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November 7, 2013

Poet finds answers in translation

PLATTSBURGH — Poet Mark Statman dabbles in translation.

This trajectory began when the Long Island native turned to Federico García Lorca’s “Poet in New York” to make sense of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City.

Statman, an associate professor of Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College, The New School for the Liberal Arts, was not alone.

Colleague Pablo Medina was also reading “Poet in New York” for the same solace.

Though translations were previously published in the 1950s and 1980s of Lorca’s seminal work, Statman and Medina collaborated on a new translation of the Spanish poet and playwright’s masterpiece. Their bilingual edition was published in 2008 by Grove Press.

Statman will be reading poems from that book and his latest works, “A Map of the Winds” (Lavender Ink, 2013) and “Black Tulips: The Selected Poems of José María Hinojosa” (University of New Orleans Press, 2012), today at CVH Commons at SUNY Plattsburgh.

“‘Poet in New York’ is the second most important book written by a Spaniard besides ‘Don Quixote,’” said Statman while driving up from New York City with his wife, the painter Katherine Koch.

While researching Lorca, Hinojosa’s name kept popping up during the Spanish Civil War era.

“He was a colleague of Federico García Lorca’s that had been forgotten,” Statman said. “When most of his generation was going left, Hinojosa went to the right. He was friends with Miró (Joan Miró i Ferrà) and Dalí (Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marqués de Dalí de Pubol) and all those famous surrealists. He went to the right, and they were going left. He decided to fight against the Republic. Three days after García Lorca was murdered in 1936 by right-wing sympathizers, Hinojosa was murdered by left-wing sympathizers.”

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