Argentinian poet’s book is no longer lost in translation thanks to Manchester University academics

By Melanie Hughes

An anthology of poetry by one of Latin America’s most acclaimed writers was made available to English speakers thanks to academics at The University of Manchester.

Argentina’s Cristian Aliaga is recognised as one of his country’s outstanding contemporary writers and has published more than a dozen books of poetry in Spanish.

His bilingual anthology, The Clinical Cause, was published as part of a poetry series by the University’s Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Studies department.

Though some of his poems have been individually translated, this is the first time an entire book has been published in English.

A major inspiration for The Clinical Cause comes from his unpublished book, The Fall Up, which examines the experience of pain and torture in his country.

He said: “Though my writing is about the search of a link between poetry and politics, I think it’s important to maintain a reference to the experimental and avant-garde.

“It’s great that The University of Manchester has published The Clinical Cause: Universities are one of the few spaces left for this kind of writing and poetry.”

Dr Esther Gomez-Sierra, from the University’s Spanish and Portuguese Studies department, said: “This publication was a labour of love: we feel strongly that poetry lovers should have the chance to read this most important writer.

Fran Robertson, a former languages student at the University, said: “It’s great to see that wonderful literary work such as this can be so widely accessible.”

However, translator and author Joaquim Siles-Borras, hopes that the true meaning and essence of the poems is not lost.

He said: “Things can lose their grace when translated. There is a dimension of meaning that disappears in translation because it cannot be rendered in another culture.

“A good translator can translate meanings and not just words,” he added.

Aliaga, who is based in Argentina, is known for his cultural activism, and editorship of the pioneering newspaper El Extremo Sur (The Extreme South), which supports support the arts in the region.

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