Magazine article World Literature Today

Tres

Magazine article World Literature Today

Tres

Article excerpt

VERSE Roberto Bolaño. Tres. Laura Healy, tr. New York. New Directions. 2011. isbn 9780811219273

Tres is not just a Robert Bolaño masterpiece, it's another Bolaño masterpiece. For an author who has been dead since 2003, I would say that, under the circumstances, he is doing pretty well.

Tres is Bolaño's second book of poems to be published in English. As with his earlier book of poetry, The Romantic Dogs, this volume is also translated by Laura Healy. Also like The Romantic Dogs, New Directions has published this as a bilingual book, which is a treasure for those who read in Spanish, and even those who don't. Healy's translation of Bolaño is remarkable and beautiful, leaving nothing out, yet adding a softness that often goes unappreciated in translated works. Her translation is never heavyhanded, but functions more like a whisper heard faintly above the powerful words of the author. The first lines of his prose poem "Prose from Autumn in Gerona" is proof of her talent: "Una persona-deberia decir una desconocida- que te acaricia, te hace bromas, es dulce contigo y te lleva hasta la orilla de un precipicio." (A woman-I ought to say a stranger-who caresses you, teases you, is sweet with you and brings you to the edge of a precipice.) Healy's translation is subtle and gentle, yet keeps the same intensity as the original.

Tres is divided into three sections: "Prose from Autumn in Gerona," "The Neochileans," and "A Stroll through Literature." The first and third sections are prose poems, while the second is a long poem. …

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