Maite Dono (Vitoria, Spain 1969) has combined her theater work with her musical career since 1993. Her discography contains: Heart Brief (1998), The Vertical Sea (2001), Sons-nus (2010). She has worked and collaborated with various bands and musicians, and with artists from different areas in on mixed genre projects. In her performative career, she has collaborated with experimental rock group The Intruder, with a project called LACALLE. As a poet she has published Manta Shadow (Libertarian /Prodhufi, 1996), Vertical Sea (Spiral Maior, 2000), Desilencios (2003) and Circus Girl (El Gaviero, 2009). She has written plays and stories. Her work also appears in various books and magazines. Find our more information at www.maitedono.com

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An introduction to Maite Dono written by Spanish poet Luna Miguel:

Maybe if we ask any reader of Spanish poetry, the name of Maite Dono does not appear among their favorites, but there is a simple and brief explanation: Dono is an author who has always published in small presses, who has become known in the world of music and performance, and often prefers to stay hidden, because she has to be shut off to write these brutal verses that every so often she screams out with great strength to the world, after having peeked out into it.

Loved mainly by a group of very young readers from my country, Maite Dono is the author of one of the books that has most influenced me lately. That is Circus Girl, which these poems translated below are included from.

Maite is pure strength, pure sex, pure feminism, pure brute finesse, pure heartbeat. Those who have read authors in English such as Eileen Myles, Dorothea Lasky or Ariana Reines will find in these verses a similar one, although much more lyrical and delirious.

Reading her is exciting. Reading her, means to restore confidence in the idea that another poetry is possible.

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Mom, Uproot My Vagina

Mom
Uproot my vagina
I don’t know a more fateful setting
May they not come to knead me anymore
Men’s rough hands
With their experience on concrete and whores
Mom do me that great favor
Please
Allow me my girlhood again
With my prissy little bag
With my brand-new dress
With my bow on my hair
And my crossed thong sandals
Mom
Here’s my last opportunity
Uproot my vagina
And settle it out solemnly
On my father’s wince

 

 

She's Far Away As If

Aye
The wind turtle-like dispels a ship on glossy paper
The horse’s haunches shine
His elderly father’s bald spot shines
A church
A cut-out church with a pale complexion
Either a Bison-Man or Rutger Hauer travels on that ship
Angelopoulos
It appears to be a fake
His chilling molten blue eyes appear to be a fake
His damsel-like corpus, the church
Seas of concrete
Because they don’t feel

???

Who’s challenging my heart
Hopelessly exalted?
Always suffering unevenness
Ah!
To love is even more difficult
Than to dodge a stampede of injected gnus
Yet I love…

And the hillsides bleed
And harden…

Let’s say that as Christ I walk on water
I see the name
The name, in the ronsel* of water
The name is drawn after each shipwreck

And distant
Distant because sadness… is more sadness, is more, is more…
Distant because of speaking with cups, archers and spiders
Twenty years of an abandoned house na* Ribeira Sacra
as photographed by Emilio Araúxo
Distant because of feeding a past love
Distant, anyway
Let’s turn the page


…..
…..

Around here, the retinue
Around here, the light of the lantern guides us toward the Castro

What am I to say?
Crying endlessly in front of the sea
Teach me not to feel
The ice floes
Here’s the title for a future book
Here’s how one lingers


….
…….
??????

Don’t say bits of paleness, you fool
Have some cod liver oil and it’ll whet your appetite
What appetite?
Strange word
Give me my appetite
It’s said of: a toy of a solitary boy
Orphan girl
With neither flannel nor glory
Puke me

Sadness is such a thing it’s felt here:

Sadness is the desire for escape from Locus Amoenus to ______
For escape from son’s body and throw oneself through the air shaft
For escape from the bluish and exultant sex of the lover down the cart
For escape from lukewarm water with the smell of orange blossom to the precipitous page
For escape from the musical hall to the pig-sty overrun with flies
For escape from a mother’s breast to the nouveau roman
For escape from the docile river to the eyes without weighing scales

Sadness is something felt, here
Here
Here, here
Here, here, here
Here, here, here, here
Here, here, here, here, here
Here, here, here, here, here, here
Here, here, here, here, here, here, here
Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here
Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here
Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here
Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here
Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here
Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here
Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here
Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here

They came for me
Already distant and phosphorescent

*A word from the Galician language (Dono is bilingual and writes poetry in both Spanish and Galician). She informs me that “ronsel” means “wake”.

**“na” is Galician for “in the."

 

How Small I Am (Intro)

Well… it was…
I told him
And then since… so it seemed to me
But he said no
Then… how does one react?
You stay calm
You stay misplaced
It was a conversation on the same level in a restaurant
And then since… he was a teacher
And I wasn’t even a student
I was something…
What I was I didn’t know…
But I saw myself in the position of having to argue
And Mr. Pig-Headed with his discourses: art is this
For me art is not this… For me art is another thing
Maybe it’s not interesting, but it’s something one feels here here here here here…
And Mr. Pig-Headed pig-headed… And I didn’t know how to explain to him and how to explain it to him
And he left, he left from the restaurant and years after it occurred to me
To write him a poem in order to explain to him what was happening to me at that moment

 

How Small I Am

How small
But if I move everything moves
If I misplace myself everything gets misplaced

I have escaped from the hospital
I have the strength of dying as an insurgent
I wear red tassels and shit-steppers***
The anesthesia lasts while I walk toward you

I am emotion
I am the erection of an emotion

I smell of honey cream and coarse things
Don’t bother creating anything else
Hard-fought forces, peat giants
Emotion should destroy you or instruct you a bit more,
Open your mouth
Spill your guts all over your work desk

(Once upon a time there was a fragile, fragile conductor
Once upon a time there was a fragile conductor who made miracles
Though he afterwards collapsed)

Only in fragilities

I believe

I am emotion walking toward you
I am the erection of an emotion

We argue amicably
You think I shouldn’t leave my cunt open
Give my cunt as a gift for the famine of the soldiers
But I do it
My cunt deserves a hungry soldier
My cunt full of the drool of a fragile soldier
Who ’coz he doesn’t want to fight
There he hides

(Once upon a time there was a woman dressed as a man
An insurgent poet from the desert
Who died during a flood…)

I am emotion
I am the erection of an emotion

All right, all right, everything is about that, all right
About elaborating discourses, peopling them with references
Justifying an emotion before feeling it, all right…
But I see it the opposite way
:

I feel therefore I am
I feel therefore I am
I feel therefore I am
I feel therefore I am
I feel therefore I am
I feel therefore I am

I won’t bother saying it

I am emotion walking towards you

Do you remember the cinnamon cotton candy in an envelope, also the vanilla?
And the doll cut into pieces and my writing?
And the nest made up of my white hair?
And the earthy sock?
And the sock filled with The North China Lover?
And the white china tray with the book coated with flour and my blood?
And the apple rotten for two years?
And the dress of dresses, and the poem about the smallest red?
Etc...?

I am emotion walking towards you
I am the erection of an emotion

I should teach you in which way
I should teach you in which way Art is that
First of all, that
Head behind, soul forward

I am emotion
I am the erection of an emotion

***Dono includes here a neologism, “pisamierdas”, referring to a sort of military boots.

 


These poems originally written in Spanish by Maite Dono and translated by Mario Domínguez Parra.

Mario Domínguez Parra (Spain, 1972) is a poet, essayist and translator. He is the author of Apolonía (Islas Canarias, Ediciones Idea, 2006) and translates between English, Spanish, Greek and Portuguese. For more information, check out his blog: http://logotejnikimetafrasi.wordpress.com/