Online conversation on the ocassion of the launch of ‘Heaven’, by Manuel Vilas, organized by Instituto Cervantes London, in collaboration with Carcanet Press.
Participants: writer Manuel Vilas, James Womack (translator of the book) and Juana Adcock (poet and translator)
Monday, September 14th at 7:00 pm. via Zoom. In English. Book your place here.
A collection of dark, funny Iberian poems about drinking, sex and death.
Manuel Vilas speaks in the voice of bitter experience, an experience which seems intent on sending him up. He is a novelist as well as a poet, and his poems tell stories as the speaker moves quixotically across the map and between romances. His instinct for rhythm gives the reader a firm sense of place and tone. Universal in their concerns, taking in love and the end of love, life and the end of life, the poems are also resolutely Spanish in how they speak – bluntly, humorously – always alert for the fantastic.
This is the first translation of Vilas’s two major collections Heaven (El cielo, 2000) and Heat (Calor, 2008) into English. Thematically fuelled with alcohol, death and sex, they go off into free-wheeling megalomaniacal flights of fantasy. The translator, James Womack, has won prizes for his versions of Vilas and of the Russian poet Mayakovsky.
James Womack was born in Cambridge in 1979. He studied Russian, English and translation at university, and received his doctorate, on W.H. Auden’s translations, in 2006. He lived in Madrid from 2008 to 2017, and now teaches Spanish and translation at Cambridge University. He is a freelance translator from Russian and Spanish, and helps run Calque Press, which concentrates on poetry, translation and the environment. His debut collection of poems, Misprint, was published by Carcanet in 2012, and On Trust: A Book of Lies came out in 2017.
Juana Adcock is a poet, translator and performer. Her Spanish-language poetry collection, Manca, explores the anatomy of violence in the Mexican drug war and was named by Reforma‘s distinguished critic Sergio González Rodríguez as one of the best books published in 2014. In 2016 she was named one of the ‘Ten New Voices from Europe’ by Literature Across Frontiers, and she has performed at numerous literary festivals internationally. Her English-language debut, Split (Blue Diode Press, 2019) was awarded the Poetry Book Society Choice.
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