Poet | Translator Raquel Lanseros

Raquel Lanseros among the olive trees.

The Windmill Profile: Raquel Lanseros

By Ashrena Ali

Hofstra’s MFA in Creative Writing now offers a concentration in Spanish, underscoring the program’s focus on the writer in the world and fusing literary scholarship and intensive instruction in various genres: fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.

MFA Director Miguel-Angel Zapata recently invited poet and translator Raquel Lanseros to his class, where she illuminated the importance of reading different authors from varying countries. Lanseros is one of Spain’s most significant voices in contemporary Spanish poetry. Her own work has been translated into numerous languages and she is recognized by nearly 200 critics from more than 100 universities as the most relevant poet in the Spanish language born after 1970. Ms. Lanseros demonstrates that a well-cultivated acquaintance and foundation of languages paired with writing is important in establishing yourself as a recognized voice. Some important awards include the Antonio Machado prize in Baeza, the Prize of the Train, as well as the Unicaja Poetry Prize. She obtained her PhD in Language and Literature Didactics, Master in Social Communication, and BA in English Philology. She’s also published many books, including Diary of a Flash, The Eyes of the Fog, and The Small Spines Are Small.

Currently, Raquel Lanseros is the official translator into Spanish for the European project Pop Science, and a permanent member of the literary-theatrical project Children of Mary Shelley, which brings together poets, novelists, musicians, and playwrights.

Take a look at one of her poems, first in Spanish and then in English!

2059

He imaginado siempre el día de mi muerte.

Incluso en la niñez, cuando no existe.

Soñaba un fin heroico de planetas en línea.

Cambiar por Rick mi puesto, quedarme en Casablanca

sumergirme en un lago junto a mi amante enfermo

caer como miliciana en una guerra

cuyo idioma no hablo.

Siempre quise una muerte a la altura de la vida.

Dos mil cincuenta y nueve.

Las flores nacen con la mitad de pétalos

ejércitos de zombis ocupan las aceras.

Los viejos somos muchos

somos tantos

que nuestro peso arquea la palabra futuro.

Cuentan que olemos mal, que somos egoístas

que abrazamos

con la presión exacta de un grillete.

Estoy sola en el cuarto.

Tengo ojos sepultados y movimientos lentos

como una tarde fría de domingo.

Dientes muy blancos adornan a estos hombres.

No sonríen ni amenazan: son estatuas.

Aprisionan mis húmeros quebradizos de anciana.

No va a doler, tranquila.

Igual que un animal acorralado

muerdo el aire, me opongo, forcejeo,

grito mil veces el nombre de mi madre.

Mi resistencia choca contra un silencio higiénico.

Hay excesiva luz y una jeringa llena.

Tenéis suerte, -mi extenuación aúlla-,

si estuviera mi madre

jamás permitiría que me hicierais esto.

2059

I have always imagined the day of my death.

Even in childhood, when it does not exist.

I dreamed a heroic end of planets online.

To change my position for Rick, to stay in Casablanca to

submerge myself in a lake with my sick lover to

fall as a militiaman in a war

whose language I do not speak.

I always wanted a death at the height of life.

Two thousand and fifty-nine.

The flowers are born with half petals

armies of zombies occupy the sidewalks.

The old are many

we are so many

that our weight arches the future word.

They say that we smell bad, that we are selfish, that we

embrace

with the exact pressure of a shackle.

I’m alone in the room.

I have buried eyes and slow movements

like a cold Sunday afternoon.

Very white teeth adorn these men.

They do not smile or threaten: they are statues.

They snap my brittle old folks.

It will not hurt, calm.

Just as a cornered animal

bites the air, I oppose, struggle,

cry a thousand times the name of my mother.

My resistance collides against a hygienic silence.

There is excessive light and a full syringe.

You’re lucky, “my exhaustion howls,”

if my mother were, she would

never allow you to do this to me.

Submit: Fall 19 Digital Issue!

Submit: Fall 19 Digital Issue!

Submissions are open! Submit your fiction and creative nonfiction for our Fall 2019 digital issue. Theme: Haunt. Feel free to interpret this as loosely as you’d like; we are interested in stories about place (your favorite haunt) or experience (feeling haunted by something or someone), as well as ghost stories, literally and figuratively.

Please identify your work as fiction or nonfiction in your title (eg. FICTION: The Mailman) and cover letter. Though we will consider pieces of any length (including flash), submissions under 2,000 words are preferred.

Deadline: Oct 28, 2019

Submit here!

8-Bit Narrative: Red Dead Redemption 2

I’ve been begging for more of NPR’s excellent series, Reading the Game, which explores the crossover between literary and video game narrative.  I got my wish, a few months ago, when Jason Sheehan wrote on last year’s Game of the Year contender, Red Dead Redemption 2.

The game’s old news now, but even so I can’t help but thinking back to this game, this 50-hour-long glance at the Wild West: a period so warped by American mythology that it’s difficult to think of as a real place.

RDR2’s story opens in the most unforgiving of mountain ranges, where a blizzard whips and batters a poor caravan as it slogs through the snow.  If I had ignored the prior text scrawls, I would have no idea this caravan belongs to the notorious Van der Linde gang.

The gang takes shelter at an abandoned settlement, where Dutch van der Linde, the leader, makes a motivational speech. There’s no music—just the voice of a man talking to his starving, crumbling followers.

It’s here where a little exposition is dropped, but it’s not much to go on.  The gang’s running from a job-gone-wrong in some place called Blackwater.  A few characters, who I never got to know, are already dead.  That’s all I know.

It’s important to note that RDR2is not a chronological sequel to its predecessor. It’s essentially a prequel. Knowledge of the first game, while helpful, barely serves a purpose here.

After Dutch’s speech, the player takes control of Arthur Morgan, the main protagonist and Dutch’s pseudo-right-hand man.  I say “pseudo-right-hand” because the gang hierarchy goes mostly unsaid.  Characters flow in and out of Dutch’s graces.  Arthur starts somewhere near the top.

Red Dead Redemption 2_20190410104024
Arthur Morgan, RDR2’s troubled protagonist

Immediately, I realize how loyal Arthur is to Dutch and the gang.  He says little.  He rarely hesitates.  He does ask questions though, and it’s here where RDR2’s conflict is set in motion.  All’s not right with the Van der Linde gang, and Dutch’s credibility is already being called into question.

The player’s first task as Arthur is to find food. That’s all.  Not shoot up a saloon.  Not rob a bank.  Just find food.  How quaint for a developer like Rockstar Games, whose pedigree has largely been defined bythe Grand Theft Auto franchise.  This is not a loud and proud opening.  This is cinematic but reserved and self-contained.

Early on, I’ve already discovered what this game is about. This is about people.  This is about struggle, natural and man-made. This is about a man with a vision, Dutch, and his followers as they seek to keep up with him.  This is about one follower in particular, Arthur—loyal to the vision yet a cut above the others.

It’s a slow opening for sure, something that you would sooner see in a book or a 5-season Netflix series.  The freedom of the open world doesn’t really become “open” for the first few hours, and for some, that’s just too long for a video game.  I had one friend who quit the game just an hour in—because he said it was so slow.

And I guess that’s fine.  Games are games for a reason.  They’re meant to be played and interacted with.

But as a writer, I’m inspired by games like RDR2—ones that take their time, develop their characters, and weave an engaging story.