Translation: Five Poems by Laura Liuzzi

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Laura Liuzzi

Laura Liuzzi was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1985. Her first book of poetry, Calcanhar (Heel, 7Letras), was published in 2010. In 2014 she published Desalinho (Disalignment) with Cosac Naify. In June of this year, she released the pamphlet Coisas (Things) with the publisher 7Letras at FLIP, Brazil’s most prestigious literary festival in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro state.

The poems I have translated here are from her two most recent books, except for “lessons”, which, given how contemporary it is, is uncollected.

lessons

it won’t scare us if there’s nothing
left over, on our tables, of
our hairlines, of our certainties.

weeks have gone by now in panic
of going back to what was one day
of going back to what might be one day.

we will die together but we have
the strange capacity to survive
and on we go, worse or better.
death is slow, collective and absurd.

a bus goes by with no known destination
obedient to the yellow stripe on the asphalt.
automatic heads, hands and legs
inside the bus that know, despite of

and perhaps out of stubbornness, how to walk.
we walk over uncertainty’s cold
hard ground. some of us even whistle.

another bus goes by and doesn’t stop
– transport is blind and has no
heart.

two bodies can never touch. between them
there will always be a vacuum – the only lesson
learnt sleeping through chemistry classes.

then a touch, an embrace, a kiss, a scratch?

I grab you, embrace you, kiss you, scratch you.
I run you down with my forwardness.
it’s death, but this about how to survive
and surviving.

(Uncollected)

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Father Tyne: ‘On the Toon’ by Sean O’Brien

By Rob Packer

November by Sean O’Brien

Is there a trend towards epic in contemporary British poetry? Maybe it’s just my taste (or my local library’s, or prize judges’) that some of my favourite recent poetry collections are or include longish poems with clear epic influences: even stranger is that all of them came out this year and last. There’s been ‘Elsewhere’ in David Harsent’s excellent Night; the incomparable Alice Oswald’s reworking of the Iliad in Memorial (and her 2002 Dart); ‘The Fair Chase’ starting John Burnside’s Black Cat Bone (I won’t have time to write more about that collection unfortunately: it’s very good though); Simon Armitage’s adaptation of The Death of King Arthur (I didn’t enjoy this one so much and found it bathetic in parts: if you haven’t read Armitage before—and you should—, start with Kid, Seeing Stars or his Sir Gawain); and ‘On the Toon’ which closes Sean O’Brien’s November.

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