domingo, 27 de diciembre de 2015


Fotografía: Robert Cross/
Victoria University of Wellington

Harry Ricketts

Poeta, académico, editor y crítico, Harry Ricketts estudió filología inglesa en la Universidad de Oxford, y fue profesor en Hong Kong y Leicester antes de llegar a su puesto en la Universidad de Victoria, Wellington, Nueva Zelanda, en 1981. Ha publicado colecciones de poesía, ensayos y una admirada biografía de Rudyard Kipling, The Unforgiving Minute: A Life of Rudyard Kipling (Chatto and Windus, 1999). Su poesía se define por sus tonos y recursos dramáticos y satíricos, muchas veces fundamentados en anécdotas personales.

Harry Ricketts en Random House Books, NZ


para Tommy

«Cuando me crezco quiero ser
el hombre que dice: "Mind the gap"».
A lo largo de los años, igual que tu voz,
esa frase me ha acechado.

Mind the gap: Es equivalente a la advertencia en el metro: "tengan cuidado para no introducir el pie, entre coche y andén"

Wellington, a finales del verano 2014 

En la grada del Basin aplaude el público;
las cigarras hacen clic-clic con sus castañuelas.
Escucha al lento bramido del dinero, que retrocede. 
En la grada del Basin aplaude el público.
«Wellington es una ciudad que muere»,
dice el hombre con fríos ojos de pargo.
En la grada del Basin aplaude el público;
las cigarras clic-clic, con sus castañuelas.

Basin: la cancha de críquet de Wellington.

(Traducción de los poemas Gap y Wellington, late summer 2014 de Harry Ricketts de su último libro Half Dark (Victoria University Press, 2015) por Charles Olsen. Leer los poemas en inglés en booknotes unbound)


everything seems disconnected

mottled hands mischievous eyes
rough frosted hair and disobedient brown shoes
cheeks with the blush of mulled wine
your soft-vowelled Scottish blur

you shuffle frailly inside your suit
the blood must move so slowly now
your mind still moving in worlds not realised
you shared the air that Eliot breathed

you know we all tell stories
in coffee-rooms and corridors
ironically envious of your eccentricity
how once you said: 
‘Which way was I going?
Ah, thank you, that way
– then I have had lunch.’
but Polonius
you are so far out
you’re on your own
way back

though it’s true you stalk dead minotaurs
in labyrinths where we lack the clue
and Hamlet is dead, Polonius,
and Ophelia too
and maybe you’ll never write
all those poems you promised to 
you did once live in Elsinore
and for that
                  we envy you

El Prado

A damp morning, just a touch nippy
for January. You’re here
in this indoor meadow, this art-house barn,
randy for epiphany,
or at least hoping to be surprised.

So Raphael’s Transfiguration
is certainly dramatic –
in fact, quite literally uplifting.
So why does that boy agoggle
at Christ levitating leave you cold?

Thirty-five years ago with a head
full of Gormenghast, Seventh
Seal, Crow, the Velvet Underground, you’d have found
El Greco’s silver-lit e-
longations ‘really weird’, but not now.

Now what hits home is Saint Barbara
by Parmigianino,
a left profile. Her face shines with youth.
Braided, brown hair hangs on her
right shoulder. She’s holding – what? – a part

of the tower daddy’ll shut her up in.
Her upper lip curves over
slightly. She wears rather a chic pink
number, such an inward look.
She knows exactly what lies ahead.

And here, opposite Van der Velden’s
flesh-heavy Deposition,
Robert Campin’s Annunciation.
Mary’s a blonde, long, straight hair,
bit plump. A nice girl lost in a book

and apparently quite unaware
of the heavenly rays round
her head, beamed down from top left,
or Gabriel patiently
kneeling, wings half-furled, with some pretty big news.

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