Where do you draw boundaries between a translator’s research and the collecting of stories about the poet? Stories expand on the truth while distorting the truth. Hearing them is an inevitable part of the translation process — or at least it has been for me, because I have translated materials over time from a series of writers with links to the same city, which means that my interpretations are partially influenced by the city's shifting artistic community.
Whereas Nelson Villalobos articulates visual qualities so important to the poetic gesticulations of Angel Escobar, Carlos A. Aguilera captures Escobar’s motion in terms of theater, another arena of expression that was important to the poet. Aguilera depicts Escobar’s lyric selves on stage, jerking through poems with the grace and awkwardness of marionettes. His remarks culminate with the audience's stunned and necessary silence.
Angel Escobar’s awareness of motion is one of the many elements that make his poems undeniably powerful. To me, as I translate his poems, there is no doubt that Escobar (1957-1997) created multivalent, energetic work, and that a quick reading of one or two poems at least hints at his range. Other writers, at the very least other poets, must recognize the surety of his movements.