i. ore-bearing erranttextile, hydrofiliate.

Andrés Ajens
Translated from the Spanish by Erín Moure

a silence will have yet been spokenprior to the saying, its time, language and its metaphors,the ghastly potions, the wondrous ones, the neutral,one silence intercalated / between one, ibid and none,away past- or pre- its mission to obsequence,the celebration terribly,offering of an archangel anchoredor malediction, diction with descendents,prior yet to that silenceand prior to prior, meaning its image, ideya, and deposit-wandering textile, interwoven,lunation to lunation, of tough ropeor interjecture and lunacy pre-natal(cleavage and/or // yeow   womb of i-ambs). 

 Or in my arms. Trying not to fly out in space or water. The silence that is most assertably my mother tongue. Ore and oar. Then learning English. Space trepidly expandable. To mouth "unison" (ouch). 


Translator’s Note

The notes are the translator’s, made to let counter-noises run in, through and against the translated texts, troubling them as colonialism has troubled Chile, Ajens’ country. The work of Ajens embeds many counter-narratives and names that act as Southern resistances from within his text. In English, a translator can’t reconvey quite those same reverberations without turning them into explanations or footnotes of a Chilean culture and history of dominations that still seem “distant” to our North. Explanations can’t really account here. So rather than patiently explaining the ingressions and transgressions of the text (and his hemisphere) to northern readers (as Ajens did to me, his North-American reader), I created the note texts. They are traitorous notes. And thus, I believe, honest.

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Print This Poem

Photo of Andres Ajens

Andrés Ajens is an Andean-Chilean writer, author of fifteen books of poetry, hybrid criticism-poetry, and translation. Recent titles are La guaCa húmera (2022) and La golondrina húmera y otros poemas de Paul Celan (2022). He lives in Santiago de Chile, where he coordinates the poetry magazine Mar con soroche (Santiago/La Paz) and teaches Andean literature at the University of Chile. A selection of his poems, So-Lair Storm, will appear in English translation by Erín Moure from Black Sun Lit in 2024.

Photo of Erin Moure

Erín Moure is a poet and translator based in Montreal. She has published 18 books of poetry, essays, articles on translation, and two memoirs, and is translator or co-translator of 26 books, from French, Galician, Portunhol, Portuguese, Spanish, and Ukrainian into English, and Galician into French. Most recent translations: Chus Pato’s The Face of the Quartzes (2021) and Chantal Neveu’s This Radiant Life (2020). Theophylline: A Poetic Migration via the Modernisms of Rukeyser, Bishop, Grimké, is upcoming in 2023 from House of Anansi Press in Toronto.

Logo of World Poetry Review

Issue 8


University of Connecticut

Chris Clarke

Founding Editors
Peter Constantine
Brian Sneeden

World Poetry Review is a biannual literary journal dedicated to publishing English translations of exceptional poetry from a diverse range of languages, cultures, and eras. Based in the Literary Translation Program at the University of Connecticut, where it was founded in 2017 by Peter Constantine and Brian Sneeden as New Poetry in Translation, the journal was redesigned and relaunched under its new name in September 2022.

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.