1. How did you start translating Lara Dopazo Ruibal’s work? What drew you to it?
I started translating claus and the scorpion very soon after I finished reading the book, late 2018. I was fascinated by it. I absolutely had to translate it as a way to keep reading it and to linger in Lara Dopazo Ruibal’s poetry. claus and the scorpion drew me in because of this intimate voice that speaks of the world we live in today, all the violence exerted on people and the internalized violence. It’s beautifully written, heartrending, and thought provoking. Poetry.
2. What are some of the main challenges you’ve encountered translating this work?
I’d say that the decisions to add a verb or even a line or two were exciting. I felt like I had to do this to convey what Dopazo Ruibal’s poetry was doing in Galician. For example, in the poem whose first line is “eu ás veces soño que existe amador” / “sometimes i dream that amador exists,” there’s a line that says: “bato contra as fiestras, contra as portas desta casa” (emphasis mine), I translated the line as “i crash into the windows, smash into the doors of this house” (emphasis mine). I felt that while contra is a word that in part relays the violence of what is happening; into does not. So, I maintained the repetition and added an extra verb. Another example can be found in the poem whose first line is “os insectos existen –quero dicer” / “there are insects–i mean,” I added a line in the translation: For the Galician line “o teito todo é un espello no que claus se mira.” I wrote “the whole ceiling is a mirror / claus looks at himself in that mirror” (emphasis mine). Dopazo Ruibal’s line has the mirror embedded in the repetition of the T and O in teito todo, as well as in the reflexive verb at the end of the line. My choice in the translation was to make the two lines and the repetition highlight the mirror.
3. What are you reading right now?
I’m reading antes que isla volcán / before island is volcano by Raquel Salas Rivera and El origen de las palabras by Damián González Bertolino.
Poesía en acción #25 | from claus and the scropion by Lara Dopazo Ruibal and Translator Laura Cesarco Eglin
Laura Cesarco Eglin is the translator of Of Death. Minimal Odes by Hilda Hilst, (co•im•press, 2018), which won the 2019 Best Translated Book Award in Poetry. She is the co-translator from the Portuñol of Fabián Severo’s Night in the North (Eulalia Books, 2020). claus and the scorpion, Cesarco Eglin’s translation from Galician of Lara Dopazo Ruibal’s poetry collection, is forthcoming from co•im•press in 2022. Her translations from Spanish, Portuguese, Portuñol, and Galician have appeared in a variety of journals, including Asymptote, Timber, Exchanges, Modern Poetry in Translation, Eleven Eleven, the Massachusetts Review, Cordella Magazine, Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, Waxwing Journal, and The Puritan. Cesarco Eglin is the author of six poetry collections, including Time/Tempo: The Idea of Breath (PRESS 254, 2022) and Life, One Not Attached to Conditionals (Thirty West Publishing House, 2020). She is the co-founding editor and publisher of Veliz Books and teaches creative writing at the University of Houston-Downtown. Find out more at lauracesarcoeglin.com.
Poesía en acción is an Action Books blog feature for Latin American and Spanish poetry in translation and the translator micro-interview series. It was created by Katherine M. Hedeen and is currently curated and edited by Olivia Lott with web editing by Paul Cunningham.