On Friday, September 30, a well-known young Chilean poet, Christian Formoso, will be coming to Charlottesville. His visit is co-sponsored by the Live Poets Society and the JMRL’s Central Library.
Christian has won the Pablo Neruda Prize for poetry in his native country. He will be presenting some of his work at the Central Library’s McIntire Room in downtown Charlottesville, along with his two U.S. co-translators, Terry Hermsen and Sydney Tammarine. (Christian is bilingual, having earned both of his graduate degrees in the U.S.) The program will begin at 7 pm; it is free and open to the public.
Christian, Terry, and Sydney will do a 45-minute reading from Christian’s ambitious collection The Most Beautiful Cemetery in Chile, moving back and forth between English and Spanish. Then they will open it up for discussion about the art and challenges of translation, as well as any other questions the audience might have.
The Most Beautiful Cemetery in Chile is set in Christian’s hometown of Punta Arenas, which lies along the Strait of Magellan in Chile’s southernmost Patagonia region. The actual Cemetery of Punta Arenas, a public cemetery, is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, and is a National Monument of Chile.
The book is primarily a series of reflections and dramatic monologues which give voice to different people buried in the cemetery. Collectively, they add up to a dramatized version of 500 years of Chilean history. You might think of it as an ambitious Chilean counterpart to Edgar Lee Masters Spoon River Anthology, crossed with Robert Browning’s dramatic monologues such as “Fra Lippo Lippi” and “My Last Duchess.” Copies of the book will be available for sale after the program.
I’m hoping you will be able to attend, and can encourage your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and students to come hear and meet Christian as well. Please contact me if you have any questions--or any suggestions for more ways to get the word out about this event.
|Christian Formoso in the Cemetery of Punta Arenas|
Photo by Janina Alveal