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How not to speak, how to not speak, this oscillation is missing in the phrase “how to avoid speaking” that is the English title of Derrida’s essay. The curious presence of the word avoid in this title of a talk first given in English in Jerusalem. (How the young poet waking from a coma in Montreal after the random accident, asked: Do you know where you are? said: Jerusalem.) In English, an avoidance, whereas in French an oscillatory structure is at work: “comment ne pas – parler” exists along with “comment – ne pas parler.” How can we not – speak? How can we not–speak?

Or perhaps in the English there is a nearly hidden reverberation: how to a-void speaking? How to unvoid it, remove its void. While trying to stay far from what will not ever stay far from us, for it adheres to us. So that we can’t just ignore or abandon speech, we must a-void it.

In translating Wilson Bueno, there is a reverberatory relation of three languages: Portuguese, Castilian, Guaraní, across a colonial border in western Brazil.

I am creating a translation in English-with-French-and-Guaraní that perhaps no one will read.

Something unreadable, un-avoidable, un-a-voidable. And its relation to sea: a river is also the sea, infolded.

The book will “succeed” even if no one reads it. Because it will exist in the structure of English, as risk. Paraguayan Sea. Sea in a country with no shore but yes its rivers give unto the sea, lay claim to sea, and reach inward from sea’s exteriority

inscribing the risk directly into the structure.


for Odile Cisneros and Valeria Lima

unnamedErín Moure’s translation of Lupe Gómez, Camouflage (Circumference, 2019) was a 2020 Best Translated Book Award finalist. Recent translations are Uxío Novoneyra’s The Uplands: Book of the Courel and other poems (Veliz Books, 2020), Chantal Neveu’s This Radiant Life (Book*hug, 2020) and The Face of the Quartzes by Chus Pato (Veliz Books, 2021). Moure’s most recent poetry is The Elements (Anansi, 2019). She lives and works in Montréal.

This poem was originally published in Vallum issue 14:1 Evolution. It was later published in The Elements (House of Anansi, 2019). The later version is what appears above.

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