Book cover
View in Webstore
Publisher — New Directions Publishing
Date Published — March 15, 2019
ISBN — 9780811228329

What's in a Name

Ana Luisa Amaral

View in Webstore
Publisher — New Directions Publishing
Date Published — March 15, 2019
ISBN — 9780811228329

With the elliptical looping of a butterfly alighting on one’s sleeve, the poems of Ana Luisa Amaral arrive as small hypnotic miracles. Spare and beautiful in a way reminiscent both of Szymborska and of Emily Dickinson (it comes as no surprise that Amaral is the leading Portuguese translator of Dickinson), these poems—in Margaret Jull Costa’s gorgeous English versions—seamlessly interweave the everyday with the dreamlike and ask “What’s in a name?”

“How solid is a name if answered to,” Amaral answers, but “like the Rose—no, like its perfume: ungovernable. Free.” There is much freedom within Amaral’s poetry, room for mysteries to multiply, and yet her beautiful lines are as clear as water:

 

And that time of smiles Which does, incidentally,

 

really exist, I swear, as does the fire

And the invisible sea, which with nothing will agree