Walt Whitman

Last night we had the first session of the Leer la voz americana (Reading the American Voice) series I'm organizing with the Centro Cultural del 27. We started with Whitman. (The other sessions will be dedicated to Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, and Sylvia Plath, then we'll end with a bilingual reading by my colleague Adrienne Su.) The idea is to have poets, critics, and translators lead conversations about the reception of these poets in Spain. We had a great start: Juan Jesús Zaro (translator) and María Eloy García (poet) were excellent, students Kennon Pearre and Anna Elliot recited two poems beautifully, and the turnout was quite gratifying. Juan gave a good review of the history of Whitman translations and a brief overview of the polemic between Spanish poet León Felipe and Jorge Luis Borges regarding Felipe's translation of "Song of Myself." María's account of Whitman's impact on her was stellar and at the same time entertaining. She's got energy!