An odd choice for Valentine’s Day, perhaps? Bear with me, you’ll see.
In Blake’s image, a woman powered with sunlight faces down a dragon. This ultimate battle between good and evil from the Book of Revelation is the cover image of the first collection of Ana Luisa Amaral’s poetry with English translations by Margaret Jull Costa, The Art of Being a Tiger. And it is indeed strong stuff, deft in referencing a long history of art and literature, yet startingly new.
I warmed to Amaral immediately. She ranges between the metaphysical and the apparently very ordinary, describing the experience of so many women well.
Startlingly, she knows exactly how the reader herself may be feeling while reading, and gets right under her skin with humour and wit.
My only regret about this glorious interplay of light and darkness, high and low, is that it was so short. I want to read more, but I don’t speak Portuguese, so I can’t. I was left with an old recipe to try out instead. And it’s perfect for today.
Margaret Jull Costa, we need more translations of Ana Luisa Amaral, please! This splendid selection covers eleven collections published over twenty-five years. There are plenty more recipes for love to be translated, and much besides.