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Idra Novey

Idra Novey

Idra Novey is the author of Exit, Civilian, selected by Patricia Smith for the 2011 National Poetry Series and listed as a Best Book of 2012 in Cold Front and The Volta. She is also the author of The Next Country and the translator of four books from Spanish and Portuguese, including The Clean Shirt of It.

Instant Replay (English Translation)

Nostalgia at its worst
is yearning for the present-
to feel what you're living now, first,
just isn't sufficient,

to wish it were already lived
instead of living it this minute
so you could take it like a gift
with nostalgia for what's in it.

Instant Replay (Original Portugese)

A nostalgia pior
é a do instante presente ó
sentir que se vive o agora
mas não o suficiente,

desejar té-lo vivido
em vez de o viver no ato
pra então poder possuí-lo
na nostalgia de fato.

from Four Bagatelles (English Translation)


Every solution is great,
except for the one you ventured.
Choose, sure. (Even if it aches,
it gives a kind of pleasure.)


To live instant to instant  
with the futility of insects
who hurl themselves brashly
against the fact of the window glass
obeying implacably
the unflappable sense
they hazard in their innards.

from Quatro Bagatelas (Original Portugese)


Todas as soluções são boas,
menos a que você escolher.
Escolha, sim. (Mesmo que doa,
dá uma espécie de prazer.)  


Viver momento a momento
com a insensatez dos insetos
que arremetem impávidos
contra o real da vidraça
obedecendo sem trégua
à  lógica imperturbável
que trazem em suas entranhas.
Paulo Britto

Paulo Britto

Paulo Henriques Britto teaches translation, poetry and creative writing at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. He has translated more than 100 books, including poetry by Byron, Wallace Stevens, and Elizabeth Bishop, and published works of poetry, fiction and theory and criticism. A selection of his poetry, edited and translated by Idra Novey, came out in the U.S. Six of his books have won prizes.


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