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A Poem Thinks Itself Out In Final Lines
Un poema pénsase con versos finais

Chus Pato
Translated by Erín Moure

/////// 58 Pages

ISBN: 978-1-915341-16-7

It’s easy to agree that a philosophical text and a poem are both linguistic facts, but what if we ask, do both writings think? Not all would answer affirmatively. In her essay, Chus Pato asserts that thinking is common to both, and she delves into the similarities and differences, to open up what a poem is and does. In so doing, Pato traces a route through the words writing, image, voice, language and maternal in order to illuminate the poem’s work, ending with two poems from her latest, Sonora.


Moure’s English translation of Pato’s essay is complicated by another linguistic act: in English, the Galician words “fala,” “linguaxe,” “lingua,” and “idioma” are most often translated with just one English word, “language,” though they also have echoes in certain circumstances, yes, of speech, tongue, idiom. How does this restricted English range affect our ability to think about the poem? Moure each time allows us to see the word in Galician that Pato wrote, and the effect is contrapuntal, a-rhythmic, at times hilarious, and—she hopes—clarifying.


Pato’s essay is followed by an addendum from the translator with the full translation of the Xosé Luís Méndez Ferrín poem cited by Pato, along with notes on the crucial relation of sonority to meaning. The meaning of some of the Galician words Ferrín uses is not as important as that they sound Galician. It is important that the words are Galician. To create a translation that does not alter the poem’s expressed intention, the sound of these words must be respected—meaning-sounds that fall on the ear of the colonizer (who includes the reader in English) as full-on defiance.



CHUS PATO (Ourense, 1955) is the author of 11 books of poems in Galician. Among these are the pentology Decrúa, antes método [Delve, formerly Method] which includes: m-Talá, Charenton, Hordas de escritura [Hordes of Writing], Secesión [Secession] and Carne de Leviatán [Flesh of Leviathan], all translated into English by Erín Moure and published, variously, in the UK, the USA and Canada. In addition to her books translated in the English-speaking world, she has books translated and published in Spain, Argentina, Portugal, Netherlands, Bulgaria and Algeria, and her poems are included in dozens of Galician, Spanish, and international anthologies. She has performed at poetry festivals throughout Europe and in the Americas (Barcelona, Rosario, Havana, Buenos Aires, Bratislava, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Lisbon, Córdoba, Ottawa, Brussels, Guayaquil and Berlin, among others) and her work has been honoured with prizes including the Spanish National Critics’ Prize and, twice, the Losada Diéguez Prize. Ultramarinos Editors in Barcelona published the first three volumes of her Collected Poems in Spanish translation, Volume I translated by Ana Gorría et 2 and 3 translated by Gonzalo Hermo. Pato lives in central Galicia in NW Spain, near the forest of Catasós, home to the tallest chestnut trees in Europe. She is a member of PEN Galicia and the Royal Galician Academy. Her most recent book, Un libre favor, is translated by Erín Moure as The Face of the Quartzes (Veliz Books, 2021), and a new work Sonora, which appeared in 2023 from Xerais, is currently in translation.


ERÍN MOURE (Calgary, 1955) is a Montreal-based transborder poet-translator with 18 books of poetry, a book of essays, articles on translation, two memoirs; she is translator or co-translator of 26 books of poetry and poetics, including Chus Pato’s The Face of the Quartzes (Veliz Books, 2021) and Chantal Neveu’s you (Book*hug Press, 2024). Theophylline: an a-poretic migration via the modernisms of Rukeyser, Bishop, Grimké (House of Anansi, 2023) is her own latest book.

A Poem Thinks Itself Out In Final Lines/ Un poema pénsase con versos finais

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