The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Idea Vilariño

Translated by Jesse Lee Kercheval

I Enter the Game


I enter the game
follow you smiling
I forget myself I
lose heart I forget
when you are here
when you love me
but when you’re here no longer
not yet here
how difficult
to love you.




Entro en el juego

Entro en el juego
hago de cuenta
te sigo me sonrío
me desentiendo me
abandono me olvido
cuando estás
cuando me amas
pero cuando ya no
aún no
qué difícil


Idea Vilariño

Translated by Jesse Lee Kercheval

One Summer


I make faces sometimes
so I don’t look so sad
to forget
to scare off my hard
my cruel thoughts
What do I have to do
to live through
this summer.
Its weighs on me
it weighs on me as if the sea
pressed all its weight
on my back
it pulls me under
in the blackest land of pain
your abandonment
leaves me there




Un verano

Hago muecas a veces
para no tener cara de tristeza
para olvidarme
para ahuyentar mis duros
mis crueles pensamientos.
Cómo he de hacer
para vivir aún
este verano.
Pesa mucho
me pesa como si el mar pesara
con su bloque tremendo
sobre mi espalda
me hunde
en la más negra tierra del dolor
y me deja
ahí deshecha
solo ahí
tu abandono.



Idea Vilariño

Translated by Jesse Lee Kercheval



What if I say to you that what I long for is not this
that a body is worth the same as another body
that any embrace will do
that I do not remember how it was.





Si te digo que lo que añoro no es eso
que un cuerpo vale otro cuerpo
que cualquier abrazo sirve
que no me acuerdo cómo era.


Idea Vilariño

Translated by Jesse Lee Kercheval



Love love
I will never catch you
now I will not know how you are.
I will not have lived one day
one night of love
one morning
no I never knew
I never had anyone
no one ever gave himself
nothing was mine
or he erased me from the world with his breath
What existed was pain
the only thing that was
that was overflowing witnessed was true
but where did it end up
what is certain now.
Today the only trace is a handkerchief
that someone keeps forgotten
a handkerchief with blood semen tears
that has turned yellow.
That is all. The love
where it was
how it was
why among so many nights there was never
a night a love
a love
a night of love
a word.




El amor

Amor amor
jamás te apresaré
ya no sabré cómo eras.
No habré vivido un día
una noche de amor
una mañana
no conocí jamás
no tuve a nadie
nunca nadie se dio
nada fue mío
ni me borró del mundo con su soplo.
Lo que hubo fue dolor
lo solo que hubo
que fue colmado atestiguó fue cierto
pero dónde quedó
qué consta ahora.
Hoy el único rastro es un pañuelo
que alguien guarda olvidado
un pañuelo con sangre semen lágrimas
que se ha vuelto amarillo.
Eso es todo. El amor
dónde estuvo
cómo era
por qué entre tantas noches no hubo nunca
una noche un amor
un amor
una noche de amor
una palabra.




IDEA VILARIÑO  (18 August 1920 – 28 April 2009) was an Uruguayan poet, essayist and literary critic and a well-known member of the literary and intellectual group, the Generation of ’45, that included Juan Carlos Onetti, Mario Benedetti, Amanda Berenguer, and, as an ex-officio, Argentinian member, Jorge Luis Borges. She was a high school literature teacher from 1952 until the military dictatorship in 1973. After the restoration of democracy until her death, she was a professor of literature at la Universidad de la República in Montevideo. She was the author of twelve books of poetry, among the best known are Nocturnos (1955) and Poemas de amor which was first published in 1957 but revised and republished numerous times during her life. Her collected poems Poesía completa was published in Uruguay in 2009. She was also the author of five books of essays and literary criticism.



JESSE LEE KERCHEVAL's most recent book America that island off the coast of France won the 2017 Dorset Prize and will be published by Tupelo Press. She is the author of fourteen books including the poetry collection Cinema Muto, winner of a Crab Orchard Open Selection Award; The Alice Stories, winner of the Prairie Schooner Fiction Book Prize; and the memoir Space, winner of the Alex Award from the American Library Association. She is also a translator, specializing in Uruguayan poetry, and a 2016 NEA in Translation Fellow. Her translations include The Invisible Bridge: Selected Poems of Circe Maia and Fable of an Inconsolable Man, by Javier Etchevarren. She is the editor of the anthologies Earth, Water and Sky: An Bilingual Anthology of Environmental Poetry and América invertida: An Anthology of Emerging Uruguayan Poets. She is currently the Zona Gale Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is the Director of the Program in Creative Writing.



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