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Built on Longing: Writing from Galicia

March 2021

Image of Galician Grandmother Lifting Barbells with Milk Barrels on Each End by Galician artist...

Image: Joseba Muruzábal, Leiterofilia II. Oil on canvas. By arrangement with the artist.

In our March 2021 issue, we publish writing from Galicia, a region sandwiched between Portugal and Spain but with a literary culture independent of both. Guest editors Jacob Rogers and Scott Shanahan bring us a selection of poetry and prose that explores estrangement and loss: origin stories deprived of romance and soaked with the stink of canneries; youthful penchants for the scatalogical; friendships exhausted; the unexpected architecture of the natural world; and interspecies relationships of the most absurd sort. With work from Alba Cid, Álvaro Cunqueiro, Antón Lopo, Emma Pedreira, Luisa Castro, Samuel Solleiro, Susana Sanches Arins, and Xurxo Borrazás.


Words Without Borders would like to thank the Xunta de Galicia’s Secretaría de Política Lingüística and Xacobeo 2021 for their support of this issue.

Writing Against Estrangement in Galicia
By Scott Shanahan
No doubt a few Galicians will think it in very bad taste to inaugurate this issue with a likeness to their higher profile southern neighbors, but because there may be a great many glad for the comparison,…
Essays, or the Opening and Closing of the Okra Flowers During the Eclipse
By Alba Cid
The work of German photographer Karl Blossfeldt and his relationship to plants is reimagined in this poem by 2019 Poems in Translation Contest winner Alba Cid from her collection Atlas.Light is choral…
Translated from Galician by Megan Berkobien & Jacob Rogers
And They Say
By Susana Sanches Arins
i come from a family built on longing.
Translated from Galician by Kathleen March
By Emma Pedreira
Even though I hate her, my mother probably wrote me letters that she never sent.
Translated from Galician by Kathleen March
[My mother works in a cannery]
By Luisa Castro
Love is a work of art in a can.
Translated from Galician by Laura Cesarco Eglin
Alberte Merlo’s Horse
By Álvaro Cunqueiro
So began many long months of conversation between Alberte and his horse.
Translated from Galician by Scott Shanahan
This, I Don’t Know
By Samuel Solleiro
These are the years directly preceding the onset of vulnerability.
Translated from Galician by Neil Anderson
By Antón Lopo
I suspect something in Kinue / reminds him of his own life.
Translated from Galician by Erín Moure
Of Children and Sphincters
By Xurxo Borrazás
“I don’t know where to start.”
Translated from Galician by Adrian Minckley & Jacob Rogers