Despite the fact that we all do it all the time, it’s still considered moral bankruptcy lite to judge a (literal) book by its cover. This is with good reason; we've all seen heinous editions of masterpieces. But I choose to characterize my introduction to Maricela Guerrero’s work as an example of what can happen when a publisher decides to reflect a book’s inner beauty in its exterior design. I had pulled her El sueño de toda célula (Ediciones Antílope) from a shelf in Mexico City simply because it looked pretty, nothing more, and while that may not be the best method for finding great literature, neither do I find it a sin to reflexively pick up a beautiful work of art.
I was immediately taken by Ms. Guerrero’s view of the natural world and reached out to her about translating the book. It was already in good hands with poet/translator Robin Meyers (working title: The Dream of Every Cell), but after checking with Robin, Guerrero generously sent me a few of her new works, part of the series-in-progress, Water Poems. At that point in my still budding translation career, I’d worked exclusively with the deceased, so the prospect of a living author having an opinion on what I’d done with their work brought on a sudden onset anxiety. I quickly found that my worry was for not; Ms. Guerrero has respect enough for the art of translation to give the translator the freedom needed to do the job well.
Assuming I’ve done just that, my hope is that you will read these Water Poems aloud and let them pull you into their punctuation-less currents as they did me. Just be sure to take a deep breath first.
about the author