Zeno of Citium Reflects Aloud by Gemma Gorga – translated by Sharon Dolin

I pass my hand over the wooden table

to see if it has a fever; I still need

to learn to recognize the silent sorrow

of objects, the docile pose with which

they catch the acid rain of hours.

At which school do they teach the serene

ache of chair, bedsheet, marble?

Who would say that the closet misses the wind

and the wings of the fir trees? It complains at night,

but during the day it opens up into a light, airy space,

and, at times, it even seems to smile.



Sharon Dolin is the award-winning author of six collections of poetry, most recently: Manual for Living, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). She received a PEN-Heim Translation Fund grant to translate from Catalan Gemma Gorga’s book of prose poems, Book of Minutes, which is forthcoming in a bilingual edition from the Field Translation Series, Oberlin University Press in Spring, 2019. The two poems here are from an ongoing translation project: Selected Poems of Gemma Gorga. She directs Writing About Art in Barcelona each June.

Gemma Gorga is a contemporary poet writing in Catalan, author of seven books of poetry, most recently Viatge al Centre (Voyage to the Center, Barcelona, 2018) and Mur (Wall, Barcelona, 2015), which won the Premi de la Critica de Poesia Catalana for the best book of poetry published in Catalan for that year. Her collection of prose poems, Llibre dels minuts (Book of Minutes, Barcelona 2006) won the Premi Miquel de Palol (2006). She teaches Medieval and Renaissance Spanish Literature at the University of Barcelona.