Sunday, November 23, 2008

Autobiography of a Six Year Old Press

I found The Selected Poems of Federico Garcia Lorca in my brother's room. Here are some great poems:


Unicorns and cyclopes.

Horns of gold
and eyes of green.

Over the steep,
in giant confusion,
they illustrate the unglazed
mercury of the sea.

Unicorns and cyclopses.

An eyeball
and a power.

Who doubts the terrible
efficacy of those horns?

Conceal your targets!

This selected book has a number of the poems that Spicer 'translated' and all of their pages are folded down, so I can see that at some point I went back to the originals, since I used to speak Spanish, and compared them myself. Actually, I'm pretty sure I wrote an essay about Spicer's translations/alterations. Must have been my freshman year in college. I have to say, the translations in this collection are sort of without heart. How can you take the heart out of lorca and call it lorca? Shame on Merwin. Shame on William Jay Smith. Lackluster. They simplified his syntax. Both Spcier and Lorca are doing somersaults in their graves.

This translation isn't so bad:

(Perhaps because he did not know his geometry)

At ten one morning
the youth forgot.

His heart was growing full
of broken wings and artificial flowers.

He noted his mouth
but one small word left.

When he removed his gloves, a fine
thin asge fell from his hands.

From the balcony he saw a tower.
he felt himself both balcony and tower.

Of course he saw how in its frame
the stopped clock observed him.

He saw his shadow stretched out still
upon theilken white divan.

And the boy, rigid, geometric,
broke the mirror with an ax.

When it broke, one huge stream of shadow
flooded his chimeric chamber.

As mentioned yesterday, my task coming home is to go through all my childhood stuff so my parents can move to mexico in ten days. So, I found the autiobiography I wrote when I was six. Actually, I think I spoke it out loud and a 5th grader wrote it down for me. We had older buddies in elementary school who once a week or maybe once a month would do some activity with us.

Anyways, it is called: Julia Alexandra Berman Cohen*

My name is Julia Alexandra Berman Cohen and I am six and a half years old. I was born in a hospital and I was a happy baby. I have always lived in the same house in Lincoln.

I am tall. I have light brown hair that is straight at the top and curly at the bottom. I have lost six teeth and I am getting my permanent ones now.

My mom's name is Diane and she is a talking doctor. Mom is making a new kitchen that is going to be different. We will have new tile in our new kitchen. It is going to be brown.

My dad is named Don. he is an architect. I have a brother called** Adam. He just turned 3.

I have a favorite doll, Clemenita. Her real name is Clementine, but I call her Clemenita. I got her when Adam was born. I lost*** my first Clemenita, so she was replaced. She's a baby with a white night gown with rattles on it.

I also like to play with Kristen, my next favorite doll. She is old-fashioned, and on her birthday, June 30th, she wears a velvet dress.

I like to color in coloring books and to draw. It's especially fun when Adam's napping****.

I do like to look at books my mom gets from the library.

I do like it when it's Christmas. I got a new bike. The wheels look like bubble gum*****. It's purple and pink. All my Christmas toys were purple and pink.

My favorite food is Pu-Pu Platter. it has a fire in the middle to roast your food. I order it when I go to a Chinese restaurant.

But most of all I like going to school and having a nice teacher. Her name is Mrs. DeBoalt and she;s just really nice. I have a special friend named Emily Kumbler. She's in fourth grade and she rides in my carpool.

* Yes, I was a little feminist and I didn't see why I just had my dad's last name so I went by my mom's last name, too, to be fair. I eventually stopped because 1) it was too hard to fit it all in on the standardized bubble tests you get all the time in school and 2) having two Jewish last names also feels a little weird when you're an atheist.
** I'm not sure why everyone else has a name and my brother is just "called" something.
***That doll was not actually lost. It was stolen by an insane cab driver and there was lots of drama involved.
****It was.
*****I only liked pink and purple for a long time. Let's not make fun of me. This was the last year I believed in Santa. I still don't quite understand why we celebrate Xmas, but I never question presents.


Kate said...

can i publish your autobiography?

Julia Cohen said...

what is my royalty rate?


do you like my academic publishing joke?

FirstPersonArts said...

"My favorite food is pu pu platter" Nice command of alliteration for a six-year old. Seriously, can I put this on our blog?

Julia Cohen said...

ha, any time.