Tango, Truco and echoing voices in the process of translating Tamara Kamenszain

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Tamara Kamenszain (b. 1947, Buenos Aires) is one of Argentina’s leading poets and essayists. This article concentrates on two poetry collections, Solos y solas (2005) and El eco de mi madre (2010) and traces the thematic ‘spirals’ which develop in and across the poems, building a ‘story-telling nucleus’. It explores Kamenszain’s interest in stretching and stripping words until they touch upon and capture ‘the real’, beyond metaphorical readings and implications. This leads to a close study of Kamenszain’s use of language, in particular, her use of colloquialisms and rhythms encoded in Argentine speech, especially porteño (from Buenos Aires). In the final section I turn to the process of translating her poetry by drawing a parallel with truco, the most typically Argentine card game, where (as reader/ player/ translator) one is aware of the ‘tricks’ involved – from word game/ play, pun, allusion, to dialogues with other poets and even tango steps – but chooses to conceal, rather than reveal so as not to ‘give the game away’. Through this process the translator remains true to the particular neobarroque nature of Kamenszain’s poetry, where ‘neobarroque’ is characterized by its suggestiveness, allusive power and tendency towards elision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-715
JournalBulletin of Hispanic Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Kamenszain
  • Poetry
  • Language
  • Translation

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