A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


If you haven't heard, Beyond Baroque is offering a FREE Latin American Poetry Workshop on Mondays from 7-9 in the Beyond Baroque bookstore. Last night, we covered the atmospheric poetry of Uruguayan Mario Benedetti. Next week we will be discussing the poetry of Mistral and Storni, which might be a stretch given the differences in voice and tone exemplified by these poetesses.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Moods by Mario Benedetti from "Poemas de Otros" (1974).
Translated by Yago Cura

by Mario Benedetti

Sometimes I feel
like a poor hill
and other times
like a mountain
of repeating peaks

sometimes I feel
like a cliff
and other times a sky
blue but far

sometimes one is
a geyser between rocks
and other times a tree
with its last leaves

but today I barely feel
like an insomniac lagoon
like a pier bereft of boats

a green lagoon
immobile and patient
happy with its algae
its moss and its fish

serene in my confidences
confident that one afternoon
you will come closer and look at yourself
and see yourself in your looking at me.


"Christmas Bonus by Mario Benedetti, originally from Office Poems (1950). Translated in 2000 by Harry Morales and published by Host Publications in 2006.

Christmas Bonus
by Mario Benedetti

I've already added up my bills
and I'm not paying

Not the tailor who made these lapels for me
like cock pigeon wings
or the poor grocer
who doesn't sell me sugar
or the bank that hangs me
or the bookseller who complains
or destiny that surely doesn't collect
the tender prayers
that I pay cash on delivery.

I've already added up my bills
and I'm not paying

I'll collect the Christmas bonus in one dollar bills
and I'll go walking along Dieciocho
whistling a bitter tango
like another careless person.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Ma Dukes is currently moving at 600 mph above the Gulf of Mexico or possibly the sad, stringent plains of central Texas. Touchdown in 2 hrs. and 30 mins. at L.A.X. Panda and I definitely more psyched about this than 'Linnsters. The last two weeks a sort of marathon of stressed breaths and clenched invectives since we were counting on her being here two weeks earlier.

New Sunday chore: buying a harness for 'Linnsters so Ma Dukes can keep up with our fidgety midget. If we're lucky there will be a sale on toddler harnesses and we can gladiator with other parents about which designer toddler harness is ergonomically more appropriate for our child, while said children hoist poop kibble out of their pampers. What does one wear to a harness fitting at Toys R' Us.

On Friday when I called to buy her ticket, I gave the agent the birthday we celebrate and not the birthday registered on her license. So, there I am buying her ticket and I'm about as salty as Tom Hanks at a desolate Sandals and the operator asks me my mother's birthday. Naturally, I hesitate because I remember a similar fiasco the last time I was relegated to travel agent cum son. And despite all my best intentions, I gave her incorrect name and incorrect date and birth, and the agent totally laughed at me for not knowing my mother's date of birth.

Naturally, this slight is not taken for granted. I tear into the agent and explain that my poor old ma' was born at a time when it took sometimes two months to plan and travel to the nearest civil registry. Since it was a purely clerical procedure, most people planned accordingly and did not enter the orbit of this obligation for some time, sometimes months. The way it stood with my moms, she was born born on the __ of _________ember but was not registered at the civil registry until a good two days after the year had turned in 19__.

She's has always been Estela to my sisters and I, middle name Rosa. And, we have always thought Rosa to be like a champion carrot for a slow horse: nice, but also very cliche and groncho. So, we always knew Ma Dukes as Estela Rosa, but Rosa Estela is that second skin hanging in her bureau of bones; and, there is no way that you can get rid of that coat once you've decided to lug it around your life, like paperbacks you've grown out of, etc.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012


This is Abel's third postcard. I hope he ripped the image he used in his postcard off of some of Mathew Brady's Civil War photography . Truth be told the cabaret dancer's leg coming out of that general's groin is an apt tangent, especially if you take into consideration how military garb and feminine hosiery are both very ostentatious (dare I say flamboyant and fabulous) styles of clothing. According to Brady's Wikipedia article, Brady is the father of photojournalism. Perusing a bit, I caught some content that made me a little reflective: "During the war, Brady spent over $100,000 to create over 10,000 plates. He expected the U.S. government to buy the photographs when the war ended, but when the government refused to do so he was forced to sell his New York City studio and go into bankruptcy" and "His first popular photographs of the conflict were at the First Battle of Bull Run, in which he got so close to the action that he barely avoided capture."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

20th Century Latin American Poetry @ Beyond Baroque

Starting February 6, 2012 Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd Venice, CA 90291-4805 (310) 822-3006, will offer a 20th Century Latin American Poetry workshop on Monday nights from 7-9. Yago Cura, publisher of the online journal Hinchas de Poesia (www.hinchasdepoesia.com), will serve as facilitator of the free workshops. Each session will address the work of a different 20th Century Latin American poet, and allow students to generate a piece inspired by some of their signature poems.

In Spanish, Rubén Darío’s Azul (1888) is widely credited with ushering in the literary movement called, Modernismo. The work of 20th Century Latin American poets is important because their efforts predate the work of Modernists like T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. As Ilan Stavans writes in the introduction of The FSG Book of Twentieth Century Latin American Poetry (2011), “Modernism, which, roughly speaking, came about in the English-speaking world a couple of decades later and includes Woolf, Stein, Pound, and Joyce.” It is not only erroneous to assume that modern poetry starts with Eliot’s The Wasteland (1922), but it also highlights our prejudices towards literary movements that don’t emanate in our country.

But what characterizes poetry as “Latin American?” What set of traits distinguishes it from say Icelandic poetry, or Urdu verses? Latin American poetry is eminently political and playful, sardonic, nostalgic. It has its roots in French symbolism, but was inspired by Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe. It is highly modern, and at the same time always harkens hindsight. The module starts with Rubén Darío and ends with Eduardo Galeano’s, Memory of Fire. However, Ernesto Cardenal’s epigrammatic forms will be discussed, and so will Robert Juarroz’s Vertical Poetry and Nicannor Parra’s Anti-Poetry. The fact of the matter is that Latin American poetry encapsulates many “poetries.”

Please join us on Mondays nights as we discuss the work of these great poets, and gain inspiration to compose our own works. Moreover, join us as we resuscitate the spirit and aesthetics of these writers and try to understand what makes them memorable. The work of 20th Century Latin American poets not only informs us about the history and politics of Latin America, but also about our predilections in the U.S. as many of our poets have emulated and embraced Latin American styles.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Some stories you remember because you were there, and your mind has a way of indexing random negatives. Other stories are pure incantation, either because your physical presence was not an ingredient, or because every time you tell the story you are working your way towards making the episode more real and whole.

In the winter of 1979, Estela entered LaGuardia Community College in Queens. Horacio and her had completed their G.E.D.s at Dewey High School in Bensonhurst the previous year and were primed for some vocational education. The concession machines in the student union buzzed with pure American products, and on the far wall a projector played an episode of "Sanford and Son." I can tell it was "Sanford and Son," because of the theme music (a jangly, gypsy chortle set to harmonica puffs), which even today makes me crave Twinkies, Ding-Dongs, and TAB.

Or maybe it was the following year, after Estela had worked her ways towards higher-level Fashion technology classes. Those where held in a refurbished, repurposed factory barracks and parking athenium; they had left the walls exposed brick and all the doors to the classrooms where china white. Inside the classrooms there were drafting tables and mismatched mannequins (brown heads and necks and pale torsos, etc.) and jeweler's repair tables. They had not changed the factory windows so there were what seemed like hundreds of glass squares each dolloped with a little landscape. I wish I could say that my mother created thousands of original, fashionable iterations but that would be like cheating because it never happened.