Charles Olsen translates Lilián Pallares
Lilian Pallares is a Colombian poet and actress living in Spain where she has recently published her third collection of poems Bestial (Olifante, 2019). Together we share our passion for writing and have created the shows Agita Flamenco and Palabra Azul, poesía del agua, performing in Venice, Madrid, Barcelona, and Soria. As well as traveling to Colombia with Lilián, I have been present during the creation of many of these poems and at the moments that inspired some of them. This shared journey and the insight into her world and cultural background, as well as her being on hand to ask any questions I may have, has been a great help during the translation process. The poems in Bestial are grouped into four sections: Primitiva, Carnal, Viperina and Insurrecta (Primitive, Carnal, Fork-tongued and Insurgent) and I have selected one from each for this translation. They draw on Lilián’s Afro-Colombian roots, mixed with her life in Madrid and her experience of black culture and African dance. They gradually move from the universal to the personal and autobiographical, particularly her relationship with her late father.