Translator’s Note

Ron Paul Salutsky

I began translating Karen Wild Díaz’s work for Jesse Lee Kercheval’s América Invertida: An Anthology of Emerging Uruguayan Poets, initially attracted to the dynamic shapes of her poetry on the page — they were not just poems to be translated but puzzles to be worked. She’s doubtless the most challenging poet I’ve translated, perhaps the most rewarding. Her apothegm could be the inverse of Williams’s — No things but in ideas — and the revelation is painstaking, but it is sublime to see her world, her philosophy, slowly come into focus. While American poetry obsesses whether poetry matters, Latin American poets write from a place that assumes poetry matters, and in Karen’s case this relevance frees her to world-build and be playful with ideology. When I asked Karen’s poetic influences, her top four were Deleuze, Artuad, dance, and Derrida, and it immediately made sense why her meaning-making dance of language and being is so maddening, and gratifying, to translate.

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