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Between the Covers Podcast

Cecilia Vicuña : Deer Book

Today’s guest Chilean poet, performance artist, visual artist, activist, and filmmaker Cecilia Vicuña, joins us to discuss her latest work, Deer Book, or Libro Venado. A bilingual collection, with translations by the acclaimed poet and translator Daniel Borzutsky, Deer Book brings together nearly forty years of Vicuña’s poetry and drawings surrounding the cosmologies and mythologies of the deer. Much like her work at large, Deer Book explores the mysteries of translation, interspecies communication, feminism, environmental destruction, the erasure and rupture caused by colonization, and the relationship between image and text, and the written word versus the oral, embodied and spoken one. We also explore how one’s relationship to language changes when one’s work emerges from a different set of epistemologies, when one writes from an indigenous and/or shamanic poetics.

For the bonus audio archive Cecilia’s translator, Daniel Borzutsky, joins the show for a forty-five minute conversation to discuss the uniqueness of Cecilia Vicuña’s work, the joys and challenges of translating it, the role she has played in shifting the Spanish-language canon to include more indigenous poetics, and to discuss Daniel’s own journey as a translator, including some great anecdotes about working with another iconic Chilean poet Raúl Zurita. To find out how to subscribe to the bonus audio and about the many other potential benefits of joining the Between the Covers community as a listener-supporter, head over to the show’s Patreon page.

Finally, the BookShop for today’s episode.