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Friday, March 25

One man's vision of the drug trade

The Observer / GuardianThe white stuff: "This journey has revolutionised my views. I now believe that the tragedy we witnessed in Latin America has little to do with the damage the drugs do to people's heads. The tragedy is a result of the drugs being illegal. People will do a lot for a 34,000-per-kilo profit." This is a newspaper account of film maker Angus Macqueen's experience about making a TV documentary about the drug trade from the Peruvian jungles to the consumers in the United States and other Western countries, and the stop-off point between. Lots of people don't see the logic of the War on Drugs. Of course, they also do not have to fight nearly 100 years of legislaiton and policing designed to keep some substances off limits. Legalizing cocaine or marijuana in the States is a political battle guaranteed frustration and futility. But that does not take anything away from this film that will probably appear soon on U.S. cable.

Thursday, March 24

Irony is a very sharp edge

Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Sixteen Phrases That You Won't Find in Peru, in Any Language: The author or her husband or somebody once pointed me to this list when I first started up my site and blog. I did not link to them then because I was mainly interested in news stories, but now I chance across it and really like it. You really have to be tuned into the subtle humor in this list, and know what Peru is like to get the point.

Sunday, March 20

First time

I received word from Carol Haralson that the magazine of Gilcrease Museum (Tulsa, Oklahoma), which she edits and designs, would like to publish a poem by Mirko Lauer (and translated by me, naturally). The Gilcrease calls itself the Museum of the Americans. The current issue is about Machu Picchu, and although Mirko's poem, Vertebrate Heart, is not about that icon of Andean culture, it does evoke a human universalism that is appropriate for a site that stirs the imagination of millions.

This is the first time that any of my translations of Peruvina poets has made it into "the big time," that I know of. Of course, I have never actively sought publication because I only wanted to get the poems out of yellowing manuscripts and into some format that could be accessible to others.

And it is a beautiful poem. Mirko really did get it so right.

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