Cover image for Flower, Song, Dance

The cover image for my book of translated Mesoamerican verse, Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry, out this fall from Lamar University Press. A shout-out to artist Noé Vela for this fantastic painting.  

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Illustrations for Flower, Song, Dance

Here are a few illustrations from my collection of Mesoamerican verse Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry, forthcoming from Lamar University Press. All images © 2013 Nicol Bowles.  

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The Aging Muse (Sappho)

Sappho was an incredible poet of the ancient world, but most of her poetry has been lost to us. In 2004, Michael Gronewald and Robert Daniel announced that a papyrus in the University of Cologne contained poems of Sappho. This text, recovered from a sort of papier-mâché used for Egyptian mummy masks,…

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Eternal Love (Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer)

At the behest of a friend, here’s my version of Bécquer’s famous poem: Eternal Love The face of the sun may darken forever, The oceans run dry in an instant of fire. The axis spinning our planet may shatter Like so much brittle crystal. Yes, all of that may happen! At…

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Where Songs Begin

From my volume of Mesoamerican verse, Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry (Lamar University Press 2013). This poem is the first in a collection of Nahuatl songs known as the “Cantares Mexicanos” or Songs of Mexico written down by indigenous scholars in the 16th century. The original title of…

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The Labyrinth (Jorge Luis Borges)

The Labyrinth Zeus could never untangle the nets of stone that surround me. I have forgotten the men I once was; I follow the hateful path of monotonous walls which is my destiny. Straight galleries which curve in secret circles as the years wear on. Parapets cracked by the usury…

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Rhyme LII (Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer)

Rhyme LII Giant waves that braying break upon remote, deserted beaches, wrapped in your sheets of foam, take me with you! Hurricane blasts that rip away from the towering woods their withered leaves, dragged along in your blind whirlwind, take me with you! Tempest clouds that the sunbeam breaks and…

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In the Wilds There Is a Dead Doe

From the Shi Jing or Holy Book of Songs, a collection of ancient Chinese poetry written between 1600 and 600 B.C.E. (the collection may have been edited down to its present 305 pieces by Kung Fu-Tzu [Confucius]): 23. In the wilds there is a dead doe In the wilds there…

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Ode 1.5 (Horace)

Ode 1.5 What slender boy bathed in a flowing smell Courts you, Pyrrha, on roses Within some pleasant cave? Whom do you braid that golden hair for, Simple and neat? Ah, how often He’ll weep at how faith and gods change, And he’ll marvel, unaccustomed, At this rough sea that’s…

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XLII (Catullus)

Here’s a put-down poem by one of my favorites, Catullus, one of a group of young Roman poets who revolutionized poetry in the 1st century BCE: XLII Come, Hendecasyllables, come one and all, From everywhere, as many as you may be, For an ugly, skanky slut thinks I’m a joke…

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