Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dolores Dorantes

"By subjecting English syntactical rigidities to the greater fluidity of Spanish syntax – e.g., “I can give you / agitated the mist / of my breathing” – Hofer is not only faithful to Dorantes’s meticulous deployment of words, but also introduces a necessary defamiliarizing – one could say baroque — note into what remains for Latin Americans an imperial language, compelling monolingual North Americans to read differently and think differently about their language (which, in the end, is what poetry is all about)."

The above quote, from this review, does the best job of explaining why one ought to read the first translation of Dolores Dorantes’s ongoing poetic work “Dolores Dorantes.” I found this book quite by accident—a happy accident, to be sure. The taut, sparse lines are by no means easy to digest. There’s something to admire in a writer who can do so much with so little. Every word, juxtaposed oddly with the next, does its job, though the machinations of this long poem are often unclear. Why read something that makes such demands on the reader? Again I refer you to above quote.

Stick that in your smoke and pipe it.