Street Gloss

Published by The Operating System, 2019.

In this book, Brent Armendinger follows the work of five contemporary Argentinian poets into the streets of Buenos Aires, attempting to map the ways a word might be an echo of the city itself. Interested in the surface areas of language and the generative potential of failure in translations, the author follows a set of procedures oriented simultaneously in the lines as well as in the streets of the city, gathering impressions, associations, and language through unpredictable encounters with the place and its inhabitants. Notes from these encounters appear interlaced, here, between the original poems in Spanish and their translations. Featuring poems by Alejandro Méndez, Mercedes Roffé, Fabián Casas, Diana Bellessi, and Néstor Perlongher, and artwork by Alpe Romero. 

Have you ever wondered what the translator was thinking while they were busy wondering what the poet they translated was thinking? I have, and these extraordinary uncompromisingly queer poems by Brent Armendinger are the answer. This brilliant somatic meta-form is my new favorite way to read translations.

– CAConrad, author of While Standing in Line for Death 

Street Gloss is a glory and a wonder. In it, Brent Armendinger serves both poet and translator, translating the role of the poet into something new and transformative. Five Argentinian poets send Armendinger through the streets of Buenos Aires to retrieve echoes of redoubled meanings and double exposures. At the corner of Calle Bogotá and Calle Viamonte, from Plaza Lavalle to Estación Pichincha, at the corners of Combate de los Pozos and Humberto 1º, at the Parque Costanera Sur and elsewhere throughout the city, the poet translates the impulses of translation into astonishing prose poems. Armendinger unfolds translation itself into a somatic map of the city, he refracts his transect into a radiant witness, he delivers, from the city of Borges and Cortazar a city they’d recognize, a city that awakens within.

– Sesshu Foster, author of City of the Future 

In his second collection, Brent Armendinger refracts his translations of Argentinian poets through the lens of Buenos Aires residents who guide him into and around language in an exploded view of a collaborative translation, a polyphonic archive. In this formally inventive collection the translations are masterful, and the definitions that accompany them conjure a deeply-felt current of connection.

– Carmen Giménez Smith, author of Be Recorder and Cruel Futures

is there a method for moving when the mode of locomotion is no longer sure? // ya no movimiento llano, memento mori, momento motor. ¿torpeza al sur de la destreza, bienvenida tropieza y bienaventurada al andar? // the finding of language previously unlost is an architecture of slowing in place, staying to say.

from “future somatics to do list: a love letter to street gloss

– Jen Hofer, writer, translator and co-founder of Antena Aire