‘Welcome to Whole Food’
Our literal translator, Serafina Vick, began by telling us a little about Legna Rodriguez Iglesias’ collection, the rather wonderfully titled Miami Century Fox, which this poem comes from – a sequence of sonnets written in response to the disorientating experience of moving from Cuba to Miami for love. We decided to translate this poem first because it really captures that sense of encountering America in all its strangeness. Whole Foods is a very expensive organic supermarket, and this sonnet feels full of ambiguities – both drawn to the shop’s high-end purity and able to see its absurdity. It’s so natural there’s even ‘maggot in cauliflower’ and so holier-than-thou the sweetcorn gives you a halo.
We struggled most over the last sentence, which the literal rendered as ‘Because beauty only will be when immobile guess the answer of the hunger in the writing’. ‘Writing’ felt like a bit of a flat ending, compared to the original ‘escritura’ - after all the ‘r’ rhymes and half-rhymes (Dior, senor, Quinoa tortilla, cauliflower, flavour, cinema, theatre, architecture, hunger) it felt like we needed another one to snap the poem shut, so after much arranging and rearranging of the sense, we went with ‘answer’ to finish.