Nacho Oliden

With Facundo, I’m in charge of the translation column Paraphrasis, where we share hidden or forgotten treasures of the literary world. I find LPB an extraordinary point of encounter for cultures and arts, for discovering new authors while reading submissions, for enjoying life in its poetic form, and exchanging ideas with the editorial team.

I greatly admire John Cassavetes, and cannot understand why he is not more widely known. His curiosity towards the world and his disdain of technique make him, to my mind, the best film director and one who fully deserves being called an artist, as he reveals of life that which we all see yet do not notice. But it is important to say that it isn’t mentally healthy to watch Cassavetes twice a day, or on a Sunday afternoon, or on a rainy day, or while sad...

And although my favourite works are Kipling’s short stories, or Borges’ poems, my favourite author is Domingo F. Sarmiento, who on the stage of the political events of his time, created the lives of his enemies and travel diaries of the places he disliked. Always furious and always hurried, he produced, perhaps unintentionally, some of the best works of fiction in Spanish. And I always find his advice very handy: “Instead of worrying about the form, about the purity of the words, about the rounding of the phrases, about what Cervantes or Fray Luis said, take ideas from wherever they come from. Feed your spirit with the manifestations of thought of the great minds of your epoch, and when you feel that your thoughts start to awaken... write with love, with heart, write whatever is thrown at you, what you please, for that will be good in the end, despite the incorrectness of form; it will be passionate in spite of being inexact. It will please the reader, in spite of Garcilaso getting mad. It won’t be like anybody else; good or bad, it will be yours, and no one will dispute it." Unamuno said Sarmiento is the most powerful writer in Spanish from the XIX century, and I wouldn’t argue with Don Miguel.

I write, translate, and edit for La Piccioletta Barca, Buenos Aires Poetry, and the Culture Suplement of the Diario Perfil.