Tina Escaja, "Free Fall/Caida libre" (Fomite Press, 2015)


Tina Escaja's, Free Fall/Caida libre, translated by Mark Eisner (Fomite Press, 2015), is an exceptional example of poetry in translation as artistic collaboration. Poetry exists outside of the margins, and this often creates an insurmountable task for those seeking to relay emotion, realization, and epiphany across language barriers. The nuances and inflections of colloquialism and historical, cultural understandings can be lost. We, as readers of translation often wonder, what is kept of the music and what is kept of the intent? Translations can only bring us to the precipice--language allows us to take the plunge. We must trust our translators to be lovers of verse. Escaja works in an experimental form that is most likened to the cycle inherent in life, death, and rebirth. Even throughout the lines and stanzas, there is a stopping and starting again, a dropping off and returning. Recuperarnos quiero. Aprender a nacerme de otra en ti. Sin vuelta posible. Sin colchon salvavidas, sin suturas. Caidalibre. I want to recover us. To learn to be born of another in you. Impossible to turn back. No life vests, no sutures. Free fall. Beyond translating language, Eisner has taken on the task of translating experience. This is unabashedly a feminist text and a challenge that Eisner understood better as an opportunity. The least likely combination of writer/translator is a woman writer and a male translator (http://womenintranslation.tumblr.com/). These two have also collected, translated, edited, and complied (with the help of other talented folks) an anthology of Latin American Poetry of Resistance, furthering this work of artistic collaboration while focusing on social justice. Find out more information about these writers and projects at www.RedPoppy.net To the poet about to be translated, Escaja offers, "You must be open, patient, and generous." To the translator about to embark on their first project, Eisner offers, "Think of it as an art and embrace it as a creative challenge." Listen here for Tina's readings of her pieces in their native tongue, and Mark's reading of his translations.

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