Book Launch: Margarita Saona, author of Corazon de Hojalata (Tin Heart)

Join us at City Lit Books for the launch of Margarita Saona's bilingual poetry book Corazon de Hojalata: Tin Heart. Margarita Saona will read poems from her book in both English and Spanish, followed by readings from poets Nathalie Bouzaglo, Jorge Frisancho, and Laura Ring.

Corazon de Hojalata: Tin Heart is the story of two hearts. The poems in this book were written between December 2015 and February 2017, the time of a journey that started with a sudden diagnosis of cardiac failure and concluded with a heart transplant. From the author:

The poems came to me with a sentence, with a rhythm of their own, but not always in the same language. However, I live this double life, split between English and Spanish both at home and in my professional world. The experience of my illness, surrounded by health professionals from all over the world using English as the lingua franca, made English the preferred choice to express all that came with that experience. But there were moments when my mother tongue would impose itself with what is for me a primordial rhythm. Many times I was able to find the echoes of one poem in another and I created two versions, going from an original English text to a Spanish one or vice versa.

Still, there were times when the poem came to me in one language or the other, but I did not find a way to transfer it to the other language. Marco Dorfsman’s skill and sensibility have given me translations of those texts that reflect better than I could the poems that resisted me. Marco’s translations surprise me with a new beauty. They make me contemplate the reflection of my words, of my affect, of my rhythm, in a two-way bridge.

This is the story of two hearts, experienced in two languages, in a body dissociated by the experience of the illness and the medical intervention. There are two versions of each poem. Some of them thanks to Marco’s translations. In this story of two hearts you will find the story of my old, worn-out, heart. But there is also, from the very beginning, the story of this new heart, the heart that not long ago animated another life and that now beats inside my chest. I dedicate this book to that life and his or her loved ones.

Margarita Saona studied linguistics and literature at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. She received a Ph.D. in Latin American literature from Columbia University in New York. She lives in Chicago, where she teaches in the department of Hispanic Studies at the University of Illinois. She has published numerous articles, two books on literary and cultural criticism, Novelas familiares: Figuraciones de la nación en la novela latinoamericana contemporánea and Memory Matters in Transitional Perú and two books of short fiction, Comehoras and Objeto perdido.

Nathalie Bouzaglo holds a PhD in Latin American literature from New York University. She specializes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American literature, with an emphasis on the modern novel. She is the author of Ficción adulterada. Pasiones ilícitas del entresiglo venezolano which addresses the function of adultery and adulteration as critical concepts around which a cluster of ideas about change, miscegenation, and hybridization respond to the very anxiety that constitutes the projects of nationalism. Her other research interests include copyright and the relationship between law, literature, and ethics.

Jorge Frisancho is a Peruvian poet, journalist, cultural critic, and translator. His publications include the poetry collections Reino de la Necesidad, Estudios sobre un cuerpo, Desequilibrios and La pérdida (y otros poemas) as well as the compilatory volume Al pie del frío incendio. Antología personal.

Laura Ring is a poet, short story writer, anthropologist and librarian. She holds a PhD from the University of Chicago, and is the author of Zenana: Everyday Peace in a Karachi Apartment Building.  Her poems and short stories have appeared in a number of print and online journals and anthologies, including Stirring, Yellow Chair Review, Juked, and Stepmothers and the Big Bad Wolf.

Event date: 
Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
City Lit Books
2523 N. Kedzie Blvd
Chicago, IL 60647