Today’s guest, Mexican poet, painter, and translator Valerie Mejer Caso talks about her latest book, the bilingual publication of poetry, collage, and photography Edinburgh Notebook, translated by Michelle Gil-Montero for Action Books. What does it mean to write something both autobiographical and surreal, both dream-like and real? How can questions of selfhood and identity (the identity of nation, of language, of family) become uncanny? What does it mean to write with “shattered language” and how can one find words, images, and forms to capture grief, loss, and death? This only scratches the surface of this conversation with Valerie, one that ranges widely, from Freud’s dreams to Tarkovsky’s notion of time to Raúl Zurita’s thoughts on the relationship of poetry to mortality itself.
Today’s addition to the bonus audio archive is a long-form, in-depth conversation with the translator of Edinburgh Notebook, Michelle Gil-Montero. We talk about translating Valerie Mejer Caso’s work, about studying under poet-translators Forrest Gander and C.D. Wright, about her press Eulalia Books that seeks to translate poetry and hybrid works that are ex-centric and ecstatic and which trouble notions of nation, and about finding the right balance between her own writing, her translating, her teaching, and her editing. Near the end she reads some of her most recent poetry as well. To learn how to subscribe to the bonus audio and the other potential benefits of becoming a supporter of Between the Covers head over to the show’s Patreon page.