Translation: Versions of Guilherme Gontijo Flores’s Troiades

PAB_Palmyre_Tombeaux_aeriens

Tombs of Palmyra, Syria, 1935 by Pierre Antoine Berrurier (Source: Wikicommons)

Guilherme Gontijo Flores is a Brazilian poet, translator and editor, born in Brasília in 1984. He has published brasa enganosa (false blaze, 2013) and translated, among others, Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) and Roman poet Sextus Propertius. Guilherme Gontijo Flores lives in the outskirts of Curitiba with his wife and two children, in a farmhouse that he himself designed.

His Troiades project (2014) is “a collage between voices of the defeated” that cuts, freely translates, reworks and rearranges texts from three ancient tragedies: Euripides’ Hecuba [referenced as H below] and Trojan Women [T] and Seneca’s Trojan Women [S]. The texts are then juxtaposed with public domain photos and—in the online version—music. The full project is available in Portuguese and, now, English version online at www.troiades.com.br and a selection on the Berlin-based Cabaret Wittgenstein.

The versions here are alternatives—remixes of remixes to accompany the director’s cut, as it were—that I’ve been working with Guilherme on over the past few months.

Sapiens

As an embedded reporter, it’s better
to have no compassion
to always get the story that sells
not me

Death so close
sees through the greatest words

[T 786. S 575]


Terror/Tremor

Shaking shaking
legs
Spread this trail of blood
to the grim
last days of life

[T 1330]


The good soldier        

At least I saved you the ordeal
of wading across the scamander
I had to hose down the body
clean the wounds

I’ve orders to dig his grave
give me a hand and we’re done
nothing more for us here
troop ship heads home soon

[T 1155]


Terror/Tremor

Get up you son of a bitch
head up
neck off the ground
Your kingdom and queen are toast
Don’t try your luck
swimming against the tide

[T 98]


Puerilia

No regulation spares the enemy combatant
or reduces his sentence

and now you tell us the holocaust of virgins
is a crime against humanity?

[S 333, 331]


The most beautiful thing

Why call to the gods
if they never heard
when they were called?
Let us run to the fire
because today the most beautiful thing
is to die in our burning homeland

The tarred sun over the ashen sky
and the flame does not restrain
the greed in the victors’ hands

Go on your crippled feet
if you can
to salute
your ruined city

[T 1280, 1275. S 17]


Poems by Guilherme Gontijo Flores, versioned by Rob Packer. Originally published online at troiades.com.br and in booklet and postcard form by Editora Patuá (2015).

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Guilherme Gontijo Flores

 

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