The Ghetto, Seth Michelson’s translation of Tamara Kamenszain’s El ghetto is a poetry collection that reveals a speaker living in a liminal space, typical of exiles and migrants, where various languages, cultures, and identities are in constant dialog.
PRAISE FOR THE GHETTO
The poems in Tamara Kamenszain's book The Ghetto breathe and live boldly and beautifully in Seth Michelson's spot-on translations. Written in Spanish, with the ghosts of Hebrew and Yiddish never far in the background, these poems cast a discerning eye toward the meaning of words such as "ghetto," "exile," and "ancestors" in a world of borders, edges, and death. Yet, as in the poetry of Paul Celan, one of the guiding spirits of this book, what is beautiful is never fully abandoned. "Today in the crowns of the trees all my roots flower," she writes in the poem "Tree of Life," offering vision and salvation from within the landscape of a Jewish cemetery in Buenos Aires. Thanks to Seth Michelson, this book is now a marvelous and significant contribution to English language as well as Argentinean verse.
--Gail Wronsky, translator of Flowering Fires/Fuegos Florales by Alicia Partnoy
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tamara Kamenszain is the author of ten full-length books of original poetry, beginning with De este lado del Mediterráneo (l973) and including most recently El libro de los divanes (2014). She has also published four scholarly books about poetry. To date, her poetry has been translated into Portuguese, Italian, German, and English, and it can be found in anthologies around the world. Her many prizes include a Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry, a Pablo Neruda Medal of Honor from the President of Chile, two Konex prizes for poetry, a Premio Honorífico José Lezama Lima from the Casa de las Américas in Cuba, and Book of the Year from the Buenos Aires Book Fair for her complete works of poetry (to date): La novela de la poesía.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Seth Michelson is an award-winning poet, translator, and professor. He has published thirteen books of poetry and poetry in translation. His books of original poetry include Swimming Through Fire (2017) and Eyes Like Broken Windows (2012). Recent translations include The Red Song (2017; Melisa Machado, Uruguay) and Poems from the Disaster (2016; Zulema Moret, Argentina). He also edited and translated the anthology Dreaming America: Voices of Undocumented Youth in Maximum-Security Detention (2017), after leading poetry workshops for two years in the most restrictive maximum-security detention center in the U.S. for undocumented, unaccompanied youth. He teaches the poetry of the Americas at Washington and Lee University.
Cover image by Tano