We have a guest this week! Author, poet, musician, Western Washington University Spanish professor, and host of the monthly Village Books Open Mic Sean Dwyer joins the club today.
Under the microscope are two poems; W.S. Merwin’s Spanish/English translation of Pablo Neruda’s (b.1904-d.1973) “Poema 20” vs. Sean’s translation. Open up the document (attached) and follow along as Sean takes us line by line, explaining the difference between native and dictionary translation, the importance of cultural understanding, the effort to keep the original rhyming scheme, and more.
We packed the presentation and Q/A into one show
Start – 43:00 minutes is a line by line exploration
43:00 – 48:00 Sean reads his translation in Spanish
48:00 – 1:20:00 Group Questions and Answer
1:20:00 – We close with Pablo himself reading the original “Poem 20”
-Thank you Sean for joining us today. It was a delight!
Figure out how I fit in your world as I discover the shape of your heart push me into your foreign form as the chalk line
between us dulls
Memory foam bed faces north in your cold unfinished basement headboard is bare drywall with taped-over nails primer and mud a forgotten chore for another day painted white bricks lined up like soldiers floor to ceiling gray soot stains define few edges
This is our nest our place to incubate
When you touch me it is a fast movement under a silk sheet sparking a mighty lightning storm hair stands on end in anticipation of where your fingers might go legs gently look for arousal as we twist together like snakes
You are a storm you are the ocean pounding at a rocky shore don’t stop until I am sand
Encore performance! Poet Shannon Laws hosts a Honeymoon poetry OPEN MIC followed by her “You Love Me, You Love Me Not” beat poetry program accompanied by stand up bassist, Greg Sherman. Shannon’s fresh sense of humor and quietly erotic poetry highlights the joys and aggravations of mid-life singlehood in this collection of love and love maybe poems. Sure to make you go “LOL” and “OOoooOoo”, a fun night for all.
If you missed her debut performance of the set in February you got another chance to catch this unique poetry presentation. Books will be on hand to purchase.
“Shannon Laws’ poems are ventures, many journeys of the mind and imagination… They also probe the mysteries of the human condition, posing elemental issues: love and death and loss, the aching solitariness of human experience, the straining for meaning, clarity and confirmation, the yearning for contact and connection, and the guises humans adopt in the consequent interchange.”
—Ron Leatherbarrow, Professor of Literature, Whatcom Community College
I cannot sleep
next to you
The porch light
on the other side
of the curtains
tricks me awake
You look frozen on a canvas,
painted in oils by a master,
shadows lightly brush your shape
I study the back of your head
your ear lobe
a quiet beating vein
the hairline along the neck
There’s a frame of freckles
below the shoulder blade
They look like Orion poised
with bow, arrow aimed upward
I am not your Merope taken by blind force
I am Andromeda, wrists wrapped in iron
ready for monsters to decide loves fate
Gods visit the sheets of women
a vacation from eternity
Taste the finite in the kiss,
wipe their mouths with times mist
I will lose you as I lost others
Tonight your constellation glows in porch light,
while I dream of everything I cannot have
Merope [mer-uh-pee] was the daughter of Dionysus’s son Oenopion, king of Chios; Orion fell in love with her, and Oenopion refused to give her up, instead having him blinded. Orion regained his sight and sought vengeance, but was killed by Artemis, or by a scorpion, or by some other means (one of many versions of the story).