Luis Alberto de Cuenca
Translated from the Spanish by Gustavo Pérez Firmat

Give me your hand. We have to crossthe river and my strength fails me.Hold me as if I were an abandoned packagein a wicker basket, a lump that movesand cries in the twilight. Cross the riverwith me. Even if this time the watersdon't part before us. Even if this time Goddoesn't come to our aid and a flurry of arrowsriddles our backs. Even if there is no river. MoisésDame la mano. Hay que cruzar el ríopara llegar al otro lado, y sientoque las fuerzas me faltan. Cógemecomo si fuera un bulto abandonadoen un cesto de mimbre que se muevey que llora a las luces del crepúsculo.Cruza el río conmigo. Aunque sus aguasno replieguen su cauce ante nosotrosesta vez. Aunque Dios no nos asistay una nube de flechas acribillenuestras espaldas. Aunque no haya río.

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Luis Alberto de Cuenca

Prolific and multifaceted, Luis Alberto de Cuenca possesses one of Spain’s most distinctive poetic voices. As a self-described “pop poet,” he explores the expressive resources of the conversational register by making use of a variety of materials: comic books, cartoons, Hollywood movies, slang, urban culture. Perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, Cuenca has been a major influence on younger Spanish poets. In 2015 he received the National Poetry Prize for his book, Cuaderno de vacaciones. From 1996 to 2000 he was the Director of Spain’s national library and in 2021 won the prestigious Federico García Lorca International Poetry Prize.

Headshot of Gustavo Pérez Firmat

A writer and scholar, Gustavo Pérez Firmat is the David Feinson Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. He has published several books of poetry in Spanish and English, including Sin lengua, deslenguado and Bilingual Blues. His books of literary and cultural criticism include Life on the Hyphen, Tongue Ties and Saber de ausencia.

Cover of The Southern Review

Winter 2022

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana State University

Co-Editor & Poetry Editor
Jessica Faust

The Southern Review is one of the nation’s premiere literary journals. Hailed by Time as “superior to any other journal in the English language,” we have made literary history since our founding in 1935. We publish a diverse array of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by the country’s—and the world’s—most respected contemporary writers.

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