Translator of “Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth” by Mario Santiago Papasquiaro
Welcome to “Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano,” the Estuary Press video series. In each episode I dialog with a favorite author and/or translator reading from their own writings. In this first segment I talk with Arturo Mantecón, a brilliant California poet and Spanish to English translator.
Arturo Mantecón’s new book
Mantecón’s new book of translations, Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth: Selected Poems of Mario Santiago Papasquiaro, truly captures Santiago’s meaning and flavor. Mantecón, ever on the look-out for poets to translate from Spanish to English, has discovered Mexico City poet, Mario Santiago (his pen name) to bring to the English speaking world. The translations sing off the page and the original Spanish is right there for you to check and enjoy.
Mario Santiago Papasquiaro (1953-1998) joined forces with Chilean detective writer Roberto Bolaños, before fame and fortune hit Bolaños, when they were both young literary rebels in the 1970’s. Bolaños fans may recognize Mario Santiago as the model for the character “Ulises Lima” in “The Savage Detective.” They harassed established poets at poetry readings shouting and interrupting them with their infrarealismo (infrarealism) doctrines.
Santiago wrote down his verse on odd scraps of paper and didn’t rewrite or edit, believing instead that first thoughts are the best. His admiration for Beat poets and rebel rock and roll groups of the 1970’s and `80’s are reflected in his poems. His poetry explodes words. Santiago’s exuberance and extreme opinions and passions resonate with Mantecon’s translation which match the poet’s energy and uninhibited expression.
Mario Santiago would disappear frequently, taking off on treks in many directions including to Israel and Europe following his heart in search of love. But wherever he traveled his Mexican-ness came with him and found its way into his poems.
Arturo Mantecón provides the English reader fascinating end notes that highlight the cultural life and slang of the bohemian elements of Mexico City in Mario Santiago’s time.
Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth by Mario Santiago Papasquiaros as translated by Arturo Mantecón is a terrific book made even better by the expressive visual art of Chicano artist, Maceo Montoya which adorns the cover and includes nine painting illustrations inside the book. The book is published by Diágolos, (dialogosbooks.com).
Mantecón readings bring his translations vividly to life as you will see in this video.