The new summer/autumn 2004 issue of Circumference - poetry in translation - has a banner across the cover saying EMBARGOED!, and the issue begins with a section called Embargoed! Poetry from Cuba and Iran.In an editorial they say that "In response to OFAC's decision, we announced our plans to dedicate a substantial portion of this issue to the poetry of these (embargoed) nations and their translations." www.circumferencemag.com
The poems include a selection of haiku- like nature poems by Iranian poet Abbas Kiarostami, translated by Farnoosh Fathi:
by the scent
of an unfamiliar flower
the wild gees land
on slashed reeds
a hundred obedient soldiers
enter the barracks
early one moonlit night
a passerby's footprints in snow
out in an errand?
is he coming back?
the same way?
Poet/editor friend Wayne Atherton loaned me issue VI 2002 of Poetry International, from San Diego State University Press. This issue has a special feature on The New Poetry of Cuba, with an introductory essay by Mark Weiss, who also translates a number of the poems included. Mr. Weiss is the editor of The Whole Island/La isla en peso: Six decades of Cuban Poetry, to be published by Junction Press.Here is his translation, from that issue of Poetry International, of a poem byRoberto Fernandez Retamar:
Blessed are the normal
(for Antonia Eiriz)
Blessed are the normal, those rare creatures
who have no crazy mother, drunken father, delinquent child,
nowhere house, unknown disease,
who haven't been burnt by devouring love,
who could live the seventeen faces of the smile and maybe more,
filled with shoes, archangels in hats,
satisfied, fat, handsome,
the rintintins and their followers, the ones who grease the wheels,
the winners, the endlessly desired,
flautists followed by mice,
vendors and their customers,
knights only slightly superhuman,
men dressed in thunder and women in lightning,
the delicate, the prudent, the cunning,
the amiable, the sweet, the edible, the drinkable.
Blessed are the birds, the dung, the stones.
But let those pass who make worlds, dreams,
illusions, symphonies, words that confuse
and construct us, those crazier than their mothers, drunker
than their fathers more delinquent than their children
and more devoured by burning love.
May they descend to their station in hell, and be done with.