Literary Sala presents memoirist and poet

By Carole Schor

Marty Rosenberg

In its ongoing campaign to integrate the Mexican, American and Canadian literary communities in San Miguel, the Literary Sala will present a fully bilingual event on Thursday, June 12, at Bellas Artes. An American memoirist and Mexican poet will present in their native languages, while translation will be projected onto a screen, like the supertitles at an opera. Literary communities in both languages are invited to attend.

Marty Rosenberg

Marty Rosenberg has had along and interesting life full of twists and turns – much like his new mystery series. How does a kid from Brooklyn who played cowboys and Indians in the streets of New York wind up selling Polish poster art in the middle of Mexico? Always interested in art, beauty and history, Marty became the Senior Lecturer of Anthropology at New York’s famed Museum of Natural History, creating the dioramas of the brontosaurus roaming the lands and the Plains Indians with their buffalo that brought history to life. Who would have known that the man responsible for creating these dramatic stage sets would one day be living here in San Miguel, now involved in selling the world’s largest collection of Polish poster art — and writing short stories and mysteries?

The year 1945 was a bleak time in Polish and world history. Soviet Communism dominated the land, oppression and censorship reigned, and the light of the people seemed to diminish daily. It was in this dark and depressing time that poster art, which was less scrutinized and censored by the Communists than conventional art, flourished. Poster artists with their bright and colorful images of the circus, dance, sports, and film, produced astonishing, unconventional images that together make up a remarkable, historic collection. Now Marty Rosenberg has kept alive this distinctive, historic art, collecting thousands of these outstanding posters. He has recently moved his extensive collection here to San Miguel. A collector, historian and a documentary producer, Marty has also created the film, Freedom on the Fence, a visual essay of how the Polish art made a grey, hopeless political era come alive with an infusion of color, spirit, and courage.

Marty Rosenberg has now turned his considerable talents to writing. “A book is a movie without pictures,” he says. The writer must create a picture for the reader.

“You must write what you know, and if you try to write what you don’t know, it will surely fall short and feel hollow.”

Marty’s short stories and memoirs, which he will share at the Sala event, tell tales of the universality of human experience, of how much we are alike in our foolishness and foibles. “My writer’s strength is to be able to tell the story as an observer, to be able to make everyday experiences come alive.”

Marta Favila

Marta Favila, a poet from Querétaro, is the author of In Front of Things, After the Rain, and Sabinas Verses. She is the Director of Library Networks at the Querétaro Institute for Culture and the Arts. She has coordinated writing workshops for many years and has served on the editorial board of The Wizard and Gauperioo, as well as being the managing editor of the weekly New Millennium cultural supplement, The Common Place, where she was responsible for publishing poems, reviews, and interviews with people from diverse cultural and social environments. Her own poems are rich in images and content, often depicting eroticism in everyday subjects.

Las Lavanderas
Como una iluminación, al bajar la calle
la profunda frescura
de mesquites, lavaderos.
Corre la vida desde un cubo
de cantera donde nace,
en medio de la sequedad,
la bendición del agua.
A lo lejos, músicas de campo, de acordeón,
se encuentran
en el viento, chocan,
se mezclan con el sonido de la ropa
restregada contra la piedra.
Un ritmo monótono
genera la blancura de la sábana;
el vaivén de torsos femeninos
anima el resplandor
del día común
en la holgura de su centro.
Cubetas de plástico
chillante con sus cargas sucia y limpia
ofrendan los pies de las mujeres.
Somos los invasores de la calma,
de la levedad del agua, del brillo
de las nubes que forman
el jabón y el roce de las telas.
Las mujeres friegan, exprimen,
sacuden, evitan la presencia extraña.
Sin movernos, por segundos
entramos a otro tiempo;
se acorta la distancia
entre el instante ritual
de las lavanderas en su acto de amor
y la sorpresa en nuestras caras.

The Laundresses
Like an illumination,
descending the street
the profound freshness
of the mesquites:

Life runs from a basin
of limestone from which is born,
in the midst of dryness,
the blessing of water.

In the distance,
The music of the country side,
played on an accordion,
found in the wind, it crashes
and mixes with the sound of clothes
beaten against the stone.

A monotonous rhythm
produces the whiteness of the sheets;
the sway of female torsos
animates the brilliance
of an ordinary day
in the flowing of its bodies.

Brilliant plastic cubes
Overflowing with their loads
dirty and clean
are the offerings to their feet.

We are the invaders of calm
Of the lightness of the water
of the spark in the clouds
formed by soap and the scrubbing of fabrics.

The women scrub, squeeze,
beat, avoid the strange presence.

Without moving, for moments
we enter another time;

the distance shortens
between the sacred moment
of the laundresses in their love act
and the surprise in our faces.

Translated by Carmen Rioja and Carole Schor

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