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The Eligible Age

Author, Berta García Faet

Translated by Kelsi Vanada

Iowa City, February 2018


The Eligible Age is Kelsi Vanada’s translation of poet Berta García Faet’s La edad de merecer [La Bella Varsovia, 2015]. The poetry in this outstanding bilingual edition doesn’t shy from sentimentality and emotional charge. The poems employ formal and linguistic experimentation in the service of telling about the poet’s coming-of-age as woman and writer in a world where roles for both are already defined—the title itself is a feminist critique of the idea that for a woman to be of an age to marry means that she begins to deserve certain things. By blending vocabulary from multiple academic realms with more diaristic revelations about her own emotions and sexuality, via descriptions of her body’s changes through puberty and love letters to male and female lovers, García Faet affirms all language as the stuff of poetry. She refuses to obey conventions of syntax and punctuation, and invites readers into refreshingly candid statements like: “i’m ashamed to admit it, but you won’t find anyone in the world / who believes in love / with greater intensity greater faith greater fervor / than i.” The intimacy of Vanada’s and García Faet’s artistic collaboration, and the sharing of a voice that now speaks in two languages, breaths vitality into the life of this new work. Parallel Spanish and English text.

The Eligible Age is one of the most significant books of the last few years, and Berta García Faet has become the most representative voice of her generation.” –Unai Velasco, poet, critic, and chief editor of Ultramarinos (Barcelona)


The Other Island of the Songs

Author, María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira

Translated by William F. Blair with Pablo Rodríguez Balbontín

Iowa City, September 2016

Following the posthumous publication of La isla de los cánticos in 1925, María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira’s poetry lay fallow, inaccessible to the literary world. Emilio Oribe, who was familiar with and admired María Eugenia’s poetry, approached her family and was granted access to their manuscripts. He selected works that were previously unpublished in book form and, using unspecified yet personally relevant criteria, assembled what would become her next book of poetry, La otra isla de los cánticos, published in 1959. The translated works in The Other Island of the Songs, a bilingual edition, most probably span María Eugenia’s neo-romantic and modernist periods. As such they represent an innovative, imagistic, and profound poetic world of unrequited love, melancholy, and solitude.


great vilas2016

Great Vilas

Author, Manuel Vilas

Translated by Pablo Rodríguez Balbontín with William F. Blair

Iowa City, March 2016

The Vilas project, now including the book GREAT VILAS in translation, “seems to be a radical rewriting of the contemporary history of the Ibero-American world. Soccer, reality shows, movies, and literary biographies are interspersed with the reading and writing of journalism and historiography, provoking a new logic of entanglements and outcomes as comical as they are satirical, as intimate as ultimately free.” -Julio Ortega

Lichen Song Bridge2014


Author, Luis Bravo

Translated by William F. Blair with Pablo Rodríguez Balbontín

Iowa City, December 2014

This collection of poetry is a bilingual edition of Bravo’s original Liquen. As Jill S. Kuhheim writes in the Prologue to Lichen, Bravo loves language; his original poems explore meter and rhyme, and most notably sound. For him poems ultimately achieve their expression through the voice, that is, when vocalized, and in some instances, performed. In Lichen, however, the printed text has special importance as the compact, poetic forms leave space on the page, inviting the silence of contemplation, and even meditation. Meanings are varied and layered in this collection, with poetic allusions to literary, religious, and philosophical themes.

The Island of the Songs2013

The Island of the Songs

Author, María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira

Translated by William F. Blair with Pablo Rodríguez Balbontín

Iowa City, November 2013

History would suggest that the poems in this bilingual edition represent what María Eugenia considered the best of her poetic oeuvre. The poetry in La isla demonstrates her mastery of the Spanish language, poetics, poetic themes, and her range of modernista images and tropes. She uses these elements to create poetic tension and a sense of melancholy, seducing the reader into her world of solitude and despair.