Size: 5 ½ x 8 ½
Tomás Hernández Franco
Translated by Jim Cardenas and Anthony Seidman
Tomás Hernández Franco (1904-1952) was a poet, essayist, literary critic, journalist and diplomat from the Dominican Republic . Born into a wealthy family, he originally studied law, but, after a year at the Sorbonne, decided on a literary career. Working first as a journalist, he became the editor of the newspaper El Progreso. He launched an intense press campaign, through the newspaper La Información, against the government of Horació Vásquez and vigorously supported Rafael Trujillo.
Franco published his first volume of poetry, Bohemian Prayers in 1921, establishing himself as a promising new poetic voice. He was influenced by the Generation of 27, a Spanish group that advanced avant-garde forms, but his work always retained the rhythms and flavors of the Caribbean.
Franco held various official posts under the Trujillo dictatorship and served as a diplomat to Belgium, Haiti, Cuba and El Salvador.
Jim Cardenas is a Bolivian-American poet and short fiction author, translator, and film-maker. He has published work in journals like Entropy and Sulfur Surrealist Jungle, and is currently working on a documentary about poetry and poets from Mexico’s northern border region.
Anthony Seidman is a poet translator from Los Angeles. His most recent full-length translation is Caribbean Ants by Homero Pumarol, and he has just published a chapbook with Trainwreck Press entitled The Defining Crisis of Your Lifetime is Utopia.
Erick, the Norwegian lad, possessed a heart of fog
buried under a cold narrow inlet of a soul
during his vagrant long rambling from horizon to horizon
he scarcely suspected that the boreal, long winter bloodline that pounded in his temples
was a wanderer’s song.
During the longest month of the year he was born
in the fishing hut of tar and nets drenched by waves
born between the sea’s miracle and the midnight sun,
to an absent shipwrecked father
now a swimmer among deep algae and sands startled
by scales gills and fins.
He was the fifth child born for the sea
Erick grew in its language of fishhook and current
force of the oar and simplicity of foam
just like all the boys of the beach
half Triton half Angel.
But Erick didn’t know a thing about it—
pulse of wind and stubbornness of the prow—
he could barrel through the names of fish from headland to cape
and through the prayers of the channel and of the bay
at the age of fifteen he could rattle off a thousand gulfs
and not counting the already remote and brackish breast of motherland
yet not a single thought of Norway had set foot between his blond eyebrows.
During the annual caulking of boats
flames filler-ropes and tar
Erick was twenty years of age and a virgin inside
his oilskin boots