Date and Time
Sep 17, 2023 5:00 pm
Did you know about the Cheuse Center's Busboys and Poets Lecture? Our annual lecture of ideas is delivered by an international literary figure. By producing joint, free programming, Busboys and Poets and the Cheuse Center aim to bring audiences events that impact community, conversation and curiosity across the region.
Delicates: Poems from a critically acclaimed Cuban writer available in English for the first time, noted in the New York Times Book Review here!
Imbued with a sensuality reminiscent of the work of Anaïs Nin, Wendy Guerra’s Delicates takes readers on an exhilarating journey through the cities of love, where women leave their bodies ‘in the showers of men’, marking their territory ‘like animals in heat’, their panties ‘saturated with sand and a sidereal isolating odor’. Guerra’s shocking metaphors and images invite us to enter her gallery of striking and provoking poems where we witness a flight through the air from a thirty-fourth-story window and a woman’s pilgrimage to the salt flats ‘to taste the pink in stones’ on her lover’s behalf. Guerra’s relationship with her native Cuba—much like her relationships with men—is complex and multilayered. Her work confronts the realities of a political system that doesn’t celebrate artistic freedom. Here we have a new way of looking at a woman, an artist, a country, and the colonizers of that country. In these music-infused poems, Guerra shares with us her hard-won truths. ttps://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/30/books/review/new-this-week.html
Piano in the Dark: Poetry from an especially deft magician of words.
This latest book of wonders from Nancy Naomi Carlson fixes upon one of the few defenses we have to confront the body's betrayals--our words. Though in the end, even the world's last word "forgets its name . . . has no word for this forgetting." At once vulnerable and open, tempered and tempted equally by the erotic and the empathic, such dualities limn these affectingly beautiful and lyrical poems. Carlson's lines, entreating as Scheherazade, "weave chords / into tales within tales, whirlpools within seas" to save her life. Indeed, music has no need for voice or harp, as "in anechoic chambers, you become / the only instrument of your worldly sounds," echoing Mozart's credo "that music lies / in the silence between notes." In a world scarred by pandemics, wars, and violent tribalism, the givens are gone--"talismans we clung to, believing / we might be spared in some way / by marking our doors / with our own sacrificial blood." In these unflinching free and formal verse poems, Carlson seduces us with the promise of the joy yet to be had, were we to look in the right places.
The two translators of Delicates and author of Piano in the Dark, Nancy Naomi Carlson and Esperanza Hope Snyder, are joining us in conversation with Heather Green on the Busboys stage to discuss their experience translating and writing poetry. Copies of the books will be available for purchase during and after the event, and Carlson and Spalding will be signing following the program.
This event is free and open to all. Our program begins at 5:00 pm, and will be followed by an audience Q&A. Copies of DELICATES and PIANO IN THE DARK will be available for purchase before and after the event. Please note that this event is IN PERSON and will NOT be livestreamed.
We ask that guests RSVP in order to receive direct updates about the event from Busboys and Poets Books.
Nancy Naomi Carlson is a poet, translator, essayist. Carlson’s translation of Khal Torabully’s Cargo Hold of Stars: Coolitude (Seagull, 2021) won the 2022 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, and she has twice received literature translation fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her second poetry collection, An Infusion of Violets (Seagull, 2021), was called ‘new & noteworthy’ by the New York Times.
Esperanza Hope Snyder is assistant director of Bread Loaf in Sicily and co-coordinator of the Lorca Prize, and a poet, a novelist, and a playwright. She is the author of Esperanza and Hope (Sheep Meadow Press 2018). Her screenplay, The Backroom, will be adapted to film. Her website is here: www.esperanzahopesnyder.com
Heather Green is the author of No Other Rome (Akron Poetry Series, 2021) and the translator of Tristan Tzara's Speaking Alone (forthcoming 2024) and Noontimes Won (Octopus Books, 2018)). Her poems, translations, and essays have appeared in AGNI, Bennington Review, Hopscotch Translation, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. Green is the Visual Editor for Asymptote, an Assistant Professor in the School of Art at George Mason University, where she serves on the editorial board of Poetry Daily, and a member of the poetry faculty of Cedar Crest College's Pan-European MFA program.
The Alan Cheuse International Writers Center, founded in 2016, helps international writers and translators gain broader American audiences and provides fellowships to George Mason University students for international travel. The center’s long-range goals include becoming a vibrant literary institution enriching the artistic and intellectual communities of George Mason University and the Washington metropolitan region, linking them with literary organizations around the globe.
DC-Area Literary Translators (DC-ALT) is a network for literary translators in the Washington DC area. They are open to anyone with an interest in literary translation to/from any language. They provide a forum for local translators to get to know each other, discuss issues related to translation, and share information of interest. They also hold monthly gatherings, where they discuss recent works in translation, host translation workshops, and more. Read more about them from the American Literary Translators Association. Their e-mail newsletter allows members to share information of interest, such as local translation-related events and upcoming DC-ALT gatherings, and to propose ideas for group activities.