Poetry. Manuel Vilas continues his literary journey in LISTEN TO ME, an English translation of the original Spanish text. Between 2008 and 2013, the five years covered in this zany, entertaining book, Vilas recounts his days exploring the internet and its potential as a literary medium, first on his blog and then, later, on Facebook. In these formats he experimented freely with his writing. Real time responses from his virtual readership created an interactive mode of writing.
In LISTEN TO ME the text itself is structured as sequential, dated entries; the entries vary widely in content and style. Some elements read like poetry, others quite like prose, alternating between the two, yet not seeming to be prose poetry either. A dominant feature of the style is dialogue, principally between the author and God, other authoritative figures, and rock and roll icons. The combination of these features—writing on internet platforms, real time interaction with a readership, diaristic dialogues, and varied literary styles result in a text that is difficult to position within literary genres. For this reason, perhaps LISTEN TO ME is best considered a hybrid text.
Regardless of the genre to which it might be assigned, LISTEN TO ME stands as a humorous and ironic dissection of contemporary Spanish culture. Very few of the Spanish privileged (politicians, the wealthy, Church leadership) are left unscathed; fictionalized encounters with pop icons like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Bob Dylan weave their American origins into the author's frayed tapestry. The unifying feature of the text, though, are the conversations between an omniscient and sometimes irascible God and an insincerely obsequious struggling writer, Vilas himself. The result is a delightful, entertaining, fun adventure in world literature.
Manuel Vilas, born in Barbastro, Huesca in Spain writes novels, short stories, and poetry. He also writes literary criticism for the Heraldo de Aragón and El Mundo, as well as other literary magazines. Recent books of poetry include Amor: poesía reunida 1988-2010, Gran Vilas, and El hundimiento. Recent novels include Los inmortales, El luminoso regalo (translated into French and Italian), Ordesa, which is widely celebrated in Spanish media as the 2018 Book of the Year with translations into multiple languages, and most recently Alegría. Significant among his many awards and prizes are the Premio Generación del 27 (2014), the Premio de las Letras Aragonesas 2015 (2016), the Premio Planeta, second place, for Alegría (2019), and the French Premio Femina Etranger for Ordesa (2019).Author City: SPA
William Blair, during his academic career, published over 200 research papers, book chapters, and abstracts, including the textbook Techniques in Hand Surgery. He holds an MFA in Comparative Literature-Literary Translation from the University of Iowa. He has translated María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira's work extensively. Co-translated and published works include two books of poetry by Vaz Ferreira, Lichen by the Uruguayan poet Luis Bravo, and Great Vilas by the Spanish poet and novelist Manuel Vilas. Pending book publications include a hybrid text and a novel, both authored by Vilas. Blair has published short story translations in Exchanges, a creative nonfiction excerpt in 91st Meridian, and poetry translations in Latin American Literature Today, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, and Corresponding Voices, with additional publications pending. Blair founded The Song Bridge Project in 2020, a nonprofit to advance the translation of world literature in all languages, with an emphasis on Spanish language literature.Author City: USA
Annemarie Pearson de Andrés is a PhD candidate in English and an MFA candidate in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa. Raised between the US-Mexican border in Brownsville, Texas and Talavera de la Reina, Spain, she translates from Spanish, working particularly with nineteenth-century poetry and prose from Spain and Cuba. LISTEN TO ME (The Song Bridge Project, 2020) will be her first published translation. Her current translation project is A Voyage to Havana (1843) by Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo. When not translating or writing her dissertation, she enjoys delving into various textile arts. She is presently based in New Mexico.Author City: USA