As you will see if you read the many poems concerned with writing poetry on our website, they often regard creating poems as a transcendent act. In blatant contradistinction, Victor Cruz’s poem, ‘Note 1’, compares writing poetry to the act of shitting – a position that some readers might find upsetting, even offensive. The paradox of course is that, if this is what Victor truly believes, then why write poetry? Which indicates that matters are not so simple for him.
Serafina Vick, who introduced us to Victor Cruz’s poetry, supplied us with very literal, often word-for-word translations which laid bare the structure of the Spanish originals.
Translating the first two lines was fairly straightforward: we changed ‘poems’ to the more general category of ‘poetry’; and used the colloquial ‘rather like’ to make the comparison. The third line needed some unpicking. Clearly, we needed to change the gendered ‘she’ to ‘it’, but the bigger problem was finding an alternative to ‘absorbs the best of the drunk’, which we changed to ‘the better part of what’s consumed’. Even more tricky was the following line which, after much discussion, became ‘it ejects the faecal matter of what’s felt’.
The rest of the poem fell into place quite quickly. We changed ‘collapse of the sphincters’ to ‘causes sphincters to fail’ and ‘is a man that at the long’ to ‘is a man who ends up’.
Sarah Maguire, Workshop Facilitator