Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Alejandra Pizarnik

Addendum: I've been getting lots of hits from people google searching Alejandra Pizarnik in English. As a public service I'm adding a couple of relevant links. (Even though it's a blog, you may find my posting very educational, as well.)

Some English translations of Pizarnik's work by Talia Shalev.

Some info on La Pizarnik from Princeton. (Prepared by Karla Vecchia.)

Guerilla Girls Bio page with other links.

Argentine writer and fellow Taurus Rat, Alejandra Pizarnik was a well-known poet in Latin America, but few have heard of her in the U.S. Her work was very dense, complicated and sad --often exploring themes of isolation, possibly because of the multiple ways in which she was considered an "outsider". She was the daughter of German immigrants and a Jew in Catholic Argentina. She was an out lesbian in a traditionally macho culture. She also suffered from schizophrenia and I believe that some of her poetic explorations eloquently give voice to "the voices"; although the textbook in which I first encountered her admonished us not to think of her schizophrenia when reading her work. I disagree. I think the voices associated with schizophrenia were part of her life experience and she incorporated them into her art. I also think Extracción de la Piedra la Locura (The Extraction of the Stone of Madness -- nice Bosch reference) should be required reading for psychiatric residents intending to treat anyone experiencing the voices.

I can never find English translations of her work. I would very much like a grant to spend a couple years translating Pizarnik into English, so if anyone out there in internet land is handing out literary grants -- drop me a line. Thanks.

The following is from EdlPlL

La que murió de su vestido azul está cantando. Canta imbuida de muerte al sol de su ebriedad. Adentro de su canción hay un vestido azul, hay un caballo blanco, hay un corazón verde tatuado con los ecos de los latidos de su corazón muerto. Expuesta a todas las perdiciones, ella canta junto a una niña extraviada que es ella: su amuleto de la buena suerte. Y a pesar de la niebla verde en los labios y del frío gris en los ojos, su voz corroe la distancia que se abre entre la sed y la mano que busca el vaso. Ella canta.

En inglés:

She who died by her blue dress is singing. Imbued with death, she sings to the sun of her intoxication. Within her song there is a blue dress, there is a white horse, there is a green heart tattooed with the echoes of the beats of her dead heart. Exposed to all perdition, she sings together with the wild little girl who is she: her good luck charm. And despite the green fog on her lips and the cold grey in her eyes, her voice corrodes the distance that opens between the thirst and the hand that searches for the glass. She sings.

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