"Oh!" by Luis Muñoz, translated by Garth Greenwell and Idra Novey

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December 21, 2021 

Oh!

Luis Muñoz
translated by Garth Greenwell and Idra Novey

Voice of the shopping bags
whirled in the wind
like a small quarry
between its claws
to play with.

Voice of the fry shops
early,
before anybody enters,
freshly mopped, fluorescent.
 


 

¡Oh! 

 

Voz de las bolsas de compra
revoloteadas en el viento
como una pequeña presa
entre las garras
con que jugar.

Voz de las freidurías
temprano,
antes de que nadie venga,
recién fregada, fluorescente.

Copyright © 2021 by Luis Muñoz, Garth Greenwell, and Idra Novey. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 21, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“As often happens when I write, a confluence of elements led to this poem. One facet was listening to the voices of two images at once. I believe that significant images speak, and—to play on Rimbaud’s famous idea—that in this derangement of the senses, a poet, a writer, is to a large degree a listener. At the same time, the surprises of daily life had a role in this poem as well. The two images are ones that I’ve seen countless times since childhood in Torre del Mar, a city in the south of Spain, and yet still I experience them as absolutely new.”
Luis Muñoz, translated by Garth Greenwell and Idra Novey

Luis Muñoz is the author of seven books of poetry, including Vecindad (Visor Libros, 2018). He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Ciudad de Córdoba, Generación del 27, and Ojo Crítico prizes. He divides his time between Madrid and Iowa City, where he directs the Spanish-language creative writing MFA program at the University of Iowa.
Garth Greenwell is the author of two books of fiction: Cleanness (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020) and What Belongs to You (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016). A 2020 Guggenheim Fellow and winner of the 2021 Vursell Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he lives in Iowa City, Iowa.
 
Idra Novey is the author of the novels Those Who Knew (Viking, 2018) and Ways to Disappear (Back Bay Books, 2017), as well as several collections of poetry. Her co-translation with Ahmad Nadalizadeh of Iranian poet Garous Abdolmalekian, Lean Against This Late Hour (Penguin Poets, 2020), was a finalist for the 2021 PEN America Poetry in Translation Prize.

Vecindad
(Visor Libros, 2018)

“Waifs and Strays” by Arthur Rimbaud
read more

“Love in the City” by José Martí
read more

Thanks to Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press, 2019), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Read a Q&A about Kaminsky’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year
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