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  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm, Sat-Sun 12-5pm, Closed Mon
Event Calendar
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exhibitions
December 15 - Jan 28

Text, Textile, Exile: Works by Maria Damon

performances
December 21

Formation Series: Trench & Tontine Ensemble

special events
January 27 -28

24th Annual Poetry Marathon & Benefit

Archived readings & workshops
Feb 9 Thursday, February 9
10:00am, $10 | FREE for those who pledge a reader for $35 or more

Join us as we welcome Chilean-American poet, novelist, critic, essayist, and literary scholar, Marjorie Agosín. She'll read from her recent collection, The White Islands | Las Islas Blancas (Swan Isle Press, 2016), among other work. 


Marjorie Agosín is a Chilean-American poet, novelist, critic, essayist, and literary scholar whose work focuses on Latin American literature, human rights, feminism, and memory. Her two most recent volumes of poetry are The White Islands | Las Islas Blancas (Swan Isle Press, 2016) and The Light of Desire | La Luz del Deseo (Swan Isle Press, 2010). Among her numerous other publications are A Cross and a Star: Memoirs of a Jewish Girl in Chile (1995), At the Threshold of Memory: New & Selected Poems (2003), Cartographies: Meditations on Travel (2004), Tapestries of Hope, Threads of Love: The Arpillera Movement in Chile (2007), Stitching Resistance: Women, Creativity, and Fiber Arts (2014), and I Lived on Butterfly Hill (2014). She has received numerous honors and awards including a Jeanette Rankin Award in Human Rights, a United Nations Leadership Award for Human Rights, the Gabriela Mistral Medal of Honor from the Chilean government, and the Dr. Fritz Redlich Global Mental Health and Human Rights Award. Marjorie Agosín is the Luella LaMer Slaner Professor in Latin American studies and a professor of Spanish at Wellesley College.


 

That autumn was abundant

 

That autumn was abundant

In Istanbul the ancient and platinum

Women with their faces covered and discovered

 

My grandfather arrived on foot to this Ottoman city

 

From the desolate Sebastopol and from other burned villages,

From the bloody snow.

 

He spoke about its minarets

Certainly he loved the fields of leaves. Autumn, like a river or

a glowing bonfire

And I don’t know where he went to pray,

Or perhaps he no longer did so in the city of the sultans

 

But I know in his mouth he carried a needle

Noble metaphor of his trade.

 

Perhaps he wandered astonished throughout lovely Istanbul

Searching for sustenance or clients

Perhaps inclined, he entered one of the thousand mosques

Where he prayed

While the clocks stood still,

 

Geographies were erased.

Because the city was merely a golden breeze falling upon the leaves

 

A multitude of lights upon the holy minarets,

My grandfather,

 

A Jewish tailor also took refuge in Istanbul

Also another small Jewish city

Among the thresholds of history.

 

 

Abundante era ese otoño

 

Abundante era ese otoño

En Estambul la vieja y plateada

Las mujeres con los rostros cubiertos y descubiertos

 

Mi abuelo llegó a pie a esta ciudad otomana

 

Desde la desolada Sebastopol,

Desde la nieve sangrienta.

 

Me habló sobre sus minaretes

Seguro que amó el campo de hojas. El otoño como un rio o una

fogata encendida

Y no sé a donde iba a rezar

O tal vez dejó de hacerlo en la ciudad de los sultanes

 

Pero sé que en su boca llevaba una aguja

Metáfora de su noble oficio

 

Tal vez deambulaba asombrado por la bella Estambul

Buscando alimentos o clientes

Tal vez inclinado entraba a una de las mil mezquitas

Rezaba

Mientras se detenían los relojes

 

Se borraban las geografías

Porque la ciudad eran tan sólo un viento dorado cayendo sobre

    las hojas

 

Una multitud de luces sobre los sagrados minaretes,

Mi abuelo

 

Un sastre judío también se refugiaba en Estambul

También una pequeña ciudad judía

Entre los umbrales de la historia.

 

 

Margorie Agosín, "That autumn was abundant" (trans. by Jacqueline Nanfito) from The White Islands. Copyright © 2016 by Margorie Agosín. Reprinted by permission of Swan Isle Press.