21 April 2011

"True Poets Don’t Belong to Any Country: Ilan Stavans on Latin American Poetry"

In your introduction [to The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry] you coin the term “Menardismo,” after Pierre Menard, which followed the Modernismo movement that launched twentieth-century Latin American poetry. What does it mean?

The act, and art, of pretending to be part of a tradition, and by pretending, finding, finding a place in it. Menard is more Cervantian than Cervantes.

Modern Latin America is an invention: a confluence of cultures, a juxtaposition of disparate realties. I wanted the volume to reflect that contradiction. That’s why I asked the publisher to use the back-cover not for show-biz blurbs but for a single, mind-changing quote by Roberto Bolaño: “True poets don’t belong to any country.” In other words, all these Latin American poems are really not Latin American—they are universal. Bolaño continues: “For them the only borders that ought to be respected are the borders of dreams. The trembling borders of love and lovelessness, the borders of courage and fear, the golden borders of morality.”

–Ilan Stavans interviewed by David Shook for Molossus, about Stavans's latest anthology.

Presumably, Bolaño's poems figure in the book.

Stavans is also translating the complete odes of Pablo Neruda and he has just finished The Plain in Flames, a translation of Juan Rulfo's El llano en llamas.


(Flowers of Chile)

No comments:

Post a Comment