallen silent before the men and children
and women hidden
like raw birds in cloaks of invisibility.
I have felt the shame of being someone
in my own words.
To live in ash inseparable
from filth and extermination,
to accept time covered in mold,
sullen time, time in the throat
that officiates the vertigo
of sacrilege and solitude between its cries.
(Sky Cycle ii)

Download a PDF sampler from this book.

"The most unusual thing about Maria Baranda's dazzling accomplishment as a poet is that her most recent books are her very best ones. She keeps honing one of the most expressive lyricisms in contemporary Mexican poetry. Her complex prosody—the pitch and tempo rising in plangent cadences that break into sharp, percussive counterpoint—are here, in the poignant, sea-haunted book length poem Ficticia, at their best. And Joshua Edwards, a supremely gifted poet himself, brings out the full force of Baranda's music."—Forrest Gander

"María Baranda is one of the finest poets of her generation, those born in the 1960s, her work demonstrates adherence to the Mexican and Hispano-American tradition—that of the long meditative poem, with sinuous syntax and rich diction—with the not so frequent capacity for conceptual synthesis and precision of imagery and metaphor." —José María Espinasa

"María Baranda is today one of our country's necessary poets. During the past twenty years she has been able to start a conversation between recent Mexican lyric poetry and its predecessors: from the great pre-Hispanic poets to the those who in the 1960s changed the course of poetry in Mexico and in Latin America. María Baranda watches and listens. Her poetic speech passes through the senses before becoming language; it is this that gives her verses their spellbinding quality." —Eduardo Hurtado

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Room

The Room

for Maria Baranda

She assented so quickly
to undress you, you hoped
the person you seemed to be

would hold her, and be
loved, and turn to the wall,
blow out, as she requested,

the candle, to darken
all shapes in the room
and those within the window,

her darkness, eyes,
the light she felt then
blindly, it was something

gathered deeply, in you, as
simply your being and hers,
and a wellspring so insistent,

yet of the world apprehensive, when,
while she slept, the wall
paintings approached too near

and spread then
within you, as she
darkened, faded, and

your true life was
benighted, enormous, rare,
bathed in time, and ending

or not ending, when, at that
time, you lost her, being
your right, and that was awful.

She undressed to sleep,
reversed your life,
spared nothing,

it is now forever
all. She knows
it is gone, but you

insisted as you wept
and departed, no
longer empty, that here

by your remaining
when all’s attained,
a darkness comes

of the night rising
and final evenings
in the room.

-Paul Hoover

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