Poetry in Spanish: Borges and Cortázar Posted by Paula on Aug 25, 2016 in Literature, Spanish Culture, Spanish Vocabulary
These days we celebrate the anniversary of Jorge Luis Borges’s and Julio Cortázar’s birthdays, in 1899 and 1914, respectively. If you are not familiar with these names, you should run to the closest bookstore and grab any of their books (personally, I recommend El aleph and Historias de cronopios y de famas). They are the most famous Argentine writers of the twentieth century. Borges is one of the main representatives of postmodern literature, albeit with a Baroque twist, while Cortázar is rather difficult to categorize but could also fit under the same label.
They both wrote short stories and have changed the genre in Spanish. Borges wrote as if literature was a branch of philosophy, while Cortázar, as translator of Edgar Alan Poe, respected a classic structure in the realm of the fantastic. Cortázar also wrote novels, which Borges never tried, and both wrote poetry in very different fashions. Both writers worked on purpose on making the Argentine variant of Spanish a literary language.
There has always been a kind of rivalry between readers of Borges and readers of Cortázar. Here you have a couple of poems by them to check out their styles and decide which suits your taste better.
El enamorado / The Lover (The admirer)
|Lunas, marfiles, instrumentos, rosas,
lámparas y la línea de Durero,
las nueve cifras y el cambiante cero,
debo fingir que existen esas cosas.
Debo fingir que en el pasado fueron
Debo fingir las armas y la pira
Debo fingir que hay otros. Es mentira.
|Moons, ivories, instruments, roses,
lamps and the line of Dürer,
the nine figures and the variable zero,
I shall pretend that these things exist.
I shall pretend that in the past they were
I shall pretend the arms and the pyre
I shall pretend there are others. It’s a lie.
Una carta de amor / A Love Letter
|Todo lo que de vos quisiera
es tan poco en el fondo
porque en el fondo es todo como un perro que pasa, una colina,esas cosas de nada, cotidianas,
espiga y cabellera y dos terrones,el olor de tu cuerpo,
lo que decís de cualquier cosa,
conmigo o contra mía,
todo eso es tan poco
Que mires más allá de mí,
y que el placer que juntos inventamos
|Everything I’d want from you
is finally so little
because finally it’s everything like a dog going by,
or a hill,
those meaningless things, mundane,
wheat ear and long hair and two lumps of sugar,
the smell of your body,
whatever you say about anything
with or against me,all that which is so little
I want from you because I love youMay you look beyond me,
may you love me with violent disregard
for tomorrow, let the cry
of your coming explode
in the boss’s face in some office,
and let the pleasure we invent together