Robin Myers is a poet and Spanish-to-English translator. Her translations include Salt Crystals by Cristina Bendek (Charco Press), Copy by Dolores Dorantes (Wave Books), The Dream of Every Cell by Maricela Guerrero (Cardboard House Press), The Book of Explanations by Tedi López Mills (Deep Vellum Publishing), Another Life by Daniel Lipara (Eulalia Books), Cars on Fire by Mónica Ramón Ríos (Open Letter Books), and The Restless Dead by Cristina Rivera Garza (Vanderbilt University Press), among other works of poetry and prose. She was double-longlisted for the 2022 National Translation Award in poetry. As a poet, her work has recently appeared in the Drift, the Cortland Review, Poetry London, Denver Quarterly, Yale Review, Guesthouse, and selected for the 2022 Best American Poetry anthology. She lives in Mexico City.
To support the translation from the Spanish of Like the Night Inside the Eyes, a hybrid work of poetry and essays by the contemporary Argentinian writer Daniel Lipara. Like the Night Inside the Eyes is Lipara’s second collection. It combines brief personal essays—e.g., about his mother’s early death, his turbulent relationship with his estranged father, the decision to leave home at 15—with a sequence of poems fashioned from Homer’s The Iliad, exploring and subverting the epic tradition of the anti-hero.
I started translating Daniel Lipara’s first book, Another Life, in 2018. Every translation is a kind of apprenticeship, and this one has accompanied me directly and obliquely ever since. Another Life taught me about craft (meter, its variations, its affective vessels), about register (how a poem can sound alternately or simultaneously contemporary and ancient, playful and reverential, plainspoken and mysterious), and about tradition (how, for example, there is no Homer but infinite homers, amorphous and alive). What’s more, it showed me something—a rare gift—about the way I want to live: with curiosity and wonder in the face of loss; with patience and tenderness in exploring the Möbius strip of the past. Which is, of course, the present.
Plainly put, receiving an award from the National Endowment for the Arts is an opportunity for me not only to continue this apprenticeship, but also to do so slowly—that is, with patience and tenderness. I make my living as a translator of both literary and non-literary texts, which means that I’m always working on multiple projects at the same time. This in turn means that I can seldom afford (in any sense of the word) to submerge myself more absolutely in a single text. The NEA grant will allow me to carve out some time and space to work—to read, research, experiment, and converse with the author—with a special kind of focus and devotion. Lipara’s Like the Night Inside the Eyes is expansive and experimental in its range, structure, and intertextuality, drawing on many different Spanish and English translations of The Iliad and refracting them into both poems and essays. To translate this hybrid book—to engage in this ongoing polyphony of authorship and interpretation—I’ll need to undergo a kindred kind of immersion. Another rare gift, and one I’m inexpressibly grateful for.
About Daniel Lipar
Daniel Lipara’s work explores and subverts the epic tradition while reveling in the palimpsestic multiplicity of translation. His first book, Another Life (Eulalia Books), was described by Emily Wilson as “a vivid, evocative account of family, place and memory.” And in the words of John Burnside: “Family, spiritual discovery, the recovery of myth and what it means when we use words like ‘sacred,’ or ‘soul’—Daniel Lipara explores all the larger questions with grace, compassion and deft humor.” His second book asks essential questions in an intimate voice, hovering with wonder at the edge of loss.