SOLITUDE IS A LIFE’S WORK
—translated from the Spanish by Rhina P. Espaillat
LA SOLEDAD ES OFICIO
—from Rattle #69, Fall 2020
Rhina P. Espaillat: “From my very first acquaintance with Belén Atienza and her work, I spotted her as a poet who deserves to be better known by readers of both our native Spanish and our second language, English. I find her poetry moving without sentimentality, beautifully crafted, accessible to the reader, and profoundly universal in its thematic scope. It does what good poetry is best at: it defies difference and teaches us, quietly but persuasively, how much more we human beings have in common than whatever it is we imagine divides us. I hope to translate much more of her work, and am delighted that this poem of hers is appearing, in my translation to English, in a publication I so respect and enjoy.”
Belén Atienza is a Spanish poet and Associate Professor of Hispanic Literature at Clark University, in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1998, she was selected by Toni Morrison and Gabriel García Márquez as one of the twelve bilingual Spanish/English writers to participate in their atelier about narrative. Prof. Atienza has published two volumes of poetry: Mi tierra es una lengua (El Salvador: La Chifurnia, 2020), where she narrates the experiences of her family during the Spanish Civil War in Spain; and Saltaparedes (Pontevedra: El taller del poeta, 2011). As a cultural historian, she is also the author of El loco en el espejo: locura y melancolía en la España de Lope de Vega (Rodopi: Amsterdam, 2008), a monograph about the history and representations of madness in Baroque Spain. This is the first time that one of her poems has been published in English, in a translation by Rhina P. Espaillat.