sábado, 19 de septiembre de 2020

I Confess that I Have Wept

He was christened Ricardo E. Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. But as soon as he discovered that he wanted to be a poet (something that happened when he was still quite small), he decided to change his name: Pablo, because it had a musical ring, and Neruda, in honor of the Czech poet, Jan Neruda.
This humble translator also felt a love for poetry from a very young age. Family legend (those stories one doesn't quite trust because they sound like an exaggeration, but with which one willingly plays along) claims that I learned to read on my own as a little girl of five when hepatitis forced me to stay in bed.
I recall how in first grade the teacher asked us to write a sentence describing the day: Today it is sunny. Today the sky is full of clouds. But that wasn't enough for me and I would write a page at least.
Then "they" came into my life, friends that gave without expecting anything in return, silent friends: books.
My first major books were these four volumes of the Diccionario Enciclopédico de Ramón Sopena that my Grandmother Blanca Aurora gave me when I entered second grade. I say "these" because they are right here by my side, even though Internet has made them feel a little old-fashioned in certain senses, in certain words.
One day I stood in front of my mother Leticia's bookcase and chose a book, "a grown-up book". What a thrill! I was seven and read El habitante y su esperanza by Pablo Neruda. There were a lot of things I didn't understand. How wouldn't there be? But I caught the magic anyway and it came to live in my heart forever.
Pablo Neruda is one of my favorite authors. His book Confieso que he vivido (I Confess that I have Lived) touched me. I once said that the title alone bears a devastating, suggestive and tremendous weight, like everything else that The Great Chilean wrote. There have been times that Neruda the prose writer has been the friend that accompanied me, while at others, it has been Neruda the poet, one of the most colossal poets I have ever read.
Not long ago I traveled to Chile. How could I not visit Isla Negra, the place about which I had read so much, a place that had fed my fantasy, that had enriched my life? As soon as I touched down in the Santiago Airport, off I went to Isla Negra in the company of a Chilean friend and colleague and my family (with all of our luggage still in the trunk of the car).
The Pacific...Ah, the Pacific! They can't fool me: In order to paint the Pacific, God has to have used a special shade of blue that he never used again in all the rest of Creation. It is to the color of the Pacific that we owe a debt of gratitude for part of Neruda's body of works.
I should note here that Isla Negra is the name of a small, adorable town. It is not an island.
Pablo Neruda's house is built on the edge of the sea. The author loved the sea, but at the same time feared it. The house imitates the shape of a ship: It is long and the doors are quite narrow. The ceilings are of wood and are vaulted. The entire place is full of marine objects. And beside the house, on terra firma, is a small wooden boat that remained there, forever immobile, on a decision by the author, just a few meters from its natural destination.
It took Neruda thirty years to finish his home, which houses a surprising number of collections — remember that Neruda traveled extensively — of all types and origins: bottles, masks, figureheads, chairs, miniature guitars, jugs, piano leg casters...
And I confess that I have wept...When we entered the room where the ships' figureheads are kept, I cried. I had been building up to this for a long time: I knew that being in the temple of Isla Negra was going to make me lose it. I had prepared for it long in advance. When I bought the tickets to fly to Chile? When I started playing with the crazy idea of a side-trip to Isla Negra? No. I had been building up to this since that day when I was seven years old and had the audacity and the good luck to delve into the literary world of this admirable Chilean.
Outside, Pablo Neruda's grave awaited me. Visitors aren't allowed to leave flowers or messages, but hey...who was going to see a tiny slip of miniscule paper (and the redundancy is intentional) that I nestled among the stones? With a sob of emotion, I bent close to him and left my message.
One word for Neruda, who had written so many thousands of times for me.
A single word. I said little to him. I said a lot to him.
I told him: "Thanks."

Aurora Humarán
P.S. for Neruda: You didn't sing in vain, Pablo.

viernes, 18 de septiembre de 2020

La fascinante historia de la lengua española (Alma Flor Ada / F. Isabel Campoy)

Un oasis

Divinísima la e-presentación del libro de Isabel Campoy y Alma Flor Ada, "LA FASCINANTE HISTORIA DE LA LENGUA ESPAÑOLA". Un chapuzón de felicidad en medio de este año loco. Isabel y Alma nos contaron la historia del español. Los invitados casi parecíamos niñitos y niñitas escuchando admirados y con atención sobre las idas y vueltas de los celtas, los godos, los árabes, los romanos... La mezcla que me gusta de rigor académico con muchísima simpatía. Muchas gracias por la invitación. ¡Los mejores augurios para el nuevo hijo!
Aurora Humarán pd: hoy aprendí que la palabra "petunia" viene del guaraní.

domingo, 23 de agosto de 2020


El verdadero apellido de Mauro Z es Sztajnszrajber. Mauro es hermano de Darío quien sí usa el apellido completo. 

Como bien sabemos, el idioma sirve para hablar y también para pensar (Gracias, Chomsky). Sin embargo, como ocurre con este apellido, hay palabras sobre las que deslizamos nuestros ojos mientras en la cabeza armamos una especie de hilera loca, así: &_*- #-¿-fraslafra"¡=.($'#}>)/* 

Si tuviera que presentar a alguno de los hermanos en una conferencia, indudablemente averiguaría la forma correcta de pronunciar el apellido (y la practicaría, como siempre hago en las conferencias), pero cuando estoy "de entre casa", me conformo con los ruidos locos internos.

Me pasó lo mismo cuando leí Milenium, la necesaria trilogía del genio Stieg Larsson. Pasaba los ojos sobre los apellidos suecos, pero como quien hace snorkelling y no buceo. Confieso que al principio me costaba por la falta de costumbre, claro. Unas pocas páginas luego de comenzar el primer libro, pensé en abandonarlo (y qué suerte que no lo hice porque me habría privado de tres grandes obras). Pero así somos los traductores: quereremos entender todas las palabras, saber todo, pronunciar bien todo. Uno de los muchos TOC que tenemos.

Aurora Humarán