Wednesday, 8 May 2013

María Mercedes Carranza: never forgotten

María Mercedes Carranza: never forgotten

She has been rated as one of the foremost figures in mid-twentieth century Colombian literature. Ten years after her death, homage is still being paid to her memory.
“María Mercedes Carranza: Collected poetry & 
19 poems in her memory” 
includes contributions from a number of  poets paying special homage to her.

“Translating El canto de las moscas demanded more than finding the precise terms or expressions. The experience turned into an emotional journey through the painful Colombian reality. Confronting the magnitude of the tragedy described with these moving words is a transforming event, making indifference and oblivion impossible.” ~Margarita Millar

Carranza, a tireless peace activist, believed in the power of poems to heal and change a country which has suffered unspeakable levels of cruelty. In 2001 she wrote: 
“…I want to talk about the power of the word against chaos and horror; there is a need to replace bullets for words … I want to talk about poetry–well–as a weapon to affirm and impose life and love: against death, there is life.”

Bilingual book highlights work of Colombian poet (excerpt)
In a small book of poems, Maria Mercedes Carranza proposes a sad route through 24 cities that have suffered extreme violence in her martyred country: Colombia. We traverse the cities through short, concise poems, written as a tribute to the inhabitants who experienced the violence — between the army, the insurgent groups, the paramilitary and the drug cartels — and which kept Colombia in a downward spiral for nearly half a century.

The force of the poems rings like bells sounded from the center of the destruction, converting into the echo of an unbearable tranquility.

Written in a form similar to the Japanese haiku, but without respect for their structure as far as the space and number of syllables, the poems resonate in the silence like permanent reclamations against the injustice of the indiscriminate violence. The first poem, “Necoclí,” is a full declaration of those intentions when it suggests:
this next instant
late at night or in the morning
in Necoclí
only the song of the flies
will be heard.



Quizás Perhaps
el próximo instante the next instant
de noche tarde o mañana of night afternoon or morning
en Necoclí in Necoclí
se oirá nada más nothing will be heard
el canto de las moscas but the song of the flies.

Political and Toxic Discourse in María Mercedes Carranza’s Latest Poems
/source of poem & translation/
Sofía Kearns

María Mercedes Carranza
 (b. 1945, Bogotá) 
Carlos Jáuregui, bio 2000  [pdf]

El mundo es esto que miro:

la mesa que reúne sobre ella
cosas banales como el mantel y los vasos,
el lomo lechoso de los cerros al amanecer,
una luz que recibe la luz oblicua de la tarde,
la alcachofa que yace deshojada en un plato.

La vida es esto que muere:

una mano alzándose que ya es polvo y raíces,
la palabra que se venga del desamor y la derrota,
el olor de un jabón frotado a los 10 años,
esta tierra herida que contiene huesos y naúfragos.

El cielo y su infierno, odio y amor,
la dicha y la desdicha, el color de la luz,
son el desencuentro de todas esas cosas
que dicta mi oscuro e incierto corazón.
The world is that which I look at:

the table that gathers upon it
banal things such as the tablecloth and the glasses,
the milky back of the mountains at dawn,
a chair that receives the slanted afternoon light,
the artichoke leaves lying on a plate.

Life is that which dies:

a hand raised that is already dust and roots,
the word avenging itself for lack of love and failure,
the smell of a soap rubbed on when ten years old,
this wounded earth with bones and shipwrecked persons.

Heaven and its hell, hatred and love,
happiness and unhappiness, the color of light,
are the missed encounter of all these things
dictated by my dark and uncertain heart.
© María Mercedes Carranza
From: Hola, soledad
Publisher: Editorial Oveja Negra, Bogotá, 1987
ISBN: 958-06-0067-8
© Translation: 2004, Nicolás Suescún

Vainas y otros poemas (A pain in the ass and other poems, 1972) 
Tengo miedo (I am afraid, 1982) 
Carranza por Carranza (An anthology of her father’s poems, 1985) 
Hola, soledad (Hello, loneliness, 1987) 
Maneras del desamor (Ways of love lost, 1993) 
El canto de las moscas ( The song of the flies, 1998)

Websites on Carranza
In Spanish:
The House of Poetry Silva
Essay by Juan Liscano

~Day Four~

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