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May 24, 2013 (6)

If Romeo + Juliet is the ultimate doomed love story written in English, then Federico Garcia Lorca’s Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding) is the equivalent in Spanish. Written 81 years ago, it blows the top of my skull every time I read it (I’ve yet to see it live, for some reason Spanish drama has not caught on in West Michigan, which is odd, considering the amount of migrant labor that works in the farmland around where I live). I am amazed not just because of its savagery, but its poetry. It is surreal in the way the Dadaists were surreal. It’s horrific in the way the first World War scarred an entire generation (Generación del 27). There are several very good translations of the play in English one can read online, however, as far as I know, no one has translated into Armenian, the language of mountains that echoes time.

As with all my attempts at translations, I must apologize for my poor language skills. I am dyslexic and impatient in equal measures. To me it is better to have a bad translation, one that might inspire someone else with better skills than I have to publish something truly amazing, than to have no translation at all. I keep looking for a tutor or mentor who can help me with my Armenian language skills. I suppose one day I might find it (Armenian is gender neutral, there is no “he” or “she,” just the word “na”) and until then I will keep posting my attempts at translation.

For the record, if anyone wants a much better version of the play, please consider reading Langston Hughes’ 1938 translation (published two years after my dear Federico was murdered by fascists in the opening days of the Spanish Civil War). As the old song goes, “por mi Diosa, el amor que el amado.” Indeed, how can I not be not amazed at such wonderful words?