The Pineapple Tree by Rolando Kattan, translated by Katherine M. Hedeen


After leaving Palestine, he wanted to find a pineapple tree in these lands, envisioned it densely-leafed like what God had planted in Paradise.

He left his land behind with hopes of a new one but didn’t find what he thought he might.

In this poem, my grandfather can gather pineapples from a treetop because in a poem anything can grow, imaginary trees, fruit a thousand years old, even a native country.

Still, I must insist. (Here what I’d like to take root once more isn’t a tree, but the hope that somewhere there’s a place still brimming with pineapple trees).
Rolando Kattan (Tegucigalpa, 1979) is a poet, publisher, bibliophile, and cultural activist. He has brought out five books of poetry and received honorable mention in the Ruben Dario Poetry Prize. He founded and co-edited Leer es Fiesta, a project that distributed one million books for free. Kattan owns the most important collection of Honduran literary and history books in Honduras, and recently founded the traveling museum Honduras Ex-Libris, based on his collection.

Katherine M. Hedeen’s latest book-length translations include night badly written (Action Books) and tasks (coimpress, longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award, shortlisted for the National Translation Award, 2017) by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, and Nothing Out of This World, an anthology of contemporary Cuban poetry (Smokestack, Winner, English PEN Award). She is the Poetry Translation Editor for The Kenyon Review and a two-time recipient of a NEA Translation Project Grant. She is a Professor of Spanish at Kenyon College.