We introduced the idea of a title to this poem (the original is untitled) as a sort of response to the challenge set by Annie McDermott, the guest translator, who when corresponding with the poet had queried its lack of title in the original and been told to make up a new one for it. We felt that the wrong-footing of the image in the title might correspond to how we felt surprised and wrong-footed by the poem.
We were pleased with the final line, which in the Portuguese has a curious play. By modifying the familiar English phrase ‘not half bad’ with ‘even’ we hope to create the unease that the poem as a whole evoked for the group. At once flippant (‘so many nips’; ‘not even half a cat in sight’) and disturbing (‘my shredded / hands’).
Edward Doegar, Commissioning Editor