Sunday, March 30, 2014

Marosa di Giorgio

Marosa di Giorgio is someone I want to focus on today. She lived from 1932 to 2004 and was from Uruguay. She wrote a lot of poetry, including The History of Violetswhich has been translated.

Here's a review that discusses Marosa, another review, another review, a review and another translation of her work. They're great reading. Here's a hugely in depth look at the translation, Spanish construction and musicality of Marosa's work. Here are some more poems. Buy a cheap copy of The History of Violets, and read the digital proofs online for quick reference.

She is an incredible poet, with a very pure style of imagery, like a pared down Neruda. She never makes his mistakes; I love him, but no one's perfect. Her lines are a very pre-modern type of Imagism, but the lack of neo-classical atmosphere doesn't diminish the work at all. Here's a line that I liked:

When I look toward the past, I only see perplexing things: sugar, jasmine, white wine, black wine, [...]

Marosa has amazing balance, and great lyrical descriptions. Another except phrase is: [... it] illuminates them, wraps them in candied paper; [...]

Marosa's work has a sense of the supernatural, a sense of regular, wild nature showing its overlooked beauties. Here's a longer quote that gives you a sense of her from poem XIX:

Above the ground, through the air, in the full moon’s light, like a lily’s stem, bending over incessantly, it adds on hyacinths, lilies, narcissi. The wolves draw back at the sight of it; the lambs get down on their knees, crazy with love and fear. It moves on like an errant candelabra, a bonfire; it flies toward the house, passes the cabinets, the fireplace. With only a glance it burns the apples, illuminates them, wraps them in candied paper. It flings colored stones into the rice; it makes the bread and pears glow. It drives itself into the table like a November yucca branch; it hunts a star, it stuffs itself with candles, pine seeds, bottles. It breaks into the bedroom and spins over my dream, above my wide-open eyes; it floats in the air like a lamp or three-tiered crown of pearls. It is a fish, a coral branch outside the water, each piece of coral full as a bud, a lip. It flies back toward the moon; it scares the horses and owls, who break into flight and instantly stop. It calls to me, who cannot sleep, and together we go off beyond the hills, away from the night workers who tried to mow it down like a hydrangea

Here's another great excerpt from Marosa:

They always had the reddest harvest, sparkling grapes. Sometimes at 
noon, when the sun gets us drunk—otherwise we wouldn’t dare—my mother 
and I walked hand in hand along the paths through the orchard, up to the 
nearly invisible line, up to the monks’ vines. Each vine raised its lantern of 
grapes; each was like a ruby without facets, with a spark inside. They stood 
here and there in their black or red robes, absorbed in contemplation, and 
they seemed to be scrutinizing miniature stamps, great paintings, or else 
meditating intensely on the Saint of those parts. Hearing our approach, one 
turned toward us with a stare like a gold or silver arrow. And we fled, never 
to return, trembling beneath the immense sun.

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