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Soy un poeta estadounidense

By Kenneth Goldsmith

KGApril07.jpg
Soy un poeta estadounidense, y como el resto de mis compatriotas, hablo sólo un idioma. Cuando me pidieron que escribiera para Harriet, el blog del Poetry Foundation, supuse que lo último que necesitaba Harriet (o para el caso el resto del mundo) era más sobre la cultura norteamericana (recuerdan la canción de The Clash “I’m So Bored with the U.S.A”?). Por lo tanto he decidido escribir este blog en español, idioma que nunca he escrito o hablado.
Lo más probable es que nadie entienda una sola palabra de lo que digo, ni siquiera si el español es su primera lengua. Así que estamos a mano: ambos estamos en la situación de no entendernos. Lo único que podemos hacer es escuchar cómo suenan las palabras en lugar de pensar en qué quieren decir. Y al hacerlo todos accedemos a una nueva relación con el lenguaje que nos permite volver a enmarcar lo mundano en el lenguaje de lo mundano.
Por muchos años he estado trabajando en aras de una situación como ésta en la que nos encontramos ahora: una en la que el lenguaje sea sólamente formal y concreto. Como el lenguaje mismo, esta entrada en el blog a la vez tiene y no tiene sentido. Esta página está cargada de sonido que posa o aparenta ser lenguaje.
Podría continuar el resto de mis entradas en español, pero creo que han entendido el punto. Después de este tortuoso comienzo, pueden entender mejor lo que estoy tratando de hacer con mi trabajo: aproximarnos la situación utópica en la que nos encontramos ahora, una de buscada ignorancia. (Tr. Mónica de la Torre)

Comments (10)

  • On June 26, 2007 at 10:33 pm Francisco Aragón wrote:

    Sr. Goldsmith:
    He disfrutado mucho con tu “post” de hoy. Es al primera vez que he podido leer algo en “Harriet” en mi lengua materna.
    Pero creo que el hecho que has elegido el espanol para luego afirmar que
    “…como el resto de mis compatriotas, hablo sólo un idioma”
    y
    “Lo más probable es que nadie entienda una sola palabra de lo que digo, nisiquiera si el español es su primera lengua.”
    demuestra que desconoces la realidad de una importante parte de la población hispana en este país. Sí hay muchas personas–incluso estadounidenses nativos como yo–que hablan y leen el espanol. Tenias que haber escrito tu “post” en un idioma que no fuera en el idioma de millones de personas que saben pefectamente como leer en espanol. En este pais se están publicando muchos libros en espanol incluso en casas editoriales como “HarpoCollins” que tienen un imprint que se llama RAYO.
    Es más: hay una larga tradición de poetas que escriben y publican su obra en espanol en los Estados Unidos. Dos ejemplos son: Francisco X. Alarcón y el poeta Chicano Alurista.
    Sin quererlo, has demostrado que hay muchas cosas que aprender sobre algunos de tus companeros estadounidenses.
    Sin embargo, he entendido lo que querías expresar. Solamente elegiste mal el idioma.
    Saludos,
    FA
    (este “post” no ha sido traducido)

  • On June 27, 2007 at 6:25 pm Natasha Tiniacos wrote:

    Al leer las primeras líneas de este texto me alegré porque alguien había tenido la iniciativa de escribir en mi idioma materno. Luego, por supuesto, al ver que el español había sido utilizado para hacer una reflexión del sinsentido me ofendí.
    Leo este blog diariamente y respeto y admiro a quienes colaboran en él. Sin embargo, debo invitarlo a usted, Sr. Goldsmith, a reflexionar sus métodos del absurdo, porque el español, créame, lo entienden más personas de las que usted podría tener conocimiento.
    Escribir en español pudo conducirlo a la atención y sensibilidad de muchos.
    Desde Columbia, Carolina del Sur,
    Natasha Tiniacos

  • On June 28, 2007 at 6:08 am Francisco Aragón wrote:

    Hola Srta. Tiniacos:
    No creo que el Sr. Goldsmith se va a molestar en averiguar lo que has escrito, o quizas sí. Pero quería escribirle esta nota para agradecerle por tu contribución. Un amigo mio en NYC me mandó una nota también deciendome lo ofensivo que encontró este “post”. No creo que el Sr. Goldsmith tuvo intención de ofender, pero lo sí demostró es su ignorancia.

  • On June 28, 2007 at 7:53 am emily warn wrote:

    I do not speak Spanish. But machine language can: here is how the Babel Fish Translation site translated Kenneth’s post:
    “I am a American poet, and like the rest of my compatriots, I speak only a language. When they requested to me that it wrote for Harriet, blog of the Poetry Foundation, I supposed that last that Harriet needed (or for the case the rest of the world) was more on the North American culture (the U.S.A remembers the song of The Clash “?m Under Bored with”). Therefore I have decided to write this blog in Spanish, language that never I have written or spoken. Most probable it is than nobody understands a single word of which I say, not even if the Spanish is his first language. So we are by hand: both we are in the situation of not understanding to us. The only thing that we can do is to listen how they sound the words instead of thinking about what means. And when doing it all we accede to a new relation with the language that allows us to return to frame the worldly thing in the language of the worldly thing. By many years I have been working for the sake of a situation like this one in which we were now: one in that the language is sólamente formal and concrete. Like the same language, this entrance in blog simultaneously has and it does not have sense. This page is loaded of sound that puts or pretends to be language. It could continue the rest of my entrances in Spanish, but I believe that they have understood the point. After this winding beginning, they can understand better what I am trying to do with my work: to approximate the utópica situation to us in which we were now, one of looked for ignorance. (Tr. Mónica of the Tower)”
    Here is how it translated Francisco Aragon’s post:
    “Mr. Goldsmith: I have enjoyed much your “post” today. It is to the first time that I have been able to read something in “Harriet” in my maternal language. But I believe that the fact that you have chosen espanol soon to affirm that “… like the rest of my compatriots, I speak only a language” and “most probable it is than nobody understands a single word of which I say, nisiquiera if the Spanish is his first language.” it demonstrates that you do not know the reality of an important part of the Hispanic population in this country. Yes there are many people — American even native like I — who speak and read espanol. Tapeworms that to have written your “post” in a language that not outside in the language of million people who know pefectamente like reading in espanol. In this pais many books in espanol even in publishing houses like “HarpoCollins” are being published that have imprint that is called RAY. It is more: there is one long tradition of poets who write and publish their work in espanol in the United States. Two examples are: Francisco X. Alarcón and poet Chicano Alurista. Without wanting it, you have demonstrated that there are many things that to learn on some of your American companeros. Nevertheless, I have understood what you wanted to express. You only chose bad the language. Greetings, FA (this “post” has not been translated)”

  • On June 28, 2007 at 12:15 pm Rich Villar wrote:

    Babelfish nothwithstanding, there is a long and noble tradition of U.S. intellectuals badly translating the languages of the rest of the world. Thus, in the traditions of Ezra Pound and Garrett Morris, I humbly offer the following translation of Mr. Goldsmith’s rank pile of ca-ca:
    “I am an American (and thus, U.S.) poet, and like the rest of my buddies, I speak only one language. That is, until my lawn needs maintenance, or if I suddenly need a policeman in Mexico. When they asked me to write for Harriet, the blog of the Poetry Foundation, I suggested that no political or cultural discussion should ever take place here, unless it’s by mistake. (Remember that Clash song, I’m So Bored With the USA, which only became an anti-US missive after the band misheard the lyric? Dude, like that’s sooooo weird, right?) For this reason, I have decided to post this blog in Spanish, a language which I have never spoken or written—nor tried to.
    More than likely, I have zero clue what anyone is trying to say to me, especially since English is my first language. I guess we’re in the same boat then: none of us truly understand what it is we’re saying to each other. The only thing we can do is listen to how our words sound instead of what they mean. And thus, make all of us academics re-examine the language that allows us to march once again across the world.
    For many years, I have worked to support the situation in which we find ourselves: one in which language is only formal and concrete. Like the language itself, this blog entry both has and does not have feeling. This post is charged with the sounds of poseurism, approximating language.
    I could continue the rest of my entries in Spanish, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to find anyone else willing to translate them. But after this tortuous attempt, maybe you can understand better what I’m apparently trying to say with my work: to copy down, word for word, the utopian situation in which we find ourselves: sought ignorance.”
    Humbly submitted,
    Rich Villar.

  • On June 28, 2007 at 2:38 pm Francisco Aragón wrote:

    For the benefit of English readers, here is a quick translation of the response from South Carolina:
    “Upon reading the first few lines of this text I felt glad because someone had taken the initiative to write in my mother tongue. Later, of course, upon seeing that the Spanish language had been used to reflect upon its senselessness, I was offended.
    I read this blog everyday and respect and admire those who contribute to it. Nevertheless, I invite you, Mr. Goldsmith, to reflect upon your methods of the absurd, because the Spanish language, believe me, is understood by more people than you could have imagined.
    Writing in Spanish could have captured the attention and sensibilities of a lot of people.
    From Columbia, South Carolina
    Natasha Tiniacos”
    The key passage of my contribution should say:
    The fact that you chose the Spanish language to say
    “Like the rest of my fellow citizens, I only speak one language”
    and
    “Probably no one understands a single word of what I am saying, even those people for whom Spanish is their first language”
    shows how ignorant you are about a sizable portion of the hispanic population in this country…..
    FA

  • On June 28, 2007 at 4:13 pm Oscar Bermeo wrote:

    This post is filled with assumptions of the Spanish speaking audience that reads Harriet and for that reason alone I, as a dual language poet living in this country, am insulted.
    However, I also feel that is post is loaded with failed satire and so I will accept it as that: a piece of ineffectual writing.

  • On June 28, 2007 at 4:35 pm Rich Villar wrote:

    I should say, now that I’ve gotten my own jones for satire out of my system, that I am deeply offended by this attempt at humor. Mr. Goldsmith has demonstrated a shocking level of ignorance about the Spanish language and Spanish-speakers in the U.S., and it is my deep-seated suspicion is that he may actually be enjoying the undue attention his post has generated.
    Perhaps for his next book, he should consider copying a Spanish-to-English dictionary, or perhaps a bilingual copy of Neruda’s Canto General, so that the Spanish-speaking readers of Harriet might actually enjoy reading it.

  • On June 28, 2007 at 7:27 pm Didi Menendez wrote:

    Hola le dice el mar al la orilla…
    Yo nunca hablo en espanol en el internet. Yo publico en ingles solamente. No me hace falta babelfish ni ninguna mierda como eso para entender pues el espanol fue y es mi primera lengua. Le doy un gran aplauso muy fuerte a usted. Y siguerimemos hablando el lenguaje de poesia en ingles, espanol o lo que dios nos de.
    Dulce Maria Menendez
    (el nombre que me dieron mis padres)

  • On May 31, 2008 at 1:55 pm Jorge Enrique Gonzalez wrote:

    Friend Goldsmith:
    Gracias por su mensaje en español, lo he leido con gratitud, porque tambien soy poeta, lo que cubano y resido en la ciudad de Seattle. Admiro la concepcion de persivir el sonido de la palabra, no como un elemento extraño, disfrute “Lo único que podemos hacer es escuchar cómo suenan las palabras en lugar de pensar en qué quieren decir. Y al hacerlo todos accedemos a una nueva relación con el lenguaje que nos permite volver a enmarcar lo mundano en el lenguaje de lo mundano.” Le reitero mis gracias y le dejo, en ingles un poema que al sueño de algun dia poder leer mi poesia tradicida al ingles, y por supuesto que sea comprendida.
    So Close to my
    Lately, I have been dreaming the same dream over and over.
    Our life is a poem just like a room without light.
    My morning was like the sunrise breaking through the clouds of the darkness.
    You are so close to me, you are the freedom of sunlight!
    How I wish you can be with me all the time!
    We miss each other so many times in my crossroads and yet I could only see your smile in my dream.
    Born in Havana, Cuba in 1969, the poet Jorge Enrique González-Pacheco has published: “Poesía Ilustrada”, (New York, USA-1992), “Antología de la décima Cósmica de La Habana”, (México D.F, México-2003), “Notaciones del inocente”, (Moguer, Spain-2003), “Tierra de Secreta Transparencia”, (Madrid, Spain-2004) and has two poetry books unpublished: “Bajo la luz de mi sangre” and “Yo árbol, molécula secreta”. Jorge Enrique studied Philosophy and Hispanic literature at Havana University, Cuba, and Spain. He has published his poetry, prose and articles in magazines, newspapers, and virtual editions in Cuba, USA, Spain, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. For several years he worked at the Cuban Institute of Art and Cinematographic Industry in Havana. He has read his poems in Cuba, Mexico, Spain, and USA, two of them at the Miami Book Fair International (2003-2004), and last January, he read at Seattle University. The writer has collaborated in the preparation of programs on Cuban Culture, which were included in the curriculum of the University of California, Riverside; the Pedagogical University of Orleans, France; and the University of Loyola, Chicago, IL from 1994 to 2000. In 2003, he moved to the United States and since 2006, he has been living in Seattle where he continues to write.


Posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, June 26th, 2007 by Kenneth Goldsmith.