CLAUS AND THE SCORPION by Lara Dopazo Ruibal is the prize-winning Galician poet's English-language debut, translated by award-winning translator Laura Cesarco Eglin
Winner of the 2017 Fiz Vergara Vilari o Prize, one of the most prestigious awards bestowed for Galician poetry, CLAUS AND THE SCORPION is the fearsome and feral first book of poetry by Lara Dopazo Ruibal to appear in English, translated by the award-winning literary polymath Laura Cesarco Eglin. In poems brimming with achingly vivid and terrifyingly beautiful imagery, Dopazo Ruibal interrogates the shattering responses to trauma and violence as they threaten and intrude upon the precarious safe haven. Using three distinct speakers--lara, the scorpion, claus--as vantage points to explore and express the complexity of interiority, Dopazo Ruibal grapples with profuse internal and external forces that painfully shape and reshape a soul even as they threaten a sense of belonging, a cohesive self-concept, and, ultimately, annihilation. CLAUS AND THE SCORPION starts with the resolute calm of the ever-present sea and moves readers to the mercurial forge where fire shapes anew or lays waste, and in this movement, these poems disrupt the desire to return to an idyllic and unattainable past, attacking language's layers and fissures to put pressure on its most enigmatic dualisms: the sublime and the monstrous, the monumental and the mundane, renewal and decay, fragility and strength. Laura Cesarco Eglin translates these poems into stark, mesmerizing English verses, using her nimble eye and deft poet's ear to render Dopazo Ruibal's spare, crystalline original. A singular and spellbinding force majeure, Lara Dopazo Ruibal's claus and the scorpion will make you stop breathing and break / very slowly / the seams that hold your] chest together.
In CLAUS AND THE SCORPION, Lara Dopazo Ruibal's Galician and Laura Cesarco Eglin's English reach for each other with the fitful intimacy of siblings or lovers locked forever in ballistic proximity. Here is a poem of the just-detonated world in which we all find ourselves suspended, also known as the present tense: songlike and shattered, permanent and elapsing, ultra-compressed and expanding at both snail-like, cosmic speeds as it achieves its ideal form--divine 'smithereens.''' --Joyelle McSweeney
The quietly blistering CLAUS AND THE SCORPION conjures a world marked by both horror and transformation. Again and again, Lara Dopazo Ruibal's spare, charged poems, glittering coolly in Laura Cesarco Eglin's translation, suggest that healing is no less powerful or complex an experience than the violence that prompted it. 'we'll lay down our tired bodies at the outskirts of the city / while it burns, ' write poet and translator, 'and we'll spit over its ashes/ so we are part of the city forever.' What rises from those ashes is both fearsome and lovely.--Robin Myers