Maia Evrona

Poet; Memoirist; Translator; Leonard Cohen Enthusiast

My poem "Childhood Spanish"

This poem first appeared in Poetica Magazine. I am sharing it again in light of Stephen Miller's recent comments on "cosmopolitan" outlooks and the Trump Administration's demand that prospective immigrants be fluent in English. 

 

Childhood Spanish

 

Language I learned en la escuela primaria,

en una programa bilingüe, language of homework

and a terrifying third grade teacher, language I feared

forgotten after every summer.

 

Language of nearly none of my ancestors,

except those fleeing Sephardim, 

who dispersed in all directions

and, I have read, through all Ashkenazim.

 

Language once purged, still so Catholic

school seemed parochial by mistake,

as if my native English needn’t be selective,

purged of Jew-you-down and good Christian praise.

 

Language that feels so American,

not the Russian, the German, the Polish

my grandparents’ parents fled Europe fluent in

and shed, keeping only Yiddish.

 

Language that confused my English pronunciation,

loosened my accent, further cultivated in me

the seeds of a rootless cosmopolitan,

even here, in the Land of the Free

--Maia Evrona

 

Piece on continued funding for the NEA published on Artnet; more Sutzkever translations in The Brooklyn Rail

A piece I recently wrote on financial funding for the arts in the US, particularly in light of the Trump Administration's desire to defund the NEA, was recently published on Artnet

Five of my Abraham Sutzkever translations were published a week or two ago in The Brooklyn Rail; In Translation. Here is a sample:

Of All Words I Envy Only One

Of all words I envy only one: The Hebrew yehi’,
“let there be.” Would the creator grant me a spark
of the word, the smallest trace of its strength, yehi’,
I would proclaim, let there be song, and it would be.

Let song be made from a rainbow’s vanishing end,
from a single ant, one lost in the desert,
from moonlit ivory born in the jungle,
from a human skull laughing at its own reflection.

Let a star become song, for no one leaves it at least
a wooden grave-marker, there where it falls.
A small face of grass in the aquarium giant and green,
a tiny golden ring, for its wife cannot see.

Yehi’, let there be a song, which until now has never been,
for the living and for these, whom men name “the deceased.”
Yehi’, let there be joy, and joy would be and all would be joyful,
Yehi’, and for an instant suffering would grow hollow.

More translations are coming soon in The Ilanot Review, West Branch, and The Northwest Review of Books. (The last two will only be in print, as far as I know.)

 

Reading in Brooklyn on March 9th

I will be reading for the Another Way to Say reading series in Brooklyn, on March 9th. This reading series is dedicated to works in translation, writing influenced by multilingualism and the polyglot experience in New York City. I'll be reading some of my own poetry, as well as translations of the poet Anna Margolin, who was very much a poet of 1920s New York. If I have time, I'll squeeze in a Sutzkever translation or two. Hope you can make it. 

Here is a link to the Another Way to Say website: http://anotherwaytosay.tumblr.com/

Here is a link to the Facebook event page (feel free to RSVP): https://www.facebook.com/events/197907597240761/

And here is a link to the restaurant: http://oysterbarbrooklyn.com/ (What better way to enjoy translations of Yiddish poetry than with oysters?)

New Publication and a Reading at Book Culture in New York City

I will be participating in a reading at Book Culture in NYC on February 26th. The reading is sponsored by The Grief Diaries, an online journal that recently published two of my Sutzkever translations. I'll be reading those translations, as well as my own poetry. 

Here is a link to the event page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1689064404671200/

And here are the translations: http://www.thegriefdiaries.org/translation-by-maia-evrona/

See you there!

Copyright: Maia Evrona, 2013. All rights reserved.