One evening water—watchingit fall, the night sweetsilverthe breathing sigha sobthe sky's amethystsoft—diluting his tears;the fountainmingles withhis fate—song of my owncascadeafter Rubén Darío's "Triste, muy tristemente"
Copyright © 2019 by Francisco Aragón
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Francisco Aragón is the son of Nicaraguan immigrants. He is the author of Puerta del Sol and Glow of Our Sweat, as well as editor of The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry. His poems have appeared in twenty anthologies, most recently The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States (Tia Chucha Press) and Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (Nightbook Books). Others include Inventions of Farewell: A Book of Elegies (W.W. Norton), Deep Travel: American Poets Abroad (Ninebark Press), and Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice (University of Arizona Press). In 2017, he was a finalist for Split This Rock’s Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism. A native of San Francisco, CA, he directs Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies. Aragón divides his time between Washington, D.C. and South Bend, IN.
"Marvel at Francisco’s new collection and translations of Darío—there are soft, almost sepia-blurry portraits of unnamed figures, episodes, eras, and families. The Bay Area appears and dissolves as we journey with Aragón—we amble shoulder to shoulder and listen to intimate, almost impossible short phrases and we stop on occasion and notice the silence, the separations, 'aflutter in the light.' The collaborations with the late Andrés Montoya and Carmen Calatayud, and verses inspired by Machado, Darío, Apollinaire, and Cendrars are stellar. This is a book made of books, cultures, and languages, a search made of searches—'I tried to invent new flowers, new tongues,' it says—and indeed Francisco has accomplished this task. Rare for its intimate, deep voices and expansive, chromatic treks."
—Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States (2015–2017)
"'Consider all of this / an excursus on origins,' advises Francisco Aragón as he invites the reader into the queer Latinx literary lineage in After Rubén. Comprised of equal parts familial and scholarly figures and conflicts, the depiction of Rubén Darío’s poetic legacy in this collection reveals his lasting impact on Aragón, whose verse illuminates a range of complex and passionate lives. Aragón’s translations (the originals are reproduced in an appendix) and ekphrastic re-visions of ten of Darío’s poems are daring and, indeed, 'blasphemous.'"
—Carmen Giménez Smith, author of Cruel Futures and Be Recorder
"Part imagined intimate diary of the poet Rubén Darío, part lyrical exploration of the rich inner life of poet Aragón, this pulsating book is an ode to the between-world of those who live a life dedicated to observation of words. Sonically charged lines that delve into solitude, travel, separation, grief, and the complex life of the outsider allow these poems to speak both to the individual Latinx experience and the universal desire to belong, to be heard."
—Ada Limón, author of The Carrying and Bright Dead Things