Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Short story sale to Strange Horizons!

Strange Horizons has accepted my story "Among the Sighs of the Violoncellos" for publication later this year. I'm absolutely thrilled with this news. I've been teasing people with trying to see if they can guess the origin of the title. It's a translation of a line of a famous Spanish poem by Rubén Darío, "Era un aire suave." Though not a perfectly literal translation.

Darío, a Nicaraguan, is considered the father of Spanish modernism, and my understanding is that this poem especially is one of those very well known poems that everyone who grew up in Spain just kind of knows. Even people who haven't studied poetry will have some vague recognition of the lines. At least, this was the impression I was given by my professors. It was up there with "Que descansada vida..." and "En una noche oscura..." for familiarity. But surprisingly Darío hasn't received much notice in translation, as far as I can pick up.

So a while back I was playing around with a loose translation of the opening to the poem, and this is the final line of the first stanza. Actually, it should be "...among the sobs of the violoncellos." I forget now why I made it "sighs," but I think I just liked the flow it gave better, a smooth /z/ sound instead of the stop of a /b/.

Anyway, it's a fun poem, with more of an emphasis on the sounds of the words than the meaning. So if you speak Spanish, give it a (re)read. And I'll post more on how that poem led to this story at a later date.

(My translation of the first stanza has changed back and forth on some parts, but roughly goes "It was a smooth air of deliberate turnings; / The fairy Harmonia fluttered her wings, / And there went vague phrases and tenuous breaths / among the sighs of the violoncellos."

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