When poet Kirmen Uribe and singer/songwriter Mikel Urdangarin went to New York in the early spring of 2003, the experience set off thought trains that over the next half dozen months crystallized in this CD/book of poems and songs from the Basque Country. With musicians Bingen Mendizabal and Rafa Rueda and New York poet-translator Elizabeth Macklin, they did six concert/readings that took them to the Bowery, the Upper West Side, Greenwich Village, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and the South Bronx, in Basque, English, and (in the South Bronx) Spanish.
After one of the readings, Uribe writes in the foreward, a poet called Phillis Levin tells him about her experience of language: ‘She said that she’d heard of Euskara before as well, she’d seen things written in Basque. She’d looked them over and more than once had tried to read them, just to see if she could. She was wonderstruck at all the x’s that turned up on the page. The language looks like a treasure map, she said to me. If you just forget the rest of the letters and focus on the x, it looks as if you could find out where the treasure is. I thought it was the most beautiful thing one could say about a language one didn’t know, that it’s the map to a treasure’.
Click on the links below to read a selection of poems from the book, which are published here in English, Basque and Spanish:
The book may be ordered from the publisher, Paper Hotsak:
Tel: 00 34 943 75 30 16
Fax: 00 34 943 75 01 39
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersintranslation/magazineofliteratureintranslat/basquecountry/toooldtoosmallmaybe/