Spain Writes America Reads: The Eligible Age by Berta García Faet
Spanish National Youth Poetry Prize winner Berta García Faet joins translator Kelsi Vanada to discuss the bilingual edition of “The Eligible Age” with The Song Bridge Project editor William Blair.
This virtual author talk will introduce American audiences to The Eligible Age the bilingual edition of Berta García Faet’s La Edad de Merecer, translated into English by Kelsi Vanada, and published in the U.S. by The Song Bridge Project.
The poetry in this 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 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.
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)
About Berta García Faet
Berta García Faet (Valencia, Spain, 1988) is a poet and translator and the recipient of numerous literary prizes. She is the author of seven books of poetry:
- Corazón tradicionalista. Poesía 2008–2011 (La Bella Varsovia, 2018)
- Los salmos fosforitos / Fluorescent Psalms (La Bella Varsovia, 2017)
- La edad de merecer / The Eligible Age (La Bella Varsovia, 2015)
- Fresa y herida / Strawberry and Wound (Premio Nacional de Poesía Antonio González de Lama, 2010; Diputación de León, 2011)
- Introducción a todo / Introduction to Everything (IV Premio de Poesía Joven Pablo García Baena; La Bella Varsovia, 2011)
- Night club para alumnas aplicadas / Nightclub for Studious Schoolgirls (VII Premio Nacional de Poesía Ciega de Manzanares; Vitruvio, 2009)
- Manojo de abominaciones / A bunch of Abominations (XVI Premio de Poesía Ana de Valle; Ayuntamiento de Avilés, 2008).
Most recently she won the Premio Nacional de Poesía Joven Miguel Hernández, 2018.
About Kelsi Vanada
Kelsi Vanada, originally from Colorado, holds MFAs in Poetry (The Iowa Writers’ Workshop) and Literary Translation (The University of Iowa). Vanada translates from Spanish and collaboratively from Swedish, and is the recipient of an ALTA Travel Fellowship, a Bodtker grant from the Danish American Heritage Society, a translation prize from the American-Scandinavian Foundation, and residencies at the Prairie Center for the Arts and the Baltic Center for Writers and Translators. She was also the winner of Asymptote’s 2016 Close Approximations translation contest in poetry.
The Eligible Age is her first full-length translation. The translation Toward Muteness is forthcoming, as is a chapbook of poems, Rare Earth. Vanada is the Program Manager of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) in Tucson, Arizona.
About William F. Blair
William Blair, during his academic career in medicine, published over 200 research papers, book chapters, and abstracts, including the textbook Techniques in Hand Surgery. He holds an MFA in Comparative Literature – Literary Translation from the University of Iowa.
He has translated María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira’s work extensively. Co-translated and published works include two books of poetry by Vaz Ferreira, Lichen by the Uruguayan poet Luis Bravo, and Great Vilas and Listen to Me by the Spanish poet and novelist Manuel Vilas. Pending book publications include two novels: one by Vilas and the other by Jacqueline Goldberg of Venezuela.
Blair has published short story translations in Exchanges, a creative nonfiction excerpt in The 91st Meridian, and poetry translations in Latin American Literature Today, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, Corresponding Voices, and Tupelo Quarterly, with other publications pending. In 2013 Blair founded Song Bridge Press which, in 2020, evolved into The Song Bridge Project, an independent nonprofit publishing house. The primary mission of The Project is to discover, publish, and promote the translation of the best world literature from all languages, with an emphasis on Spanish language literature.