8TH ANNUAL NAPOMO 30/30/30 :: DAY 17 :: ARIEL FRANCISCO on FRANCISCO HENRIQUEZ ROSA
Welcome to the OS’s 8th Annual NAPOMO 30/30/30 Series! This year, contributors far and wide were gathered by five incredible curators, who are also our 2019 Chapbook Poets — to learn more about this year’s amazing curators and their forthcoming chapbooks, please click here! You can also navigate to the series archive, of over 200 entries, here! This week’s curators are Kristina Darling & Chris Campanioni, authors of the forthcoming chapbook, RE: Verses.
ON FRANCISCO HENRIQUEZ ROSA
Translating my dad’s poetry has been one of the most bizarre and interesting experiences of my life. The writing itself hasn’t influenced me so much as the act of his writing. Stylistically, they’re so foreign to my own: his, more surreal and metaphorical, making huge leaps to reflect the displacement and disorientation they often address, very much rooted in Latinx poetic traditions; mine, much more literal and grounded, focusing on an “I” traversing the real world and relying most heavily on imagery. A couple of months ago my dad shared a recent publication of mine on his Facebook, as he does. A friend of his commented on how different my poems were from his, and my dad responded “yes, my son’s poems are very experimental.” While I knew my dad wrote, I hadn’t read any of it prior to exploring my own poetry when I started college.
I can remember him working on his typewriter when I was very small, which fascinated me, mostly because it was off limits. When he bought a word processor (and later an actual computer), the typewriter became open for play time. I don’t remember what I wrote, just that I loved it — me on the floor with the typewriter, my dad at his desk, both of us typing away. Though the poems are strange, what’s more strange is thinking of my dad actually writing them. When I was present, when I wasn’t. If I was even born yet. If he was writing in the middle of the night, or during slow moments at work like I do. Maybe rolling them over in his mind while driving to pick me up from school or pulling into the driveway. All of these things cross my mind as I translate his poems into English. This weird kind of inheritance. They’re mine as much as they are his.
(Below you will find links to Ariel Francisco’s translations of Francisco Henriquez Rosa’s poems)
Ariel Francisco is the author of A Sinking Ship is Still a Ship (Burrow Press, 2020) and All My Heroes Are Broke (C&R Press, 2017). A poet and translator born in the Bronx to Dominican and Guatemalan parents and raised in Miami, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Academy of American Poets, The American Poetry Review, The Florida Review, The New Yorker and elsewhere. The Miami New Times named him one of the Five Florida Writers to Watch in 2019.