Blanca Castellón’s poems are starkly honest. Her tenacious pursuit of the unknowable results in work that illuminates a resolute but permeable humanity. Through an intently economic use of language, her writing strikes chords by casting familiar images into new light. With vicious yet softly abstracted lines such as, “Nostalgia brings its thorns to the back of the eye until I am left blind,” I am reminded of the magnetic existentialism of René Char. These wonderful translations come to NC through the extensive work of the poet J.P. Dancing Bear.
Blanca Castellón is a Nicaraguan poet born in Managua. In 2000 she received the International Award from the Institute of Modernists. She is the Vice President of the International Poetry Festival of Granada and the Nicaraguan Writers Association. Her books include, Love of the Spirit (1995), Float (1998), Opposite Shore (2000), and Games of Elisa (2005).
J.P. Dancing Bear is author of nine collections of poetry, his most recent being, Inner Cities of Gulls (Salmon Poetry, 2010). He is the editor of the American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. His next book of poems is Family of Marsupial Centaurs due out from Iris Press. He is the host of Out of Our Minds poetry show for public station KKUP and available through podcast or iTunes.
Three Poems by Blanca Castellón
Translated by J.P. Dancing Bear
“I WALK DIRECTIONLESS AND GROPING”
In this moment, imposed by distance, I remain silent today, looking back to contemplate the city in ruins.
Nostalgia brings its thorns to the back of the eye until I am left blind, groping for the secret seams of the universe where cracks continue to flourish and no one walks, where the missing populate the soft areas of the unconscious.
As if I flung on a dress of uncertainty, stopped in front of my house and recognized myself at once: I no longer watch, my feelings confirmed by the eternal verses: I WALK DIRECTIONLESS AND GROPING.
This is nothing but the enduring image that walks with me always and forever.
with your red dress
Lay down in the center of the page
get the attention of seaweed
recognize your knees in the sand.
The dead distill smoke
and pending matters.
They settle in a crown of arteries,
making home around the heart.
The dead are not
so noble in their rest.
They take advantage of free time
in order to interfere with the living.
because you have life.
Soon they will turn a key
and release the water in your eyes
and make us all cry.
Watch and listen to a reading (in Spanish) by Blanca Castellón here
Learn more about J.P. Dancing Bear here