Peter Boyle

Peter Boyle is a Sydney-based poet and translator of poetry. He holds a Masters Degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from the University of New South Wales and a Doctorate in Creative Arts from the University of Western Sydney. He has published ten books of poetry and nine books as a translator of poetry from Spanish. His most recent collections are Ideas of Travel and Notes Towards the Dreambook of Endings (Vagabond Press, 2022 and 2021). In 2020, his book Enfolded in the Wings of a Great Darkness won the New South Wales Premier’s Award for Poetry. His book Ghostspeaking also received the New South Wales Premier’s Award in 2017. He has performed his poetry at International Poetry Festivals in Canada, France, Colombia, Venezuela, Macedonia, Nicaragua and El Salvador. As a translator his books include Anima and No Known Cause by Cuban poet José Kozer, The Trees: Selected Poems of Eugenio Montejo, and Three Poets: Olga Orozco, Marosa Di Giorgio and Jorge Palma. His translations of French poets René Char, Pierre Reverdy, Yves Bonnefoy and Max Jacob have appeared in journals and anthologies in the USA. In 2013 he was awarded the New South Wales Premier’s Award for Literary Translation.

After reading Ko Hyeong-ryeol’s ‘I am not in Erdene Zuu Monastery’

If every thought has its own melody and some melodies land flat, bouncing back onto the earth, while others launch a little way into the air and linger just slightly beyond us, thoughts expressed in words, even if addressed only …

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You had to go far inside the eye of a grasshopper, under tilting polar ice packs, under the taut shoulders of women rushing home, slinging a satchel of rice and vegetables into their haste, and then go further slipping between …

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Five Companions

1. Small spider Next to the strawberries I am cutting on the kitchen counter you step out intent on exploring the world. Gladly I leave you your portion of the visible field and the privacy of your millennial appetites.   …

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Awaiting the Death Sentence, Alone in the Pavilion of Lost Swans, the Emperor Plays Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 20 in D Minor

Extending from sleeves of pure gold the Emperor’s hands uncurl their fingers across the piano’s darkly chequered counters. The earth is suddenly spinning in fast motion. And the beautiful black androgynous hair sweeps down his back, defying age. How long …

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3 Translated Samuel Trigueros Espino Poems

Image courtesy of Festival de Poesía El Salvador PIGS ‘I have seen friends Circe turned into pigs. Her wheel, her diamond. The pigs don’t know my hideouts, mercenaries of shadows.’ –Edilberto Cardona Bulnes I have beheaded pigs, but Circe insists …

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Border Crossing

When you get there. At the frontier. It is very dangerous. Invisible precipices. Water sharp as knives. There are children playing between rocks. Many guns scan the bodies of the children. Suitcases tear open. A play of hands taking out …

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2 Poems by Olga Orozco

Cartomancy The dogs that sniff out the lineage of ghosts, listen to them barking, listen to them tear apart the drawing of the omen. Listen. Someone approaches: the floorboards are creaking under your feet as if you will never stop …

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from Marosa di Giorgio’s Funeral carriages laden with watermelons

What a strange species is the species angel. When I was born I heard them say “Angel”, “Angels”, or other names. “Spikenard”, “Iris”. Foam that grows on branches, the most delicate porcelain increasing all by itself. Spikenard. Iris.

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Discovered in a Rock Pool

A star-shaped object rising up out of the water – five wavering arms, five spokes of a chariot wheel, five curved cylinders, at their centre a cluster of grey barnacles, small pearls, a silver light, the water that drips from …

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José Kozer’s ‘Wherein it is seen how buried always inside me is a Jew’ in English and Spanish

Wherein it is seen how buried always inside me is a Jew To howl out ballads, to hear plainchant up ahead, constantly, right to the end. To tread ears of corn on Judgement Day, and see wholegrain bread emerge from …

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Jack Gilbert Gets ‘Foeted’

Anonymously they came for his bones hoping they would still hang with some flesh. ‘Blah blah’ said one, and ‘Yes yes’ said the other. Little too-mortal teeth ripping into the poems they knew were not the truth of it. ‘Oh …

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8 Poems by Gastón Baquero

Gastón Baquero by Eduardo Margareto Born in Banes, Cuba, in 1916, Gastón Baqero grew up in the countryside, a rural beginning that figures as one element in his, in many ways very urbane, poetry. He was part of the Orígenes …

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“A hundred mute gods”

(A hundred mute gods, their eyes all put out, crowd together on a stone altar. Starved of blood. Lingering on in their hunger for one more sunset. A Sybil dozing lightly in an iron lung prophesies.) It may be a …

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Peter Boyle Reviews Yasuhiro Yotsumoto and Shuntaro Tanikawa

At the outset I will say that, though my own latest book Apocrypha was published by Vagabond Press, I hold no financial interest in the press nor any motivation to promote these two books other than the merits I find in them. The first collection under review, Yotsumoto’s Family Room, masterfully transcends the opposition between tradition and experiment; and Watashi, Tanikawa’s 20th collection to be published in English translation, certainly confirms this reviewer’s impression of being in the presence of a major poet.

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My soul is wet with the tears of impossible things

“My soul is wet with the tears of impossible things” — Federico Garcia Lorca, ‘Todo será el corazón’ On the surface of the eternal soul hundreds of verses moistened with our lives that have grown sick and weary. I carry …

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The dark has taken root on all four walls

Translated with Peter Boyle “The dark has taken root on all four walls” — Kevin Hart, ‘Room’ Holding fast to this line of Kevin Hart through their deep roots I enter the experience of those prison days. Once more I …

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You go to a restaurant and you eat a meal and you choke and die. It happens like that. You feel horny and you visit a sauna, get careless, and you catch AIDS and die. You open a present while …

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Vlado Perlemuter Playing Ravel

The elegant sadness of this music is just the first layer. Beneath enter again the corsetry of a remote childhood, the bindings between the shoulder the neck the puffed belly. Find the white lonely fingers poised above a lake in …

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