NTA Longlist: Rilke Shake by Angélica Freitas, trans. by Hilary Kaplan (Phoneme Media)

Rilke Shake
by Angélica Freitas
translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan
(Phoneme Media)

rilkeshakecoverFreitas’ title, a pun on milkshake, suggests in just three syllables the method of this madly exuberant book. The author shakes and swirls literary modernism (Moore, Stein, Pound, Bishop, Pessoa, Rilke) in a lexical blender of slang, neologisms (“dismallarmament”), spells, and loans from other languages. Hilary Kaplan zooms around each linguistic curve along with the poet, finding inventive solutions to bring into English the sounds, rhythms, play, and verve of the Portuguese. Only this omnivorous appetite for the flavors of words, Freitas implies, can save us from a two-dimensional understanding of history, poetry, and ourselves. 

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