Diana’s poems have kept me rapt ever since I first encountered them. Their wit and play know no bounds, so my attention as a reader (read: a translator) never wavers. They are poems that demand undivided love. It’s a joy to give it with these, I hope.
Both of these poems are from Caja negra que se llame como a mí, published in 2015 by Bonobos. “Minejoy” is a poem right in the middle of the book. “Honey Box (Example)” is the last poem. They stand out to me for a couple of reasons: one of them has a strict and known form, and the other is on the prosier side of things and is a lot shorter than the others.
“Honey Box (Example)” was so wonderful to translate in part because the letter words chosen by Diana are what might happen if you smashed the rest of the book to the ground and all the words fell out in a big pile, and you just picked through and grabbed the ones that are the most interesting/important and recur most often. It’s a kind of lexical scrapbook of the rest of the book, which is perfect, because the poem almost reads like a set of definitions! That are anything but definite! And appear at the end of the book. A glossary of terms, if you will.
“Minejoy” is crafted so tightly that it almost translates itself. I made some decisions, but they’re obvious ones, because Diana has left signposts all over the original to indicate what impressions it should leave. It’s also one of the poems in the book with the most straightforward emotional landscape. It’s a good place to dip your toe in the ocean.
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