“The Translator at the Reception for Latin American Writers”


Poet’s Note: “The Translator at the Reception for Latin American Writers” was written during the fading end of the 70”s-80’s literary  “Boom,” during which American readers had discovered great Latin American writers in translation. The reception was specifically for a couple of younger, lesser known novelists, from Central and South America respectively, and I was not present as a “Latin American Writer.” That epithet, at least at that time, evoked more prestige than it had enjoyed in the past. Comfortable in the assumed “High Latino” ambiance, the translator had drifted onto my conversation with someone, apparently heard my fluent, literate Spanish, and introduced himself not expecting a portal to an unprestigious, local American “Latin.”

This poem, from the as yet unpublished volume Foreign Heart,  was first published in El Coro: A Chorus of Latino and Latina Poetry, Edited by Martín Espada, University of Massachusetts Press, 1997,

  then reprinted that same year in , then published in

Puerto Rican Poetry: An Anthology from Aboriginal to Contemporary Times , edited by Roberto Márquez, University of Massachusetts Press, 2007.

 Since 1998, “The Translator at the Reception for Latin American Writers” has  been a selection in the following past editions and titles of Bedford/St. Martin’s college texts, hardbound and compact (paperback), The Bedford Introduction to Literature, The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, and Poetry: An Introduction, all edited by  Michael C. Meyer:

and in their current editions:

      as well as in the new Bedford text  Literature to Go!, ed. Michael C. Meyer, 2011

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