Translator’s Note

Lucian Mattison

Growing up in a bilingual household, translation has always been present in my life. As I grew into poetics, I translated poetry by Neruda, Parra, and Mistral as a hobby and then decided it might be interesting to translate a poet that is my age and currently publishing in South America. This being my first foray into full-length translation, I’ve discovered the most delightful part about translating a whole collection is the close reading you give the text as a result of moving line by line in two languages. Rarely have I been more intimate with the inner mechanics of a collection of poems. Going through the process, I’ve come to realize my approach to translation is to preserve the feeling of the original text by not needlessly adapting idiom and favoring certain syntactical structures more closely associated with the Spanish language than with English. I hope to strike the balance between preserving the feeling of the original language without making the reader stumble.

As a currently publishing poet, I am very interested in the proliferation of work by South American poets in similar stations of their careers, to encourage a more global dialogue between literary cultures. I feel like I am mostly reading poets in translation who have already established themselves as heavy hitters in their respective cultures and continents. I want to contribute to a push toward literary presses and journals being more internationally driven as a means of promoting a more diverse and expansive voice.

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