CLAUS AND THE SCORPION by Lara Dopazo Ruibal is the prize-winning Galician poet's English-language debut, translated by award-winning translator Laura Cesarco Eglin
Winner of the 2017 Fiz Vergara Vilariño Prize, one of the most prestigious awards bestowed for Galician poetry, CLAUS AND THE SCORPION is the fearsome and feral first book of poetry by Lara Dopazo Ruibal to appear in English, translated by the award-winning literary polymath Laura Cesarco Eglin. In poems brimming with achingly vivid and terrifyingly beautiful imagery, Dopazo Ruibal interrogates the shattering responses to trauma and violence as they threaten and intrude upon the precarious “safe haven.” Using three distinct speakers—lara, the scorpion, claus—as vantage points to explore and express the complexity of interiority, Dopazo Ruibal grapples with profuse internal and external forces that painfully shape and reshape a soul even as they threaten a sense of belonging, a cohesive self-concept, and, ultimately, annihilation. CLAUS AND THE SCORPION starts with the resolute calm of the ever-present sea and moves readers to the mercurial forge where fire shapes anew or lays waste, and in this movement, these poems disrupt the desire to return to an idyllic and unattainable past, attacking language’s layers and fissures to put pressure on its most enigmatic dualisms: the sublime and the monstrous, the monumental and the mundane, renewal and decay, fragility and strength. Laura Cesarco Eglin translates these poems into stark, mesmerizing English verses, using her nimble eye and deft poet’s ear to render Dopazo Ruibal’s spare, crystalline original. A singular and spellbinding force majeure, Lara Dopazo Ruibal’s claus and the scorpion will make you “stop breathing and break / very slowly / the seams that hold [your] chest together.”
“In CLAUS AND THE SCORPION, Lara Dopazo Ruibal's Galician and Laura Cesarco Eglin's English reach for each other with the fitful intimacy of siblings or lovers locked forever in ballistic proximity. Here is a poem of the just-detonated world in which we all find ourselves suspended, also known as the present tense: songlike and shattered, permanent and elapsing, ultra-compressed and expanding at both snail-like, cosmic speeds as it achieves its ideal form—divine ‘smithereens.’’’ —Joyelle McSweeney
“The quietly blistering CLAUS AND THE SCORPION conjures a world marked by both horror and transformation. Again and again, Lara Dopazo Ruibal’s spare, charged poems, glittering coolly in Laura Cesarco Eglin’s translation, suggest that healing is no less powerful or complex an experience than the violence that prompted it. ‘we’ll lay down our tired bodies at the outskirts of the city / while it burns,’ write poet and translator, ‘and we’ll spit over its ashes/ so we are part of the city forever.’ What rises from those ashes is both fearsome and lovely.” —Robin Myers
Laura Cesarco Eglin is the translator of OF DEATH. MINIMAL ODES by Hilda Hilst, (cooimopress, 2018), which won the 2019 Best Translated Book Award in Poetry. She is the co-translator from the Portuñol of Fabián Severo's NIGHT IN THE NORTH (Eulalia Books, 2020). Her translations from Spanish, Portuguese, Portuñol, and Galician have appeared in a variety of journals, including Asymptote, Timber, Exchanges, Modern Poetry in Translation, Eleven Eleven, the Massachusetts Review, Cordella Magazine, Gulf Coast, Waxwing Journal, and The Puritan. Cesarco Eglin is the author of six poetry collections, including Time/Tempo: The Idea of Breath (PRESS 254, 2022), Life, One Not Attached to Conditionals (Thirty West Publishing House, 2020), REBORN IN INK (trans. Catherine Jagoe and Jesse Lee Kercheval; The Word Works, 2019), Calling Water by Its Name (trans. Scott Spanbauer; Mouthfeel Press, 2016), and Occasions to Call Miracles Appropriate (The Lune, 2015). She is the co-founding editor and publisher of Veliz Books.
Lara Dopazo Ruibal was born in Marín (Galicia, Spain). She has a BA in journalism and two MA degrees: one in international cooperation and one in theoretical and practical philosophy. Dopazo Ruibal has published four poetry collections and she is the coeditor and coauthor of the experimental essay volume A través das marxes: Entrelazando feminismos, ruralidades e comúns. Her poetry collection ovella was awarded the Francisco Añón Prize in 2015, and with claus e o alacrán she received the Fiz Vergara Vilariño Prize in 2017. Dopazo Ruibal was a resident artist at the Spanish Royal Academy in Rome for the academic year 2018-2019. She won the Illa Nova Narrative Award with her short story collection O axolote e outros contos de bestas e auga (Editorial Galaxia, 2020).