Saturday, 22 October 2011

Death and Cognac



It isn't every day that you meet an Italian who lives in Paris, and who's just won a prize for his translation from Spanish into English.

But then it isn't every day that my small town hosts an international poetry competition. In this case, it was a contest to translate the poems of Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca, and the first prize winner, Alberto, came to stay with us while he was visiting to read his poem.


Alberto even invited us along to the evening event where he was reading. There was some great music and a short (silent) film, and then the shortlisted poems were read out. Not all the translators could be there to read their own work, but the judges stepped up to do some of the reading themselves.

The judges, two US academics, were across for the Cheltenham literature festival, so they were able to come to Stroud as part of the same trip. But in contrast to what I imagine of their (sold out) literature festival appearance, we had the advantage of a small room and plenty of opportunities to chat with them.

It was a really fun evening, and introduced me to a few poems I wouldn't otherwise have heard - in new and excellent translations. We had neither death nor cognac, but the title phrase was one that sticks in my mind, nevertheless. Also, did you know there was a version of the Spanish flag in which the lowest stripe was purple? I kind of wish they'd kept it that way...

Photos: Alberto reading, and later, asked to sign a copy of his poem.

14 comments:

Monica said...

what a fabulous event. and i never knew that about the flag of my ancestors!

thanks for visiting me. :)

ladyfi said...

Oh, I do like Lorca! And the flag does look good with the purple stripe.

shrink on the couch said...

A cultural mecca! And poetry readings? I'm in awe.

p.s. I like the purple stripe, too.

BECKY said...

I always love reading about your travels and adventures, Rachel!

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

I read the whole post fully expecting something like "death by cognac" ;-D This sounds like a really interesting event, it's far too long since I've read/looked into poetry. I can't imagine trying to translate it though, I'd be too afraid of losing any of the meaning... Have a lovely Sunday xo

becky said...

Intriguing title~~death and cognac...you pulled me right in!

Dave King said...

What a tremendous time you must have had! Much thanks for writing it up. I would dearly have loved to be there.

Rabbit Hole Report said...

Fun factoid about the purple stripe, and I agree "Death and Cognac" is an intriguing title for a blog entry, poem, film or nail polish. Could work as a band name too. :)

Expats Again said...

I would have loved this experience!

The Blonde Duck said...

How cool!

Kazzy said...

This is such a European experience! And I, of course, mean that as a huge, jealousy-filled compliment. :)

Alan Burnett said...

Now that is what happens when you put your Spanish Flag in the wash with other colours and at the wrong temperature setting. Sounds like a great evening.

Rachel said...

I'd love to know why and when the lower stripe was purple!

Charlotte said...

What an amazing event!

Post a Comment

Thanks for dropping in! I'd love to hear what you have to say, and if you leave a URL, I'll be round to visit you soon. (Comment moderation is on because the spam has become overwhelming!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...