Reading Fellow Poets

I have spent the morning rereading two poetry chapbooks. There is so much to learn from one's peers. Andalucia by Lisa Marie Basile is such an exquisite book made of the same stuff as fire is made of. An incandescent gem that really makes me hold my breath at times: "To etch the entire Iberian Peninsula into my skin,/the bouganvillas, the little bloody tapas:/finger tips and femurs and cracked mirrors. To live/ on the seaside with gluttony and lust as lovers./To wear myself like a cloak with a human head and/ jaguar spine. To sail forever never finding land."  This chapbook is a marvelous journey in a foreign land and into the inner world of the poet. Lisa knows how to chisel words and have them convey pure emotion. I want to read more of her works, soon.

Paulina Spiechowicz was born in Krakov (Poland), but has lived and studied in Italy and now in Paris. She writes in Italian and has a great command of the language. Her writing is mesmerizing and dense. Her book Studi sulla notte (Night Studies) published last year is a well worth journey into the night's world. I heartily recommend this book to all who read Italian. Its beauty will astonish you and possibly you will even hope to become insomniac, if the prize is being able to write like her. I am honored she wishes me to edit some of the poems she is working on. What follows is my translation of her poem "Api parte seconda, d'après Sylvia Plath":

Bees part 2, d'après Sylvia Plath

Bees, murmur at night,
waiting for Caesar's dream
to become prophecy
(the act of silence
to become biblical)

Sealed in many boxes
are the bees now,
blind wanderers
from right to left
from left to right
fertile with buzz,
telling our own lunacy.


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