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Spain's Great Untranslated

March 2013

Frederic Amat, "Las Mil y una Noches nº30" (detail) © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VEGAP, Madrid.

This month we present poetry and prose by twelve Spanish masters whose dazzling work has been unavailable to the English-language world. Exploring scenes ranging from the devastating Madrid subway bombing to the idyllic coastline of Greece, in rhapsodic poetry and anguished prose, these writers provide new insight into Spanish literature today. Read Fernando Aramburu, Cristina Fernández Cubas, Miquel de Palol, Ignacio Martínez de Pisón, Antonio Gamoneda, Pere Gimferrer, Berta Vias Mahou, César Antonio Molina, Juan Antonio Masoliver Ródenas, Olvido Garcia Valdés, Pedro Zarraluki, and Juan Eduardo Zúñiga, and discover the breadth and depth of contemporary Spanish writing. This issue is part of the SPAIN arts & culture program and was made possible thanks to a charitable contribution from the Spain-USA Foundation. We thank the Foundation for its generous support, and our guest editors, Javier Aparicio, Aurelio Major, and Mercedes Monmany, for their excellent work in selecting the authors and pieces presented here.


Mangled Flesh
By Fernando Aramburu
The explosion had sent me flying through the air.
Translated from Spanish by Valerie Miles
from “Rhapsody”
By Pere Gimferrer
We are zigzagging on the road / like the plot unravels in Buñuel
Translated from Spanish by Willis Barnstone
The Baghdad Clock
By Cristina Fernández Cubas
“It’s the spirits, girl, it’s the spirits.”
Translated from Spanish by Lucy Greaves
from “Rage”
By Antonio Gamoneda
It’s going to dawn over the prisons and tombs.
Translated from Spanish by Forrest Gander
The Last Day on Earth
By Juan Eduardo Zúñiga
The murmuring on the far side of the barrio was neverending as the heavy machinery demolished homes.
Translated from Spanish by Thomas Bunstead
Social Skills
By Ignacio Martínez de Pisón
The dog, as if she knew they were talking about her, opened her eyes and looked at her owner, who choked back a sob.
Translated from Spanish by Anne McLean
They Destroyed Our Radios and Televisions
By Juan Antonio Masoliver Ródenas
We could only / love dead women.
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
The Devil Lives in Lisbon
By Berta Vias Mahou
I don’t know where Mother would go off to. I’m not sure.
Translated from Spanish by Daniel Hahn
Don’t Do It
By Pedro Zarraluki
“Now let’s get down to us,” she said, lowering her voice to a purr.
Translated from Spanish by Mara Faye Lethem
What Do You Expect, Heart?
By Olvido García Valdés
Only something that continues to hurt stays in the memory.
Translated from Spanish by Catherine Hammond
Under the Sign of Anaximander
By Miquel de Palol
He stabbed him forty-eight times, all over his body, methodical, thorough, conscientious.
Translated from Catalan by Martha Tennent
Crossing Bridges
By César Antonio Molina
I cross bridges just as I leave dreams in hotels.
Translated from Spanish by Francisco Macías
Bitter Lemons
By César Antonio Molina
Everything went well until we got to Corfu.
Translated from Spanish by Francisco Macías