Thursday, January 16, 2014
Being a fan of Afro-Caribbean surrealist poetry can be a sort of lonely business: if you hang out in poetry circles, you'll sometimes run into people who admire Aimé Césaire, but otherwise you tend to be on your own with your enthusiasm. You can imagine my surprise, then, when the New York Times got in touch and asked if they could use my translation of "Sarabande," a wonderful poem by Lucie Thésée, a mid-century poet from Martinique (the translation originally appeared in Poetry, along with some other Thésée things). My reaction was something like "What? Yes! What?" Anyway, they've now paired the poem up with a little prose piece about meeting Césaire called "Beneath Martinique's Beauty, Guided by a Poet," and you can check it out at the New York Times learning network.
Thanks to the people at the Times (and, before them, at Poetry) for believing in this kind of off-the-beaten-path poetry. "Sarabande" is smoking hot stuff—erotic, political, and a good way to warm up in cold weather.