Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. Bilingual Edition. Translated from the Spanish by Jen Hofer. Winner of the 2012 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. "Myriam Moscona's extraordinary book," writes Francine Masiello, "is a treatise on the senses." NEGRO MARFIL / IVORY BLACK, Myriam Moscona's first book translated into English, is a book-length experiment in inversions: at times the text can be read from left to right or vice versa, the poems reverberate from top to bottom or the other way around, at moments the book itself can be read backwards or forwards. The visual and the textual converse acrobatically. Binaries become multiples. As any painter knows, "Ivory Black," also known as "bone char," is the name of a color: to obtain ivory black bone is burned. Introduction by Francine Masiello and visual art by Renee Petropoulos.
Author City: Mexico City MEX
Myriam Moscona is from Mexico, of Bulgarian Sephardic descent. She is the author of nine books, from Ultimo jardín (1983) to De par en par (2009). Two of her published books are outside the realm of poetry, yet remain connected to poetry: De frente y de perfil (literary portraits of 75 Mexican poets) and De par en par, which explores the phenomenon of poetry beyond its traditional construction. When NEGRO MARFIL was conceived, Moscona focused on the use of visual materials (inks, pastels, graphite and acrylics), which led her to explore alternate means of expression. In this way she came to visual poetry: drawn in through the side doors of writing. Moscona has received numerous awards, including the Premio de Poesía Aguascalientes and the Premio Nacional de Traducción; she is a grantee of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte, and she was awarded a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation.
Reviews and Other Links
Winner of the 2012 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets
excerpt: "Ivory Black [Not to speak]" @ Poets.org
“In the tradition of Mallarmé’s Un Coup de Dés, Brazilian concrete poetry and Octavio Paz’s Blanco, Myriam Moscona’s NEGRO MARFIL is a long poem constructed from phrases (or words) arranged on the page in wildly diverse ways: verses in two columns, in dialogue; segments placed in the center of the page; prose paragraphs; splintering words.... NEGRO MARFIL approaches the fragment with a consciousness that the ‘target’ of intelligible discourse will always be frustrated, that we can only aspire to the marbled charcoal of the ink as it spills over, occluding univocal meaning.”
Jacobo Sefamí, essayist, critic and UC Irvine professor
“I perceive and read NEGRO MARFIL as a text marked by the ‘memory-laden ear.’ Such that language‘errant alphabet’does not dissolve into nothingness, nor does it freeze on the page of a closed volume: signs dot the trajectory of this extended poem, yet they are points that assemble in the eyelike certain colors, or like the very poem made in the process of reading...as there are no fixed senses, but rather mixtures, superimpositions, intersections...”
Soledad Biancchi, Chilean poet and critic
“Poetry might be the cracking of the unconscious…understood in the most radical way, that cracking wouldn’t presuppose painting as a unit of meaning; rather, it would be the condition of its possibility. It’s not that the visual image winds up cracking with the passage of time, as experience suggests, but rather the inverse, that there is an originary cracking prior to the image, that facilitates its coming into being.... (T)his is a good starting point for understanding the range of Myriam Moscona’s most radical attempt to date to subvert poetic work from within its very foundations.”
Evodio Escalante, Mexican critic and essayist