The Soundless Songs by Daniel Calabrese – translated by Katherine Hedeen

We left the microphone going

all night in an abandoned forest.


The next day we played back the recording

but couldn’t hear anything but a whoosh.

It was like the metallic wind

of a sterile planet.


We played it back faster.

Then low noises began to emerge

like a conversation between two trees

spreading out over the country

toward Route 2.


We played it back even faster

and the sounds swelled

like the conversation between two trees growing

and if you listen close

with your head up against the wood

at some point it seems like the creaking

of words like “mirror,” “mirage,”

and then words so slowly like

“rood,” “crossbeam”

“wayside cross.”



Daniel Calabrese is an Argentinian poet, born in Dolores, Buenos Aires Province. He has lived in Santiago de Chile since 1991, where he is deeply involved in the literary life of his adopted country. The poems here belong to Ruta Dos / Route 2, winner of the Revista de Libros Prize in Chile, published with the prestigious Spanish press Visor, and praised by Chilean poet Raúl Zurita as an ‘outstanding example … of the power and originality of today’s Latin American poetry.’ Calabrese is also the founder and editor of Ærea, one of the most exciting and innovative independent presses in Latin America.

Katherine M. Hedeen is a translator, literary critic, and essayist. A specialist in Latin American poetry, her publications include book-length collections by Jorgenrique Adoum, Juan Bañuelos, Juan Calzadilla, Juan Gelman, Fayad Jamís, Hugo Mujica, José Emilio Pacheco, Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, and Ida Vitale, among many others. She is a recipient of two NEA Translation grants in the US and a PEN Translates award in the UK. She is the Associate Editor for Action Books and the Poetry in Translation Editor at the Kenyon Review. More information here: