Three Poems by Benito del Pliego Web Exclusive


By Benito del Pliego
Translated by Forrest Gander


The Horse:
(Augusto Monterroso)

--"They lie who claim they’re free and no one holds their reins.
I’ve heard it said there are unmastered horses, but I think about
their riders.

And the rider, who nails your shoes to your hooves and
saddles you, brings to your flanks the boots that spur him on.”

 

The Spider:

-- "The web is all-encompassing memory and brings everything
to itself, holding it in and trapping it. What grazes the edge also
touches the center.

You repeat your pattern and when you try to vary the template,
you relapse, because none is better than the one that binds you.

Only an acrobat can escape; the acrobat, who risks his life as he
endangers the lives of others."

 

The Fly:

-- "What’s emphasized is virtue and conviction. 'You insist
on your ruin and find your salvation'-- as a poet said.

We accept hunger and cold, but dissatisfaction stabs us
through the heart.

A miserable little world, desire transforms it into glorious
honey: it provokes us and quenches us, and it buries us."


Benito del Pliego has published numerous poetry books, including Fisiones (Madrid, 1997), Alcance de la mano (New Orleans, 1998), and Muesca (Madrid, 2010). He has also written critical pieces about contemporary Spanish exiled writers in the Americas and Latin American poets who migrated to Spain within the last few decades. In collaboration with Andrés Fisher, he has edited José Viñals’ anthology Caballo en el Umbral (Mérida, 2010); they are currently translating to Spanish a selection of Gertrude Stein’s writings. He is an associate professor at the department of foreign languages and literatures at Appalachian State University (in North Carolina). The poems included here are part of an abecedarian.

Forrest Gander is the author of books of poems, translations, and prose, much of it published by New Directions. He has edited several anthologies and translated individual books by Latin American writers. Two of his books of translation have been PEN Translation Award Finalists. A United States Artist Rockefeller fellow, he is also the recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim, Whiting, and Howard foundations. He is a professor of English and comparative literature at Brown University.

Original Text: Benito del Pliego, "El caballo," "La araña," and "La mosca" from Fábula. Badajoz: Aristas Martinez Ediciones, 2012.

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