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María Elena Blanco's new bilingual poetry anthology

An alchemist of words deserves a review that diverges from the norm.

In her foreword to this bilingual Spanish-English anthology that spans twenty years of her work, María Elena Blanco, who was born in Cuba and grew up in the USA, describes the alchemical process of nigredo, blackness, which she has drawn upon as a propitiatory ritual.

From the text of her 2001 collection of poetry, Alquímica memoria, she selected random words, which she then made into a calligram.

I could not resist the urge to do something similar, even though my favorite poem, "Felix Austria," was unfortunately not represented in the 12 random lines I selected.

Try it yourself after reading the anthology. Or follow the traces of the mythological paths that Blanco suggests, dive into the MediterraneanDanube, and inspire your alchemical memory, which has picked up the trail of un(re)countable love.


Nature likes to step back Die Natur tritt gern einen Schritt zurück


(In a) boundless Havanna night

(In einer) endlosen Nacht in Havanna

one by one appear

erscheinen nacheinander

fingers that poke and print

Finger, die herumstöbern und einen Zufall

a chance countered by angry gods

aufzeichnen, dem zornige Götter entgegenwirken

unchaining a revolution

dabei eine Revolution entfachen

a milky way

eine Milchstraße

to be the serpentine eye of the storm

die das Schlangenauge des Sturms ist

gaudy nightbird

ein schriller Nachtvogel

having grown wings

dem Flügel wuchsen

of her intransitive search:

während seiner intransitiven Suche:

my reply is porous.

meine Antwort ist durchlässig.

María Elena Blanco, Havanity. Habanidad. Poetry anthology / Antología poética 1988 - 2008. Ediciones Baquiana, Miami, Florida, 2010. ISBN 0-9823917-7-3


Ttranslated from German by Nathan Horowitz

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