Ilana Dann Luna translating Giancarlo Huapaya

Selections from Taller Sub Verso / Sub Verse Workshop


The curtain is a collage of home videos and clothes used by hustling sex workers. On the canvases the sonorous poets are moaning: s/he breaks the drums on spilled things like dance, s/he slides and rolls around in the spilled things: splashing what is delicious over the delicate, like an idiophone community of spillways conceives itself: s/he photocopies Polaroids and wrinkles them like their astronomical deterioration bellows with brilliant movement: s/he silences because s/he tenses like a cylindrical similar to nerve firing: s/he glances her tongue over the crystal edge since the note is venal: coherent is the machine that regulates the volumes of the speeches like the gang in a schizoid curation
Iniquitous, the symphonic tongue
because of the accents of its censures. We are all pornostars.
sometimes as is the adverb of renunciation
of the abuse of the disillusionment of speed.
The recording screams amateurism and evolution. Use the strangest thing you all can see to illustrate your amusements.


We are the dissolving of candy. An in-style limbo. Let’s split the verse with cruelty. Copyleft. Criminal micropolitics surgically operate methods of discipline. Let’s diminish masculinity without increasing the feminine. The mine embeds the tear, in italics one craves psychotropic amulets against the melancholy of sulfur. They are the curves of anthologies in aerosol, post-graffiti stickers from amusement parks. We are curves of contaminating red tape, almost autonomous, among arts.

Icicles are hung above unstable corrugated iron roads. Ventilation that motorizes the balance of fatalities impregnated by lovers negates the slight possibility of rehearsal. A semi-desiccated hedgehog speaks with its surgeon, it tells him that it sees g-spot fireworks on sad, seared retinas. The soup is divvied up inside the tunnel of hung-up audiences that sorrow the shadow. An enormous mug turns with intimate dishonesty in the cupola of an abandoned factory. My childhood runs between the bosoms of transgenic crops. The end of the fallible speeches is refined. You all are records of scenes of contagion and dependence among fragrant branches dedicated to impertinent deities.


Spin the letter each time you finish. The clock is the optical illusion of the monument. Look for a response in the prostates of lit candles. The perpendicular esses that gravitate bionic in their waning moons while I yell at the grasshoppers ruins of constellations, now they stick to the clouds like bursts of memories, tonight the stories will end in the disgrace of those sentenced. You will mutilate harlequins of unsolved crimes, with the remnants you will name and attack each other. In your lymph nodes there exist craters of devastating lava dreams.

That S will traverse the vowels of your howls, the velvets. It will suppress the first letter of your name, will walk it on a leash, will order it to lick the phlegm and to feed it from its own mouth. Receive the instructions to stay in the background scene. Destruction of your vanities thanks to the licking of your almonds. Voracious flying kick in the wind. Hide your yet undeciphered codes in the indiscreet reader. Fleeting matches will bellow against darkness.

That S is also the whip that will fall heavy on your destiny. The animals will fornicate in the graffiti while the silk marks the inside of your teeth. The hills are the curves of erotic bodies of a guerilla cumbia.

Translator’s Note

Giancarlo Huapaya’s book Taller Sub Verso (Sub-Verse Workshop) is constructed like an Abecedary, in which each letter is a space where processes and performances are developed, involving bio-political relations, micro-economies, neo-mythologies, sexual technologies, hybrid esthetics, and elastic concepts that are activated through mechanisms of evolution and mutation. This selection highlights three of the poems that, though not united by a theme, share the same swirling, heady, corporeal atmosphere that links the collection as a whole, at the interstices of essayistic argumentation, the fragmentation of poetry, and the dynamics of performance.

My approach to translation varies with each text that I confront. That is, I believe that translation is first and foremost an act of listening. Though “fidelity” to a deep sense or meaning is an important criterion for translation, it is certainly not the only one. I believe that each text, especially each poetic text, offers its interlocutors its own unique key with which to open it. In some poems, this will be the cadence, the rhythm, or the sonorous urgency that takes the lead. In other poems it is the playfulness among words and concepts, the exchange across space and time, or the volley between opposing conceptual courts that begs to be highlighted. In some cases, there are multiple levels of meaning, and my goal is to capture as much of this polyvalence as possible in the translated language, and in others, the goal is to preserve the original ambiguity. What makes this particular collaboration especially fruitful is the fact that the author, Giancarlo Huapaya, and I have been able to work side by side.

I was excited to work with Giancarlo because his poetry vibrates, it crackles, and it allows me to fully move across the visceral and cerebral planes, back and forth, always circling in towards a core of human experience, a painful or beautiful truth about the nature of humans as political, sexual, sanguine beings. Such collaboration has allowed me to interrogate, to understand veiled references, to bring these to the fore. Together we made choices based on sonority, significance and, at times, we sought the sensation of strangeness in a precise word usage or turn of phrase. I see the translation of contemporary work an act of transcreation in which translation is a dialogic process that allows me to breathe a different life into the poetry, capturing, too, the spirit of the times in the new language while honoring the source language and its linguistic and cultural particularities.

Ilana Dann Luna holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she graduated with an emphasis in literary translation. She is an assistant professor of Latin American Studies at Arizona State University. Her book Adapting Gender: Mexican Feminisms from Literature to Film (forthcoming SUNY Press) meditates on one aspect of translation: the adaptation of literary text to film. Recent translations of Mexican poet Ignacio Ruíz Pérez have appeared in the Houston Poetry Festival Anthology and Askew, and translations of Peruvian poet Paul Guillen appeared in Hostos Review/ Revista Hostiana.

Giancarlo Huapaya (Lima, Peru) is Founder and Editor of Cardboard House Press. He is author of the books Estado y Contemplación/ Canción de Canción se Gana, Polisexual and Taller Sub Verso, and the editor of the anthology Pulenta Pool: Peruvian Poets in the United States (Hostos Review, 2017). He will soon present an exhibition of the past fifteen years of Peruvian visual poetry at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Previously, he was the advisor of the editorial and music industry policies of Cultural Industries of Lima, and he was the director of the Lima Poetry Festival during its first three years.