Assault on Time

Image

And take upon’s the mystery of things,

As if we were God’s spies.

Shakespeare, King Lear, act 5, scene 3

 

 ASALTO AL TIEMPO

1.

Detrás de la palabra está el silencio.  Detrás de lo que suena está la puerta.  En cada cosa hay un envés y un pliegue que se oculta.  Y lo que se acercaba se cayó y se detuvo lejos en la cercanía.  Una expresión se duerme y se levanta.  Y lo que estaba allá regresa.  Es una forma de volver el mundo a su lugar.  Y algo vuelve cuando debiera quedarse recordando.

Pero si toco el timbre el agua salta y el río vuelve a caer del agua y el cuerpo se levanta y vibra.  Y la piedra se despierta y dice canto.  Y la mano se transforma en un pañuelo.  Y compañeros son el crepúsculo y el viento.  Y ese crepúsculo aparece en medio de un relámpago.  Fuera hay un pájaro y un árbol y una rama y aquel relámpago.  Y sobre todo hay mediodía sin forma.  Y de repente todo adquiere movimiento.  Dos viajeros se encuentran y sus zapatos bailan.  Y chocan la brisa y la mañana.  Y corre la gaviota y el conejo vuela.  Y corre y corre y corría la corriente.  Detrás de eso que corre está la vida.  Detrás de ese silencio está la puerta.

 

2.

Hola.  Como regresaste tarde olvidé que te había escrito una línea, y recordé que la línea del libro había recogido un papel que me mandaste para que le escribiera al libro un recuerdo.  Otra vez te has olvidado de las comas.  No, no me olvidé.  Ellas olvidaron ponerle un punto final a la memoria.  Recordé la memoria cuando ya no podía escribirle.  Y luego tuve miedo de insistir.  No ha regresado todavía.  Si no regresa tendré que borrar la página cinco.  La memoria estaba en la lista de los invitados.  Pero olvidé su número de teléfono.  Luego caminé hasta la octava avenida de la página tres y me encontré de pronto con el olvido.  Crucé la avenida en la página diez y luego miré el horizonte de la página tres y borré la noche.  Estoy en el día de la página cinco.  El encuentro con el olvido fue gratuito.  No esperaba encontrarte en el camino.  Creía que tu visita llegaría en la página treinta.  Pero te has adelantado.  Estoy sentado a la izquierda de este libro.  Conversamos.

 

3.

Sí, es cierto.  Las preguntas no cambian la verdad.  Pero le dan movimiento.  Hacen que se enfoque mi verdad desde otro ángulo.  Y tú dijiste:  estamos lavando la verdad.  Hay que aclarar asuntos.

No dices la verdad y al cabo tu chaqueta vuelve hecha de otro material, y tus zapatos dicen que sí, y regresan a ti diciendo mi verdad.  Aunque ahora llueva puede que adentro tu verdad sea que no llueve como llueve afuera.  Aunque calle puede que hables lo que pienso cuando te callabas.  Pero no me hagas caso y vuelve a comenzar a decirme ven cuando dijiste vete.  No esperes entonces que te escuche cuando me digas ven.  Vendrás con tu palabra fuera y se abrirá la puerta.  Escucho esa palabra y se entorna la puerta.  Vendrás entonces y ya sabré decirte: fuera.

 

ASSAULT ON TIME

1.

Behind the word is silence.  Behind what sounds is the door.  There is a back and a fold hiding in everything. And what was approaching fell and stopped far away in proximity.  An expression falls asleep and rises.  And what was over there returns.  It’s a way to put the world back in its place.  And something comes back when it should remain remembering.  

But if I ring the bell, water jumps and a river falls out of the water again.  And the body rises and shakes.  And the rock wakes and says I sing.  And a hand turns into a kerchief.  And twilight and wind are companions.  And this twilight appears amid lightning.  Outside there is a bird and a branch and a tree and that lightning.  Above all, there is noon without form.  And suddenly everything acquires movement.  Two travelers meet and their shoes dance.  And breeze and morning clash.  And the seagull runs and the rabbit flies.  And runs and runs, and the current ran.  Behind what runs is life.  Behind that silence is the door.

 

2.

Hello.  Since you came back late I forgot that I’d written you a line, but I remembered that the line from the book had picked up a paper you sent me so that I’d jot down a memory for the book.  You’ve forgotten the commas again.  No, I haven’t.  They forgot to end memory with a period.  I remembered memory when I could no longer write to her.  But then I was afraid to insist.  She hasn’t come back yet.  If she doesn’t come back, I’ll have to erase page five.  Memory was on the guest list.  But I forgot her telephone number.  Then I walked to eighth avenue of page thee and suddenly met forgetfulness.  I crossed the avenue on page ten and saw the horizon of page three and erased the night.  Now I’m on the day of page five.  Forgetfulness dropped by unannounced.  I wasn’t expecting to find you on the way.  I thought you would stop by on page thirty.  But you’re early.  I’m sitting to the left of this book.  We talk.

 

3.

Sure, it’s true.  Questions don’t change the truth.  But they give it motion.  They focus my truth from another angle.  And you said: we’re cleaning up the truth.  We must clarify certain things.

 You don’t tell the truth and your jacket eventually comes back made of another material, and your shoes say sure! and run back to you telling my truth.  Even if it’s raining now, your truth may be that it’s not raining inside like it’s raining outside.  Though silent you may be saying what I’m thinking when you weren’t talking.  Don’t pay attention to me and keep saying come when you said go.  Then don’t expect me to listen when you say come.  You’ll come with your words get out and the door will open.  I hear those words and the door opens halfway.  Then you’ll come and I’ll know how to say: get out.

 

Modern Language Association Presents: United States of Banana

gbcaras

Saturday, January 5, 2013 in Boston

Modern Language Association Convention             

SPECIAL EVENT!  A Dramatic Reading by Giannina Braschi, UNITED STATES OF BANANA @ 7:00–8:15 p.m., 206, Hynes Center, Boston

Hailed “The Wasteland of the 21st Century” by The Evergreen Review, Giannina Braschi’s revolutionary new work United States of Banana  is the subject of a dramatic performance and a scholarly panel at the Modern Language Association’s annual convention.   Braschi is the author of the postmodern poetry classic Empire of Dreams and the bestselling Spanglish novel Yo-Yo Boing! These titles form a mixed-genre trilogy on the subject of the American immigrant.  A 7pm performance by the author in the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Center, follows a scholarly panel earlier in the day by Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé, Maritza Stanchich, and Cristina Garrigós entitled Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana: Revolutionary in Subject and Form” (12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Back Bay C, Sheraton Hotel).  Tess O’Dwyer, who translated Empire of Dreams and Yo-Yo Boing! from Spanish into English, serves as moderator.

Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana: Revolutionary in Subject and Form”, A Scholarly Panel @ 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Back Bay C, Sheraton Hotel

 ABSTRACTS: 

 “Under the Skirt of Liberty:  Giannina Braschi Rewrites Empire” by Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé (Fordham University)

Description:

For the last two decades discourses on empire have been the province of postcolonial diasporic critics.  Writing from the vantage point of exile or diaspora, postcolonial critics, such as Said, Spivak, Bhabha, and Glissant, have meditated on questions of power and resistance in the relationship between former colonies and their metropolitan imperial centers in the current postcolonial world.  More recently Hardt and Negri have extended this meditation to the contemporary global economic system.  In her latest book, United States of Banana, New York Puerto Rican writer Giannina Braschi joins this meditation on agency and resistance but not from the vantage point of postcolonial exile but from that of colonial diasporas, such as the New York Puerto Rican community.  Using 911 and the current economic crisis as a catalyst for her critique, Braschi extends her previous dialogue with high modernism in her Empire of Dreams, to discourses on postcoloniality and globalization.  In my paper I will draw out the lines of this critique of postcoloniality and globalization from the vantage point of colonial diasporic subjectivity in the center of high modernism and postmodernism:  New York.

Biographical Note:

Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé is Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Fordham University in New York.  His most recent book is Queer Latino Testimonio, Keith Haring, and Juanito Xtravaganza: Hard Tails (Palgrave 2007), a book about the relationship between high art and Latino popular culture in the gentrifying New York of the 1980s.  He is also author of a study on the intersections of nationalism and sexuality in the prose fiction of the Cuban author, José Lezama Lima, El primitivo implorante, and coeditor, with Martin Manalansan, of Queer Globalization: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism (New York UP 2002).  He has published widely on Hispanic Caribbean and U.S. Latino literatures and cultures.  His essays have appeared in anthologies such as Entiendes? Queer Readings/Hispanic Writings (Duke 1995), Sex and Sexuality in Latin America (NYU 1997), and Queer Representations (NYU 1997), and in journals such as Revista Iberoamericana, differences, Revista de Crítica Cultural, Cuban Studies, and Centro: The Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies

******************************************************  

“Whose English is it Anyway? Giannina Braschi Levels the Bilingual Playing Field” by Maritza Stanchich (University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras)

Description

Giannina Braschi’s highly anticipated new novel The United States of Banana (2011), in line of flight from her groundbreaking quasi-novel Yo-Yo Boing! (1998), marks a paradigmatic shift in the millennial poetics of witness of Whitman and Martí’s New York with a high/low transcanonical, inter and transAmerican postmodern performance that levels the playing field to bring parity to the charged terrain of English/Spanish bilingualism. In Banana, Braschi proposes simultaneously post modern and protest poetics in dizzying global/local contexts, as U.S. global hegemony declines post 9/11, as the United States has fast become the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world, and as its colony Puerto Rico faces a historic crisis only deepened under local annexationist leadership. In both works, Braschi’s vanguard bilingual performance breaks with previous theorizations of the functions of interlingualism in diasporic Puerto Rican and Chicano theory (Juan Bruce-Novoa 1990; Juan Flores and George Yúdice 1990; Frances Aparicio 1988, 1997), as well as with Puerto Rico’s insular cultural nationalist linguistic discourses. In doing so, Braschi challenges a transimperial history of global power relations between English and Spanish (Mignolo 2000) with literary language that exceeds canonical traditions. Braschi also brings to the fore a vein of avant-garde literature of the Puerto Rican diaspora, along with the distinct projects of Urayoán Noel, Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, and the late Edgardo Vega Yunqué, as well as what I elsewhere call Post-Nuyorican literature, along with poets who uniquely venture into broadly comparative and international terrains, including Victor Hernández Cruz, whose most recent work explores Arabic and African linguistic influences in Spain, and Martín Espada, whose work straddles pan-Latino, trans-American literary traditions, engaging Latin American history as well as a global poetics of dissent.

Biographical Note

Maritza Stanchich, PhD, is an Academic Senator and Associate Professor of English for the College of Humanities at University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, where she teaches Caribbean, U.S., and U.S. Latina/o Literatures. Her scholarship on literature of the Puerto Rican diaspora and William Faulkner has appeared in Sargasso and Mississippi Quarterly, respectively. She has also published in Prospero’s Isles: The Presence of the Caribbean in the American Imaginary (2004), Writing Of(f) the Hyphen: New Critical Perspectives on the Literature of the Puerto Rican Diaspora (2008), and Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration: Narratives of Displacement (2010). She previously worked as an award-winning journalist in New York, Washington DC, and San Juan. Her recent columns for The Huffington Post and The New York Times have helped bring international attention to the crisis in Puerto Rico. She has also worked for academic unionization at University of California and with the Puerto Rican Association of University Professors (APPU).

******************************************************  

“Breaking the Borders: Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana” by Cristina Garrigós, Universidad de León, Spain

Description

Giannina Braschi’s last novel, United States of Banana, combines characters from her previous works, such as Mariquita Samper, Giannina, and even the Statue of Liberty, that appear now interacting with Calderon’s Segismundo, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. This makes it possible to read Braschi’s oeuvre as a whole and to observe in her writing a tendency towards continuity instead of rupture that is carried out in different levels. In a literary level, besides the intertextual inner and outer references, the book conveys a fragmentary discourse, through an aesthetic that defies the boundaries of the poetic, the dramatic, and the non-fiction essay. In this sense, it would fit into what Don De Lillo calls a “counter-narrative” (“In the Ruins of the Future”). Apocalyptic and deeply philosophical, Braschi’s text offers a reflection on the role of the human being, specifically, the latino writer in a global context where political, economical, social and linguistic boundaries are also questioned and erased, as epitomized by the relationship of Puerto Rico with the United States, and the destruction of the World Trade Center.  In this sense, my paper will analyze the fluidity of borders in her text in the different aspects mentioned above.

Biographical Note

Cristina Garrigós is Associate Professor at the University of Leon in Spain. She has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Seville (1999) with a dissertation on the intertextuality in the work of John Barth, and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Universidad de Leon, and Texas A&M International University. Her research interests include Postmodernism, Feminism, Literary and Film Theory, Bilingualism, and Borders. She wrote the book Un autor en busca de cuatro personajes: Ulises, Sherezade, Don Quijote y Huckleberry Finn en la obra de John Barth (University of Leon, Spain, 2000), and served as editor of La mujer quijote (Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote, Spanish Edition, 2004) and El 11 de Septiembre y la tradición disidente en Estados Unidos (University of Valencia, 2011). She published the interview entitled “Chicken with the Head Off: Una conversación con Giannina Braschi” (Voices of America/Voces de America. Alonso Gallo, Laura, Ed.  Cádiz: Aduana Vieja, 2004), as well as the article “Bilingues, biculturales y Postmodernas: Rosario Ferré y Giannina Braschi”  (Insula. 667-668 Las Otras Orillas del Español: Las Literaturas Hispánicas de los Estados Unidos, 2002).

http://americanpoetrytoday.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/under-the-skirt-of-liberty-mla-presents-giannina-braschi-in-boston-january-5-2013/

Related TV news videos: Interviews with the author. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ58UuLwsJs

http://www.wapa.tv/noticias/especiales/orgullo-boricua–giannina-braschi_20111205213641.html

 

Modern Language Association 2013: United States of Banana

gbcaras

Saturday, January 5, 2013 in Boston

Modern Language Association Convention             

SPECIAL EVENT!  A Dramatic Reading by Giannina Braschi, UNITED STATES OF BANANA @ 7:00–8:15 p.m., 206, Hynes Center, Boston

Hailed “The Wasteland of the 21st Century” by The Evergreen Review, Giannina Braschi’s revolutionary new work United States of Banana  is the subject of a dramatic performance and a scholarly panel at the Modern Language Association’s annual convention.   Braschi is the author of the postmodern poetry classic Empire of Dreams and the bestselling Spanglish novel Yo-Yo Boing! These titles form a mixed-genre trilogy on the subject of the American immigrant.  A 7pm performance by the author in the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Center, follows a scholarly panel earlier in the day by Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé, Maritza Stanchich, and Cristina Garrigós entitled Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana: Revolutionary in Subject and Form” (12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Back Bay C, Sheraton Hotel).  Tess O’Dwyer, who translated Empire of Dreams and Yo-Yo Boing! from Spanish into English, serves as moderator.

Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana: Revolutionary in Subject and Form”, A Scholarly Panel @ 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Back Bay C, Sheraton Hotel

 

ABSTRACTS:

 

“Under the Skirt of Liberty:  Giannina Braschi Rewrites Empire” by Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé (Fordham University)

Description:

For the last two decades discourses on empire have been the province of postcolonial diasporic critics.  Writing from the vantage point of exile or diaspora, postcolonial critics, such as Said, Spivak, Bhabha, and Glissant, have meditated on questions of power and resistance in the relationship between former colonies and their metropolitan imperial centers in the current postcolonial world.  More recently Hardt and Negri have extended this meditation to the contemporary global economic system.  In her latest book, United States of Banana, New York Puerto Rican writer Giannina Braschi joins this meditation on agency and resistance but not from the vantage point of postcolonial exile but from that of colonial diasporas, such as the New York Puerto Rican community.  Using 911 and the current economic crisis as a catalyst for her critique, Braschi extends her previous dialogue with high modernism in her Empire of Dreams, to discourses on postcoloniality and globalization.  In my paper I will draw out the lines of this critique of postcoloniality and globalization from the vantage point of colonial diasporic subjectivity in the center of high modernism and postmodernism:  New York.

Biographical Note:

Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé is Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Fordham University in New York.  His most recent book is Queer Latino Testimonio, Keith Haring, and Juanito Xtravaganza: Hard Tails (Palgrave 2007), a book about the relationship between high art and Latino popular culture in the gentrifying New York of the 1980s.  He is also author of a study on the intersections of nationalism and sexuality in the prose fiction of the Cuban author, José Lezama Lima, El primitivo implorante, and coeditor, with Martin Manalansan, of Queer Globalization: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism (New York UP 2002).  He has published widely on Hispanic Caribbean and U.S. Latino literatures and cultures.  His essays have appeared in anthologies such as Entiendes? Queer Readings/Hispanic Writings (Duke 1995), Sex and Sexuality in Latin America (NYU 1997), and Queer Representations (NYU 1997), and in journals such as Revista Iberoamericana, differences, Revista de Crítica Cultural, Cuban Studies, and Centro: The Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies

******************************************************  

“Whose English is it Anyway? Giannina Braschi Levels the Bilingual Playing Field” by Maritza Stanchich (University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras)

Description

Giannina Braschi’s highly anticipated new novel The United States of Banana (2011), in line of flight from her groundbreaking quasi-novel Yo-Yo Boing! (1998), marks a paradigmatic shift in the millennial poetics of witness of Whitman and Martí’s New York with a high/low transcanonical, inter and transAmerican postmodern performance that levels the playing field to bring parity to the charged terrain of English/Spanish bilingualism. In Banana, Braschi proposes simultaneously post modern and protest poetics in dizzying global/local contexts, as U.S. global hegemony declines post 9/11, as the United States has fast become the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world, and as its colony Puerto Rico faces a historic crisis only deepened under local annexationist leadership. In both works, Braschi’s vanguard bilingual performance breaks with previous theorizations of the functions of interlingualism in diasporic Puerto Rican and Chicano theory (Juan Bruce-Novoa 1990; Juan Flores and George Yúdice 1990; Frances Aparicio 1988, 1997), as well as with Puerto Rico’s insular cultural nationalist linguistic discourses. In doing so, Braschi challenges a transimperial history of global power relations between English and Spanish (Mignolo 2000) with literary language that exceeds canonical traditions. Braschi also brings to the fore a vein of avant-garde literature of the Puerto Rican diaspora, along with the distinct projects of Urayoán Noel, Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, and the late Edgardo Vega Yunqué, as well as what I elsewhere call Post-Nuyorican literature, along with poets who uniquely venture into broadly comparative and international terrains, including Victor Hernández Cruz, whose most recent work explores Arabic and African linguistic influences in Spain, and Martín Espada, whose work straddles pan-Latino, trans-American literary traditions, engaging Latin American history as well as a global poetics of dissent.

Biographical Note

Maritza Stanchich, PhD, is an Academic Senator and Associate Professor of English for the College of Humanities at University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, where she teaches Caribbean, U.S., and U.S. Latina/o Literatures. Her scholarship on literature of the Puerto Rican diaspora and William Faulkner has appeared in Sargasso and Mississippi Quarterly, respectively. She has also published in Prospero’s Isles: The Presence of the Caribbean in the American Imaginary (2004), Writing Of(f) the Hyphen: New Critical Perspectives on the Literature of the Puerto Rican Diaspora (2008), and Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration: Narratives of Displacement (2010). She previously worked as an award-winning journalist in New York, Washington DC, and San Juan. Her recent columns for The Huffington Post and The New York Times have helped bring international attention to the crisis in Puerto Rico. She has also worked for academic unionization at University of California and with the Puerto Rican Association of University Professors (APPU).

******************************************************  

“Breaking the Borders: Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana” by Cristina Garrigós, Universidad de León, Spain

Description

Giannina Braschi’s last novel, United States of Banana, combines characters from her previous works, such as Mariquita Samper, Giannina, and even the Statue of Liberty, that appear now interacting with Calderon’s Segismundo, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. This makes it possible to read Braschi’s oeuvre as a whole and to observe in her writing a tendency towards continuity instead of rupture that is carried out in different levels. In a literary level, besides the intertextual inner and outer references, the book conveys a fragmentary discourse, through an aesthetic that defies the boundaries of the poetic, the dramatic, and the non-fiction essay. In this sense, it would fit into what Don De Lillo calls a “counter-narrative” (“In the Ruins of the Future”). Apocalyptic and deeply philosophical, Braschi’s text offers a reflection on the role of the human being, specifically, the latino writer in a global context where political, economical, social and linguistic boundaries are also questioned and erased, as epitomized by the relationship of Puerto Rico with the United States, and the destruction of the World Trade Center.  In this sense, my paper will analyze the fluidity of borders in her text in the different aspects mentioned above.

Biographical Note

Cristina Garrigós is Associate Professor at the University of Leon in Spain. She has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Seville (1999) with a dissertation on the intertextuality in the work of John Barth, and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Universidad de Leon, and Texas A&M International University. Her research interests include Postmodernism, Feminism, Literary and Film Theory, Bilingualism, and Borders. She wrote the book Un autor en busca de cuatro personajes: Ulises, Sherezade, Don Quijote y Huckleberry Finn en la obra de John Barth (University of Leon, Spain, 2000), and served as editor of La mujer quijote (Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote, Spanish Edition, 2004) and El 11 de Septiembre y la tradición disidente en Estados Unidos (University of Valencia, 2011). She published the interview entitled “Chicken with the Head Off: Una conversación con Giannina Braschi” (Voices of America/Voces de America. Alonso Gallo, Laura, Ed.  Cádiz: Aduana Vieja, 2004), as well as the article “Bilingues, biculturales y Postmodernas: Rosario Ferré y Giannina Braschi”  (Insula. 667-668 Las Otras Orillas del Español: Las Literaturas Hispánicas de los Estados Unidos, 2002).

http://americanpoetrytoday.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/under-the-skirt-of-liberty-mla-presents-giannina-braschi-in-boston-january-5-2013/

Related TV news videos: Interviews with the author. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ58UuLwsJs

http://www.wapa.tv/noticias/especiales/orgullo-boricua–giannina-braschi_20111205213641.html

 

Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inspiration for Poetry

New Yorker Giannina Braschi finds inspiration in the Puerto Rican Day Parade on 5th Avenue, one of the largest parades in New York City with nearly 3 million spectators annually. The parade is the subject of Braschi’s classic poetry collection “El imperio de los sueños”, which was recently re-released by AmazonCrossing for World Literature in Translation in Spanish and English editions, in paperback and Kindle.

In this postmodern trilogy of the late 1980s, shepherds from the countryside invade, conquer, and colonize New York City on the Puerto Rican Day Parade, ringing the bells of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and overtaking the top floor of the Empire State Building where they sing and dance. This comic bucolic revolution evokes the longstanding Spanish tradition of pastoral poetry while conjuring the modern day images of New York City with all its energy and euphoria on the day of the parade.

In Braschi’s latest book, “United States of Banana”, that same revolutionary energy explodes in the resorts of San Juan, Puerto Rico–the author’s hometown–and runs south throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Braschi first published “El imperio de los sueños” in Spanish in 1988, the tour de force novel “Yo-Yo Boing!” in Spanglish in the 1998, and the dramatic new work of fiction “United States of Banana” in English in 2011. With these three books in three languages, the poet explores the linguistic and cultural journey of 50 million Hispanic-Americans living in the United States and debates the three political options of Puerto Rico—nation, colony, or state—as wishy, wishy-washy, or washy.

The Puerto Rican Day Parade celebrates the cultural heritage of 4 million Puerto Rican islanders and millions more on the mainland. In “United States of Banana”, Braschi discusses what it means to be a Puerto Rican writer: “Soy boricua. In spite of my family and in spite of my country, I’m writing the process of the Puerto Rican mind—taking it out of context—as a native and a foreigner—expressing it through Spanish, Spanglish, and English—Independencia, Estado Libre Asociado, and Estadidad—from the position of a nation, a colony, and a state—Wishy, Wishy-Washy, and Washy—not as one political party that is parted into piddley parts and partied out…”

Giannina Braschi’s titles are available from AmazonCrossing which makes award-winning and bestselling foreign languages authors accessible to English language readers for the first time. President of the Nobel committee for literature, Per Wästberg stated, “I have seen how recent laureates–Elfriede Jelinek…Le Clézio, Herta Müller–were virtually unknown and unprinted in England and the U.S. and only after the Nobel Prize were they able to find readers in English… AmazonCrossing deserves praise. Such translation and distribution of good literature…can only stimulate our cultures and inspire writers to widen their horizons.” AmazoncCrossing assesses awards, reviews, customer sales data, and other information from amazon sites around the world to identify, then acquire the rights, commission translations, and introduce compelling voices to the English-speaking market through multiple channels and formats, such as the amazon books store, amazon kindle store, and other national and independent booksellers. Giannina Braschi is the first Puerto Rican author to be launched globally by Amazon.

A poem from “Pastoral; or the Inquisition of Memories” in “Empire of Dreams”

Translation by Tess O’Dwyer

On the top floor of the Empire State a shepherd has stood up to sing and dance. What a wonderful thing. That New York City has been invaded by so many shepherds. That work has stopped and there is only singing and dancing. And that the newspapers—the New York Times, in headlines, and the Daily News—call out: New York. New York. New York. Listen to it. Hear it on the radio. And on television. Listen to the loudspeakers. Listen to it. The buffoons have died. And the little lead soldier. Shepherds have invaded New York. They have conquered New York. They have colonized New York. The special of the day in New York’s most expensive restaurant is golden acorn. It’s an egg. It’s an apple. It’s a bird. Fish. Melody. Poetry. And epigram. Now there is only song. Now there is only dance. Now we do whatever we please. Whatever we please. Whatever we damn well please.

HISPANIC NEW YORK: http://hispanicnewyorkproject.blogspot.com/2012/06/puerto-rican-day-parade-prose-poem-by.html?spref=tw

嘉尼娜•布拉斯奇

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Giannina Braschi

嘉尼娜•布拉斯奇是一位独具开创性的波多黎各小说家兼诗人,她创作了一部新的寓言讽喻小说《香蕉合众国》,持续探讨西语裔美国人的遭遇。这是作者首次英文原创小说。

 

作品故事发生在后9/11时期纽约市自由女神像旁,哈姆雷特、查拉图斯特拉、和嘉尼娜三人在寻求释放波多黎各囚犯西吉斯蒙多。西吉斯蒙多被他父亲——香蕉合众国国王——藏匿并囚禁在自由地牢里超过百年,罪名仅因为他的降生。国王再婚后,将儿子释放,同时为了和解,将波多黎各变成第五十一州,还给所有拉丁美洲公民颁发美国护照。这一惊人的慷慨之举震撼全球社会,不期造成意义深远的权力转移。在一场为自由而重新结盟的全球斗争中,香蕉合众国大书特书了一则个人独立宣言。

 

嘉尼娜•布拉斯奇是波多黎各最具影响的作家,她多才多艺,擅长诗歌、小说、散文。从事写作之前,十来岁上得过网球冠军,当过时装模特。曾住马德里、巴黎、罗马、和伦敦,后定居纽约,在高露洁大学、罗格斯大学、纽约市立大学任教。她拥有西班牙黄金时代文学博士学位,曾书评过塞万提斯(Cervantes)、加尔西拉索(Garcilaso)、洛尔卡(Lorca)、马沙杜(Machado)、巴列霍(Vallejo)、贝克尔(Becquer)。布拉斯奇是《梦想帝国》(Empire of Dreams)和《悠悠宝!》(Yo-Yo Boing!)的作者,其文笔犀利,获得多个文学团体和基金的认可,如国家艺术基金会、纽约艺术基金会、《每日新闻报》(El Diario)、国际笔会、福特基金会、丹福斯奖学金、波多黎各文化研究院、里德基金会等。她采用三种语言写作——西班牙文、西班牙式英文、英文——以探讨西班牙语拉美移民的文化适应过程,并表达她对自己岛国——母土、殖民地、州——三种政治选择的态度。布拉斯奇一生的工作都在唤起解放。

 

The Story of America Begins Here

Berättelsen om Amerika Börjar Nu

Giannina Braschi: ”Drömmarnas imperium” Publicerad 2012-05-25 08:36 Giannina Braschis prosa tar färg och tempo från gatans poesi. Samtidigt är den lärd och full av litterära referenser. Hennes skildring av 11 september är något alldeles nytt och eget, skriver Ingrid Elam.

 

Kort tid efter 11 september 2001 började de skönlitterära bearbetningarna av katastrofen komma, Jonathan Safran Foers ”Extremt högt och otroligt nära” publicerades 2005 och två år senare gav Don de Lillo ut ”Falling man”. Nu föreligger också delar av det hittills kanske mest originella bidraget till litteraturen om 11 september-attackerna i svensk översättning, Giannina Braschis ”United States of Banana” från 2011, som får inleda urvalsvolymen ”Drömmarnas imperium”. Så här kan det låta: Valmöjligheterna är absurda. De kan välja mellan potatismos, pommes frites och bakad potatis. Men hur man än serverar den är det samma potatis. Om du frågar mig om det är bättre att vara conquistada por un conquistador o exterminada por un exterminador, prefiero ser vencida Braschi skriver en prosa som tar färg och tempo av gatans poesi med dess speciella tilltal, hiphop-rytmer och stilblandning, men hon skriver inte på gatans språk utan på en bildad, litterär engelska och spanska, full av sofistikerade ordlekar. I korta stycken fångar hon tillståndet efter 11 september, mardrömmarna, skräcksynerna, politikens förfall. Vad finns kvar i New York? Staden iakttas av en spanskspråkig invandrare som talar direkt till alla som vill höra. Vilka är människans villkor nu? Kroppsdelar far genom luften, där faller en man i vit skjorta utan ben och huvud, här två avslitna händer som fortfarande håller varandra. Allt faller, tornen, börsen, människovärdet. Det är en apokalyps på blandat och brutet talspråk men det är också, märker man efter hand, en filosofisk betraktelse över 2000-talets öde land. Den genljuder av lärda referenser, inte bara kroppsdelar utan även diktrader och delar av dramatiska dialoger fladdrar förbi i efterskalvens luftvirvlar, en bit Yeats, en trasa Eliot, en essäsnutt Benjamin. Giannina Braschi doktorerade i litteraturvetenskap på 1970-talet, hon rör sig på ett västerländskt bildningsfält, men hon experimenterar fritt med de plantor som växer där och vänder upp och ner på hierarkier. Viktigast bland undertexterna är Shakespeares ”Hamlet” och Calderóns ”Livet en dröm”. Den senare handlar om prins Segismundo som låstes in av sin far i en jordhåla och växte upp där utan kontakt med världen utanför. Det är ingen tvekan om vem av de två som har jagberättarens sympati, Hamlet som dödar i skydd av ett draperi och tvekar där Ofelia vågar ta språnget ut på djupt vatten, eller Segismundo som reser sig mot sin far och mot alla odds lyckas vända sitt öde. Braschi lägger perspektivet konsekvent hos invandraren – själv är hon född i Puerto Rico – hon insisterar på att det spanska arvet är lika viktigt som det anglosaxiska och att berättelsen om Amerika måste skrivas om efter 11 september. Saf¬ran Foers och de Lillos romaner är i grunden traditionella berättelser om några livsöden i skuggan av katastrofen, medan Braschi gör något nytt och eget. Det handlar inte så mycket om vad hon berättar utan vad formen säger, nämligen att Amerika varken är en smältdegel eller består av många från varandra åtskilda ghetton. I stället är hennes Amerika en väv där alla inslag syns och berör varandra. Braschis bidrag till den nya berättelsen är allt annat än realistisk eller harmonisk, snarast blasfemisk, full av förtvivlan och svart humor. ”United States of Bananas ”är hennes senaste bok men den ligger först i det svenska urvalet som i övrigt rymmer en mindre bit ur ”Yo-Yo Boing!” från 1998 och en längre ur den bok som också är urvalsvolymens titel, ”Drömmarnas imperium” från 1988. Det är en klok omvänd ordning, de tidigare verken är svårare att ta till sig i bokform, ”Yo-Yo Boing!” blandar två språk till spanglish och de korta prosastyckena i ”Drömmarnas imperium” är hallucinatoriska New York-impressioner – före tornens fall. Båda är med sin rastlöst svängande rörelse som gjorda för högläsning. De två översättarna, poeterna Helena Eriksson och Hanna Nordenhök bidrar med var sitt efterord, Nordenhöks är en introducerande miniessä medan Eriksson snarast skriver vidare på Braschis text. Deras översättningar är utmärkta och fångar känslan av att befinna sig i den del av Amerika där människor möts i ett brokigt men ändå samlevnadsmöjligt flöde av språk och erfarenheter: New York.

Ingrid Elam litteratur@dn.se

 

http://www.dn.se/dnbok/bokrecensioner/giannina-braschi-drommarnas-imperium

Library of Congress National Book Festival 2012

BookNews, Washington, DC, June 2012:

With the President and Mrs. Obama serving as Co-Chairs, the 2012 Library of Congress National Book Festival will convene headlining poets and writers such as Philip Roth, Mario Vargas Llosa, Giannina Braschi, Jeffrey Eugenides, Philip Levine, and Nikky Finney.

The National Book Festival will take place on Saturday, September 22nd and Sunday, September 23, 2012, between 9th and 14th streets on the National Mall. The event, free and open to the public, will run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, rain or shine. Festival-goers can meet and hear firsthand from the poets and writers, have books signed, and take their photos with PBS storybook characters. An estimated 200,000 people will attend.

Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for “American Pastoral.” In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House, and in 2002 received the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction. He has twice won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. “The Plot Against America” won the Society of American Historians’ prize for outstanding historical novel on an American theme in 2003–2004.

Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, has used his writing to oppose authoritarianism and to condemn societies that fetter personal freedom. His works include “The Time of the Hero” (1963), “The Green House” (1966), “Conversation in the Cathedral” (1969), “The War of the End of the World” (1987), “The Storyteller” (1987) and “The Dream of the Celt” (2010). In the early 1970s Vargas Llosa began to advocate democracy and the free market. In the late 1980s he ran unsuccessfully for the presidency of Peru, recorded in his memoir “A Fish in the Water” (1993).

 

Giannina Braschi, called “one of the most revolutionary voices in Latin America today” by the PEN American World Voices Festival, wrote the postmodern poetry classic “Empire of Dreams” and the Spanglish tour de force novel “Yo-Yo Boing!” The Associated Press praised Braschi’s explosive new book “United States of Banana” (AmazonCrossing 2011) as a work of unlimited imagination and fearless language. She writes in a blend of poetry, prose, and drama, also mixing Spanish, Spanglish, and English. She writes in these three languages to express the enculturation process of millions of Hispanic immigrants to the USA and to explore the three politic options of her native Puerto Rico–Nation, Colony or State. She has won grant/awards from National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Ford, Danforth, and Reed Foundations, Puerto Rican Institute of Culture, and PEN American Center.

Jeffrey Eugenides, a native of Detroit, published his first novel, “The Virgin Suicides,” to acclaim in 1993. His novel “Middlesex” won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, Best American Short Stories, The Gettysburg Review and Granta’s “Best of Young American Novelists.”

Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, a child of activists. She came of age during the civil rights and Black Arts Movements. Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). Professor of English and creative writing at the University of Kentucky, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997) edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co- founded the Affrilachian Poets. Finney’s fourth book of poetry, Head Off & Split was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.

The Library of Congress Pavilion will showcase treasures in the Library’s vast online collections and offer information about Library programs. Sponsor Target will reprise its “Family Storytelling Stage” featuring authors and musical acts popular with young children. The 2012 National Book Festival is made possible through the generous support of National Book Festival Board Co-Chair David M. Rubenstein; Charter Sponsors Target, The Washington Post and Wells Fargo; Patrons the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS KIDS; Contributors Barnes & Noble; Digital Bookmobile powered by OverDrive and Scholastic Inc.; and—in the Friends category–the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, The Hay Adams and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Thanks also to C-SPAN2’s Book TV, The Junior League of Washington and The Links. The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may be accessed through the Library’s website, www.loc.gov.