Fernando Valverde

Translator’s Note on Fernando Valverde’s Work:

“Snow Covered Landscape” is from Fernando Valverde’s 2004 collection Razones para huir de una ciudad con frío, a work that left me with a feeling of cold, a sense of solitude and nostalgia. In this poem, we are reminded of time’s inevitable passing, and of the way that the mundane can evoke memory, such as in the lines “the rain…/ remained constant, tracing/ your face on windows and shop fronts.” 


Fernando Valverde is a critically acclaimed poet based in Granada, Spain. He has been widely published not only in Spain (by Visor Libros), but throughout Latin America. He has been awarded, among others, the Juan Ramón Jimenez prize, the Premio del tren ‘Antonio Machado’ for his poem Celia o El viaje del mundo, and the Premio Emilio Alarcos for his most recent book Los ojos del pelícano. An English version of the latter (The Eyes of the Pelican) was recently published by the University Press of North Georgia. Valverde is the director and co-founder of the Festival Internacional de Poesía de Granada.


Liam Walke (translator) is making his debut as a literary translator, though his translations have appeared previously in Diálogos online forum. Collaborating with Fernando Valverde to publish an English/bilingual version of Razones para huir de una ciudad con frío is his first major project. Liam lives in Montreal, Canada, where he works as a freelance translator and editor. Find out more at Liam’s blog or here.  


Snow Covered Landscape

The snow appeared this morning,
it is a solemn act after so much time,
a moment of peace
that hides the summer’s ragged vignettes.

And the rain, the rain that predicted this story
remained constant, tracing
your face on windows and shop fronts.

I had just enough time to kiss somebody
until my lips were purple and cracked.

A strange taste of you, without you, so clearly ours.

The children came out of their houses
with neither books nor wallets,
so weighed down already
by the strange presence of discoveries.

And the hats,
a city covered in colourful hats,
I thought I saw you a thousand times,
leaving some bar or with your tired
face, and your expectations,
your grievances, your yawns.

The cars seem like the embers
of a primitive fire,
entranceways are guests of smoke
and a trembling of promise undoes
beyond the hours and all the plazas.

It snowed tonight, I’m cold,
I woke up sweating and winter existed.


Paisaje nevado

La nieve ha aparecido esta mañana,
es un acto solemne después de tanto tiempo,
un momento de paz
que esconde las estampas traposas del verano.

Y la lluvia, la lluvia que predijo este suceso
permaneció constante dibujando
tu rostro en las ventanas y en los escaparates.

Tuve tiempo siquiera para besar alguno
hasta tener los labios morados y con grietas.

Un extraño sabor a ti, sin ti, tan nuestro.

Los niños han salido hoy de sus casas
sin libros ni carteras,
iban ya muy cargados
de la extraña presencia de los descubrimientos.

Y los gorros,
los gorros de colores por toda la ciudad,
creí reconocerte cien mil veces,
saliendo de algún bar o con el rostro
cansado, y tus expectativas,
y agravios, y bostezos.

Los coches se parecen a las brasas
de un fuego primitivo,
los portales son huéspedes de humo
y un temblor de promesa se deshace
más allá de las horas y de todas las plazas.

Ha nevado esta noche, tengo frío,
me desperté sudando y el invierno existía.

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