At 4pm yesterday (Friday, 4/14/17) there was the A Celebration of Poetry and Translation event at the International Area Studies Library (Main Library Building). Our fellow grad student at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Jone Vicente, who is teaching Basque Literature (BASQ 402) this semester, read Nire Aitaren Etxea, a very famous poem by Gabriel Aresti. She read it in Basque first and then an English translation by Toni Strubell (from Oxford, England, and a man, not a woman, an English teacher and a linguist). As I was listening to this wonderful poem I was enjoying Jone’s reading and thinking to myself “Ezkerrik asko, you just gave me the perfect topic to write about in my next blog entry!”.
The poem is very easy to find online. In this page http://www.agirregabiria.net/g/mikelagirregabiriaagirre/aresti.htm
you have a line-to-line Basque and Spanish version.
It’s a great poem, very emotional and sober at the same time, and what is best it seems manageable for beginners like us. For instance, the beginning
Nire aitaren etxea
is all familiar to us: nire etxea (“my house”), aita (“father”), aitaren (“of my father”) (similar to the construction uztailaren 4-an, i.e. the 4th of July, with the suffix –aren, question nore?, i.e. whose?), and defenditu dut (i.e. I have defended) (and –ko which I assume is for forming the future)
la casa de mi padre
The next for verses are interesting, very poetic and sooo manageable:
Just kontra as a preposition (“against”) and each preceding noun with the suffix –aren (–en in plural), which I assume is the case required by kontra:
Contra los lobos,
contra la sequía,
contra la usura,
contra la justicia,
As for Gabriel Aresti… Well, you have information in the internet starting with the Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Aresti
Born 1933, died 1975; looks like pretty young. Basically from Bilbao. Couldn’t have lived through a less sympathetic period: Francoism from beginning to end, no years spared. Translated Federico García Lorca, T. S. Eliot, and Bocaccio among others into Basque. A pretty interesting figure then. Check it out!