Saturday, January 17, 2009

Carlos Reyes

Carlos Reyes is a long-time noted Portland poet, writer and translator. Most recent book of poetry: A Suitcase Full of Crows (1995). Forthcoming poetry from Lost Horse Press in Spring 2004: At the Edge of the Western Wave. Books of translations: Poemas de la Isla/Island Poems by Josefina de la Torre (Eastern Washington University Press, 2000); Puertas abiertas/Open Doors by Edwin Madrid (2000), Hojas sueltas/Scattered Leaves by Josefina de la Torre (2002) and Páginas de Arena/Pages of Sand by Selena Millares (2003). Of interest is the fact that Open Doors has been translated into Arabic and this year was published in Baharain. Reyes has completed translating the Obra poética completa (Complete Poetic Works) of the preeminent Ecuadorean poet Jorge Carrera Andrade, which will be published this year in a bilingual edition in Ecuador. Current translation project: Mario Benedetti, Rincón de los haiku / Corner of Haikus. Publisher/Editor Trask House Books, Inc. Former poetry reviewer for Willamette Week, a weekly newspaper in Portland, Oregon. He travels often to Ireland where he maintains an 18th century Irish cottage and is a frequent visitor to Spain and Ecuador.

Carlos Reyes is an Irish-American poet blessed with a Hispanic name. He is the bard of Cloonanaha (County Clare, Irleand) and a poet in Portland, Oregon. Carolyn Kizer has said:
Mr. Reyes is one of our local and national treasures. His poetry is as clear and strong as his social conscience. One is always struck by his sensual and sensory qualities: the touch, taste, feel, color of things, and his ability to capture a mood, a world, in a handful of lines.


--for Tonja Larsen and Judy Fisher

At the bar words in Irish
sough between publican and customer.

He looks our way, a fisherman up
since six this morning,

abandons his half-finished pint.
Foam slides down the glass

like the tide falling away
from the stone quay a mile from here.

Uncertain of his landlegs, he staggers
away toward hearth.

We finish Guinnesses at our ease,
return to the carpark.

A man sells mussels from a burlap bag
out the boot of his car.

On the road through Letterfrack village
the freshly laid tarmacadam sizzles:

smoke and fog burn away
the soft evening sky.

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