Elizabeth Rose on translating Cristina Peri Rossi

Elizabeth Rose

on translating Cristina Peri Rossi

The poem “Come”/“Ven” is from one of Cristina Peri Rossi’s most recent volumes of poetry, Las Replicantes ( The Replicants , Ediciones Cálamo, 2016). Peri Rossi’s poetic work over the past fifty years creates an archive of lesbian affection and queer kinship, centering desire, eroticism, and intimacy. My translations of her work are informed by an attention to that intimacy, and “Come”/“Ven” is no exception. One such approach to this work was including select fragments of the Spanish within the English version in order to signal intimate speech acts. There are certain terms of endearment that transcend recontextualization in English, but there are also those that signal a familiarity and exclusivity that I choose to illuminate by setting them apart linguistically. By highlighting the lovers’ dialogue in Spanish (“te esnifas el tiempo,” literally “you are sniffing time,” meaning “you are wasting time,” and “un día es largo como un siglo,” literally “a day is long as a century”), I remind the reader that these speech acts are exclusive, separate, yearning, undressed.

about the author

Cristina Peri Rossi is a Uruguayan novelist, poet, and translator. Born in Montevideo, she has lived in Barcelona since the 1970s, when she went into political exile. Considered the only woman associated with the Latin American Boom, Peri Rossi has never ceased to publish work, despite political repression, tenuous immigration status, and linguistic discrimination. She has published nineteen books of poetry, earning her many literary prizes, including the Rafael Alberti International Poetry Prize, the City of Torrevieja International Poetry Prize, the Loewe Foundation International Poetry Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

about the translator

Elizabeth Rose is a poet, translator, and PhD candidate in comparative literature at the University of Pennsylvania. They translate primarily from Spanish, and their scholarship centers the intersections of translation, queer and trans theory, and transnational American studies. Their work has appeared in Alchemy, Tupelo Quarterly, Cagibi, Volume, and Raspa Magazine, among other places. They currently reside on occupied Tohono O’odham territory, or Tucson, Arizona.

Majo al atardecer by Elizabeth Rose