words by Omar Pérez
Lebensraum is a solid book, with a very well established central self. There are two things that call the attention: a conscious state of adolescence and the domain of an unexpected solution.
By conscious adolescence I mean that it is a maturity that does not stall; that it is not focused in one style, that maintains an almost painful state of consciousness, I insist, in which the person looks for a an opponent in his surroundings, an interlocutor that proposes a hard challenge. This increases the conscience of the person who writes, the person who thinks.
Regarding the unexpected solution, there is of course a lineage that goes back to what Lara himself mentions in one of his poems, Lautréamont’s calling to set in the umbrella and the sewing machine in the dissection table, I mean, elements that are apparently unconnected in a same existential space.
It is not just that, but also that the work with the words to describe, the metaphoric work—maybe the own pictorial formation of the author—tends to achieve unpredictable combinations and give the group a taste of constant improvisation. The reader does not get used to what is known as style—despite the fact that it is a homogenous book from the structural point of view—since this person is constantly putting words and phrases together in the poems, a dialogue that is a far cry from the pre-established conditions and all this gives the taste of the unexpected to the entire collection.
As for the translation of Lebensraum, the first task is to meet the above mentioned person. This is not a difficult task: the person or the people turn into a well conformed voice that knows what it is saying and how it is saying it. Camouflaged, if wanted, in a daily life as any other, even when theirs is certainly not, they slowly go dealing with crucial issues of the present moment of civilization.
To face this from the point of view of translation leads to be clear that, just as rhythm and sound are important, then the philosophical element is definitive. It should not be left aside because there is a contribution to the ideology of the human being here, we are not going to use the word modern, because we don’t know if it is actually a modern man or a human being involved in a sort of a post-Middle Ages era, I mean, a human being who finds himself in the terrible contradiction between the technological development and the degeneration of conscience. The translator should take into account THAR these ideological elements should remain, as in the original, as transparent as possible and this entails to make good use of the cognates, to try to be literal when is possible to be so, to not look for a beautiful translation at the expense of sense.
In the surface, Lara seems to be a combination of Denzel Washington and Jack DeJohnette. From Denzel Washington he gets the black hero looks, and from Jack DeJohnette the seriousness of the improviser who has proven himself for a long time. Regarding his work, he is still a black hero, and a person who has worked the sense of improvisation in art. His ability to avoid style, which always takes the risk of generating a new kind of style, is admirable. His power to work diverse media: iron, plastic arts, filming, video, music or poetry gives the idea of a renaissance artist who is not afraid of making mistakes, and therefore, he usually hits the nail on the head.
Havana, May 18, 2016.