Martí Sales - In a style that combines the avant garde tradition with an authentic adventure-style narrative, the poems of Sales’ debut collection usher us in to the primordial experience of giving name to each and every thing, as a means to inaugurate life


Martí Sales, Huckleberry Finn, Trans. by Elisabet Ràfols and Ona Bantjes-Ràfols, BookThug, 2015.

Enter the world as seen through the eyes of Huckleberry Finn—a weary and defeated landscape, but one of inherent hope, where reinvention is possible through the seminal power of words, those elemental beings that are capable of creating realities all their own.
There’s sex, there’s drugs, and there’s rock’n’roll—and all the while, there’s a young man’s search for wisdom through the beauty of literature and love that he finds along the way.
In a style that combines the avant garde tradition with an authentic adventure-style narrative, the poems of Catalan poet Martí Sales’ debut collection Huckleberry Finn usher us in to the primordial experience of giving name to each and every thing, as a means to inaugurate life—or the city of Barcelona, which, in some ways, for Sales and Huckleberry, are one and the same.

“A tour de force, this delving into Barcelona, as Martí Sales digs deep into the psyche of the city, making its darknesses and hidden luminosities inform a poetics that echoes the classics in its elegance and beauty, while inventing a new, ultra modern expression of reality now. This excellent translation of Huckleberry Finn will move all who read it to see Catalan poetry in a different light.” — Beatriz Hausner

Two Poems from Huckleberry Finn by Martí Sales
Everybody’s a star.
—Aeister Crowley, magician
At the steel factory
we dance
parents and children
sweetly knocking
on thirty-nine
communal graves
Every face in its mirror
more sombre each day
watching flesh dry out
from so much pounding
At times, light breaks
slowing down machines
and curbing the racket—
is etched
upon our bodies,
as shooting stars:
we seem alive
but we’re only falling
Metallic at night
we draw close
for warmth
but all we’ll achieve
is a dull ringing

you dodge the devious light
of a street lamp and enter the bar
that is open late: paths cross here
where you can no longer stand
your thirst
One of the drinkers says
“The sky is too heavy.
That’s why the asphalt is thin,
the cars run as if possessed
from gas station to gas station
toward the mountain, fleeing the voice
that repeats the streets the monuments the buildings
the metro station any route any urban itinerary…
the coryphaeus from the bar
You shut yourself in the washroom
a small stinking sanctuary
of elongated suns
that coddle you,
you draw a jungle of the Pyrenees
over the map of the city
You look at yourself in the mirror
and draw a moustache and glasses.

Catalan poet Martí Sales works as a freelance writer and translator in Barcelona, Spain, after living for some years in Rome, Cuba, and New York City. Sales has translated the works of John Fante, Kurt Vonnegut, Jim Dodge, Shirley Jackson, and Harold Pinter. He is the author of four books: Huckleberry Finn (the collection of poetry published in Catalan in 2005; winner of the Vila de Lloseta Poetry Prize), Dies feliços a la presó (Happy Days in Prison; prose; 2007), Ara és el moment (Now Is the Hour; essays; 2011), and Principi d’incertesa (Uncertainty Principle; prose; 2015). The English translation of Huckleberry Finn by Elisabet Ràfols and Ona Bantjes-Ràfols, forthcoming from BookThug in the autumn of 2015, is Sales’ first work of poetry to be translated from Catalan into English.


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