Chasing pasos_ on the trail of nicaragua’s lost modernist – los angeles review of books bible verses for bad days
IT’S JUST LESS than 100 kilometers down the Pan-American Highway from Nandaime to Rivas. Good morning quotes for friends The two-lane, tar-paved road is lined with alternating plots of corn and banana trees. Inspirational quotes for the first day of school Motorcycles, dirt bikes, bicycles, Indian-make three-wheeler taxis, ancient school buses, tractors, semis, and dump trucks share the road with passenger vehicles, which are forced to pass their slower road mates so frequently it feels like slalom. Best bday quotes for wife My Nicaraguan friend Eliecer and I make the trip in about an hour — good time — and drop off a few hitchhikers we’d picked up at the edge of town, near the hospital. Good morning quotes in hindi Rivas, the capital of the eponymous municipality and isthmus designated, since the 1880s, as the course of the as yet unconstructed Nicaragua Canal, boasts
a population of just under 30,000. Inspirational quotes for hard times at work Today humidity is at 96 percent.
I’m on my way to meet the son of a poet whose name is often mentioned by Latin American critics in the same breath as Vicente Huidobro and Eliot, but who remains almost entirely unknown beyond the confines of the Spanish-speaking world. Positive quotes to start the day Joaquín Pasos was born in Granada, Nicaragua, in 1914, and died in 1947, at the age of 32, without having seen a single book into print. Quotes for a good day Published posthumously, his verse is now an integral part of the Latin American literary tradition, its prophetic warnings of environmental, migratory, and war-fueled crises are timelier than ever.
I wait for Xavier Pasos at his suggested meeting place, the restaurant La Concha, adjacent to the town’s first Uno gas station. Inspirational quotes for the day in bible It’s been three minutes and I’m already sweating. Best birthday quotes for husband from wife The orthopedic physician is easy to spot. Best motivational quotes to start the day I’ve done the math — he’s got to be in his late 60s, and he looks his age. Good day quotes He’s short, maybe 5’4”, well fed but not fat, with neat white hair parted to the left. Best quotes to start the day He wears a powder blue guayabera, and he has a notepad and a selection of pens in his breast pockets. Motivational quotes to start a day He orders a lemon iced tea, and then we talk about his dad.
Xavier was born six months after his father’s death. Good morning quotes for facebook status His mother, Alma, Joaquín’s lover, attended the poet’s funeral three months pregnant. Funny fathers day quotes Xavier’s name, so far as he knows, was given him without his father’s input. Good morning quotes in hindi for facebook Alma eventually married, but considered Pasos the love of her life. Good morning quotes for friends and family Xavier recalls her treasuring his love letters much later in life. Good morning quotes for girlfriend in english Alma, it turns out, is still alive, in Managua. Funny quotes about a rainy day She’s 84. Quotes about good deeds If Pasos were alive today, he would be 100 years old. Good day love quotes for her His oeuvre, which was just maturing in his early 30s, would certainly have been among the greatest accomplishments of 20th-century Spanish-language literature.
Pasos joined Nicaragua’s Vanguardia group when he was just 15, reading poems and discussing poetics with such contemporaries as José Coronel Urtecho and Pablo Antonio Cuadra in the bell tower of the cathedral in Granada, which had been destroyed at US military adventurer William Walker’s behest in 1856. Good morning quotes in hindi for girlfriend The Vanguardia got its start with Coronel Urtecho’s composition of “Ode to Rubén Darío,” a clever skewering of the patron bard’s poeticized language, written in 1926 and first published in ’27. Quotes about having a good day The group’s aesthetic was nativist, but their work drew on a vast range of new influences, from anthropology and psychoanalysis to cinema and contemporary European literature. Good morning quotes in hindi font In 1927, Coronel Urtecho returned from a three-year spell in San Francisco, where he had translated North American poets including Whitman, Pound, Moore, and Eliot, whose influence is evident in much of Vanguardia’s verse. Good morning my love quotes for him In 1930, the movement formally established the Anti-Academy, which was opposed to any “spurious, bewitched, and sterile” manifestation of the past. Wishing you a happy birthday quotes It is impossible not to see a political stance in this aesthetic orientation. Good luck quotes for first day of school In the words of Ernesto Cardenal, “Nicaragua produced two important things during [the 1930s], the Vanguardia and Sandino. Have a good day quotes for him A single spirit animated both movements, and in some sense the two were one and the same.”
Pasos’s masterpiece, “Anthem for the War of Things ( El canto de guerra de las cosas),” opens with one of the most memorable strophes in all of 20th-century Latin-American poetry:
In a hauntingly prophetic register, the long poem charts the destruction of both the natural world and of mankind’s place in it. Quotes about the good old days with friends A few dozen lines into “Anthem,” Pasos writes:
The poem’s title, “Canto de guerra de las cosas,” is most often translated “Warsong of Things” or “Warsong of the Things.” But “warsong” conveys only the primary prepositional phrase of two ingeniously nested phrases — the poem is indeed a warsong, but it’s a warsong for a particular war, the “guerra de las cosas,” a phrase Pasos uses again late in the poem. Inspirational quotes for stress at work In my own translation, I’ve opted for the title “Anthem for the War of Things.”
The poem is obviously grounded in imagery inspired by the two great wars that bookended Pasos’s life, but it also foreshadows our present ecological disaster. Funny quotes for having a bad day It is, in many ways, a Nicaraguan dialogue with both The Waste Land and Huidobro’s Altazor, modern epics that Pasos knew well. Good day quotes funny Its epigraph is drawn from the Vulgate Romans 8:18–23, and the whole is structured — as Pasos himself writes — like a sermon. First day of highschool quotes Though this framework is obviously Christian — the poem charts the war-torn journey of a fallen mankind — it does not lead to redemption: “Everything remained in its time. Good morning quotes in hindi for friends Everything burned up far away.” Steven F. Quotes about good days White, whose excellent criticism has influenced my thinking about the poet and his work, neatly summarizes the differences between this poem and The Waste Land: “whereas Eliot proposes an anachronistic recovery of lost values to create a contemporary spiritual wholeness, Pasos leaves the reader with the prophesied horror of the apocalypse brought on by warfare and the ultimate failure of humanity to survive as a species.”
My personal obsession with Pasos, however, was not sparked by the “Anthem for the War of Things,” but by one of his lesser known poems, “To a Silent Poet.” I discovered it in a pamphlet bound in red construction paper, edited by the defeño poet Benjamín Morales and distributed gratis on Mexico City’s metro. Have a good day quotes for her The poem’s conversational tone and celebratory humor exemplify Pasos’s mastery of the vernacular. Funny good morning quotes for him It might as well have been written today — and that timelessness, coupled with the timeliness of the eschatological vision displayed in the “Anthem” and in his other poems, inspired me to follow Pasos as far as he would take me.
Pasos’s calligram “Cook Boat ( Barco Cook),” inspired by Huidobro’s use of the voguish form, was the first of his poems I translated, working in InDesign to reproduce its pictographic structure. Best birthday quotes for wife Many of the Vanguardists experimented with the calligram, but none of these — save perhaps Pablo Antonio Cuadra’s “Caballito de bamba” — is as ingeniously playful or lyrical as Pasos’s “Boat.” It is, again, startlingly contemporary, from the boat deck — “cook boat walks runs to bangkok loaded with coke,” to the “aguas de colonia” beneath it, the Spanish translation of eau de cologne and a play on the colonial occupation of Nicaragua by the yanqui, who sought to cut the Nicaragua Canal through the enormous lake that neighbored Pasos’s hometown of Granada.
Pasos’s range of subjects was remarkable — humanizing explorations of Central America’s indigenous population, erotic dialogues between Mary and Joseph, and more explicitly political poems, mostly with a Marxist bent. Good morning quotes for him funny He often employed rhyme, both end stopped and internal, and many of his poems, especially the short ones, feature the pleasant sing-song quality and colloquialism of nursery rhymes. Wishing someone a good day quotes He titled poems in English and French, and gave them Latin epigraphs, all while maintaining a playfulness that counterpoints he prophetic authority of “Anthem.” With Coronel Urtecho, he wrote a poem mocking the upper strata of Nicaraguan culture, “Chinfonía Burguesa,” which deconstructs the dominant Spanish of the time with the same euphoria that Huidobro reaches toward the end of Altazor, but uses the device to launch a ruthlessly direct social critique of the bourgeoisie. The two adapted the poem into an absurdist play, which anticipated Eugène Ionesco’s innovations by at least 10 years. Good morning quotes for him tumblr A frequent political commentator in several prominent newspapers and magazines, Pasos was briefly jailed in 1940 for publishing a humorous essay about the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza García. 40th birthday quotes for wife He often published his political humor under the pseudonym Pedrito Ortiz, whose polemics were so effective that he too was once targeted for arrest by the local chief of police. Quotes about a good school Despite having only visited Costa Rica and El Salvador, Pasos composed a suite of travel poems, Poems by a Young Man who Has Never Traveled Anywhere ( Poemas de un joven que no ha viajado nunca), set around the world, from Norway, with its “metal trees / and girls grown up in refrigerators,” to just up the 110 Freeway from my own Los Angeles home, in South Pasadena, where “life is fresh.”
My Spanish-language collected edition of Pasos’s writings lists three heirs as holders of his copyright. Funny good morning quotes for facebook I’m not sure who they are — Pasos never married. Daily inspirational quotes for workplace Were these his nephews or cousins? Could he have a son? I begin my search by looking for Xavier Pasos, the first listed heir. Quotes good day First, Facebook. Happy birthday quotes for wife funny There is one Xavier Pasos in Nicaragua, but without even a profile picture. Wishing you a good day quotes Just a name, but the right one, so I message him.
Xavier responds the next day. Funny good morning quotes for facebook status He is Joaquin’s son, a surgeon by profession, “not at all literary” but admiring of poetry, like all Nicaraguans, children of Darío. Good day quotes for him He is enthusiastic about my translating his father’s poems. Quotes about a good day We agree to meet in two weeks, when I’ll next be in Nicaragua.
Ernesto Cardenal said once that Pasos was born knowing English. Good morning love quotes for her tagalog An immensely gifted translator, though he never devoted himself seriously to the art, he did write a succinct suite of English-language poems, Poems by a Young Man who Does Not Know English ( Poemas de un joven que no sabe inglés). Quotes for the day tagalog Unfortunately, those poems are excluded from the most recent Spanish-language edition of his collected works. Best wishes quotes for first day of school In his preface, editor Óscar Hahn explains their exclusion, dismissing them as the “exercises of a language learner” and reasoning that Pasos himself did not include them in the plan for Breve suma, his first — and posthumous — collection, which did include his other major suites. Motivational quotes to start your day But the poems are much more than mere exercises, and I suspect Pasos excluded them simply because they didn’t fit in that particular volume. Funny birthday quotes for wife from husband Pasos’s Spanish-language poems showcase his verbal ingenuity, and their most striking quality is the utter authority of their speaker, a powerful combination of confidence and wisdom. Have a good day quotes for wife The English-language poems flip that formula on its head: by imposing the external limitations of his English idiolect, he emerges as utterly vulnerable, a truth-speaking fool. Positive good day quotes Poems by a Young Man who Does Not Know English are not failed Pasos — they are Pasos laid bare:
The Uruguayan critic Mario Benedetti wrote in 1967 that these English-language poems, “written in a strange English, run through with Nicaraguan inflections,” are without doubt the sloppiest of Pasos’s poems, but I find that an unconvincing description of anything written by a poet for whom “Making a poem,” his friend and contemporary Carlos Martínez Rivas recounted, “was planning the perfect crime.” To me, they are the spoils of a great raid on the English language.
“No,” Xavier says, “I don’t have a first edition of my father’s poems. Mothers day quotes in hindi I don’t have any. Funny good morning quotes from movies I had one, but I lost it in the earthquake.” He refers to the Nicaraguan earthquake of 1972, more than 40 years ago. Quotes about having a bad day I ask him about his memories, about the stories he heard about his father growing up. Bible verse about having a bad day Most of his anecdotes are things I’d read before, but one sticks out. Positive quotes for a good day As a boy, Joaquín Pasos’s love of adventure and literature converged in his passion for climbing trees, where he would perch for hours to read books. Have a great day quotes for her The young Pasos was so insistent on finishing whatever book he was reading that his family, worried about how long he would go without eating, would send up food in a bucket on a rope. Quotes of the day tumblr That image captures the Pasos I encounter in his poems: an exuberant young man whose playfulness is undergirded by urgent concerns and intellectual rigor.
I bid Xavier Pasos farewell in the gas station parking lot, and we open the doors to the car to “let the devil out,” as Eliecer jokes each time we get back in his black sedan. Inspirational quotes to start the day at work As we wait for the heat to pour out of the vehicular oven, I recall the concluding stanzas of Ernesto Cardenal’s tribute to Xavier’s father, later put to music by Joan Manuel Serrat:
David Shook is a poet and translator in Los Angeles, where he founded Phoneme Media, a nonprofit publishing house for literature in translation. Good day quotes in hindi He is currently at work on a translation of Joaquín Pasos’s Selected Poems .