by Kyn. Taniya
Translated from Spanish by Anthony Seidman and David Shook
Paperback, Bilingual edition, 190 pages
A key figure in Mexico's 1920s estridentista avantgarde, Kyn Taniya’s poetry blossoms from the act of everyday translation. The poems reflect the fact that we all live between languages, that we all speak our own idiolects, that none of us speaks any language perfectly because there is no perfect language.
The Mexican poet Kyn Taniya (A.K.A. Luis Quintanillia, 1900-1980) was born and grew up in Paris, where his father worked as a diplomat. His house was frequented by Tablada, Urbina, Apollinaire, Rodin, and his godfather, the Mexican poet Amado Nervo. He visited Mexico for the first time in 1918, and entered the foreign service in 1921, eventually serving as Mexico’s Ambassador to the Soviet Union. He began writing poetry in French, which he later translated into Spanish, as in the case of his first book, Aeroplane (1923). Though he published little, he was an important figure in Mexico’s estridentista avant-garde, and in 1924 he founded the Mexican Theatre of the Bat, modeled after La Chauve-Souris, which he had seen in New York City.
“Kyn. Taniya exposed the relationship between modernity and the avant-garde. His speed and calm, his temporality and permanence, his economy and spatiality, his visualness and sound, his humor and science bear witness to the changes and contradictions of his era. That’s where his importance resides: poetic exaltation as description of mood, prediction, and perfume traversing minds like the globe as it spins. Luckily, Kyn. Taniya’s work found David Shook and Anthony Seidman, two poet-translators who understand the social, political, emotional, and sarcastic currents of the work of this aviator and Mexican poet. The translators revel—like hummingbirds in nectar—in the reconstruction of Kyn. Taniya’s language, with all its glint and rhythm, its ideology and melancholy.” —Giancarlo Huapaya, Peru
“Kyn Taniya’s path through poetry was meteoric. A member of the Mexican avantgarde movement known as Estridentismo, Kyn. Tyniya had a deep knowledge of the European avant-garde, along with the tradition of Latin American Modernismo, (none other than Amado Nervo was his godfather). Those currents created a delicate tension visible in his poems. With this translation, poets David Shook and Anthony Seidman continue their important work as promoters of a daring, almost hidden poetry... hidden even from Kyn. Taniya’s countrymen.” —Mijail Lamas, Mexico
Anthony Seidman and David Shook are both poets and translators in greater Los Angeles. Both have lived for significant periods in Mexico, where they remain active in the literary community. Together they have translated Salvador Novo’s Confetti-Ash (The Bitter Oleaner Press, 2015) and edit the Sin Papeles chapbook series, which showcases the most innovative contemporary writing from Mexico’s porous border region.