Assistant Poetry Editor Jessica Marion Modi discusses three poems by Chus Pato
Issue 37’s publication of Chus Pato’s “Three Poems from Flesh of Leviathan” translated by Erín Moure could not come at a better time. Pato just published her first collection in the US, Flesh of Leviathan, and Moure was recently awarded the 2016-2017 Woodberry Creative Fellowship.
On top of the writers’ accomplishments, the poems and their deft translations are breathtaking. As the title denotes, they take place after, in the Talmud, God serves the flesh of the monster Leviathan to the Just after the final judgement. The poems act as a kind of post-apocalyptic reckoning of the present and what’s to come:
[a] poem/would be a limit
simultaneously exception and paradigm
written not just with names, but with the passions that dictate names
After everything, including nomenclature, has been wiped clean, these lyrics attempt to remake the rules and limits of poetry with the irregular line lengths and abrupt back-slash ceasuras. The language almost cracks and fractures under the pressure of exploring a new sonic and geographic world. In spare images, we bear witness to the speaker (or the entire surviving population) going to extremes and back.
Whosoever crosses the wilds and returns
admits to no one
dreams of the voice
and attuned to the voice
I certainly felt revitalized while reading.