Friday, April 23, 2010

Oscar Hahn

As I just wrote in the previous post, The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry is chock-ful of great writing. Here's the beginning of Oscar Hahn's "Conjurer's Tract" (trans. James Hoggard):

In the garden were some very curious magnolias, listen
some really rare roses, oh,
and an awful smell of incest and blustery violets,
and semen flowing from hummingbird to hummingbird.
Then the girls came in the garden,
rain-soaked and full of white cockroaches,
and mayonnaise curdled in the kitschen...

Anyway, it goes on, great poem. Apparently Hahn lives in Iowa City and teaches Latin American lit at the U of I.


Blogger Jon Cone said...

Hahn is also mentioned in Roberto Bolano's novel DISTANT STAR. He has a reputation as a very fine teacher at University of Iowa.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

I forgot about that mention. But I did remember a slew of other names I knew from Bolano. I'll have to re-read Distant Star now. It's my favorite Bolano book.


10:09 AM  
Blogger Kent Johnson said...

Have to make a plug for Jaime Saenz, Bolivia's great poet of
20th century, also in the anthology.

On a completely different note, there is this at Harriet today, by Linh Dinh and me, 50/50 (each entry at 50 words, that is), with a YouTube video accompanying, a record of its making.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...

Pretty much the entire book is amazing. Only frustration is that the selections must by necessity be so short.


10:08 AM  
Blogger Kent Johnson said...

Yes, I hear you on the selection length.

Also want to note the presence of Omar Caceres, translated by Monica de la Torre. Caceres is perhaps *the* enigmatic poet of the 20th century, anywhere. A true ghost, his "biography" almost impossible to believe. He poured kerosene over the entire original edition of his only book and struck a match. Only two (there is rumor of a third, held in San Diego) are known to have survived the fire. He was a Rosicrucian, and made his living as the only sighted member of a traveling band of blind musicians. He was the violinist. He was murdered in 1943, case still unsolved. New documents and manuscripts have recently been discovered, about which I write in a piece I have coming out (if it ever does come out).

11:13 AM  

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