Great Vilas

great vilasGreat Vilas

Author, Manuel Vilas

Translated by Pablo Rodríguez Balbontín with William F. Blair

Iowa City, March 2016

The Vilas Project, in which Manuel Vilas employs a collage of contemporary imagery throughout his fiction, poetry, and commentaries, is, in effect, rewriting facets of modern Spanish culture. Great Vilas, a collection of 46 poems with an Introduction and Postscript, continues the Project’s humorous, satirical, self-effacing journey across the Spanish countryside (in the long shadow of Don Quixote de la Mancha) and its urban landscape, as well as through Spanish culture, including its literary traditions. Here, pop culture tropes clash with prevailing notions of Spanish identity. Great Vilas is an entertaining and insightful collection of great poetry by one of Spain’s leading authors.

Great Vilas in translation, “seems to be a radical rewriting of the contemporary history of the Ibero-American world. Soccer, reality shows, movies, and literary biographies are interspersed with the reading and writing of journalism and historiography, provoking a new logic of entanglements and outcomes as comical as they are satirical, as intimate as ultimately free.” -Julio Ortega


About the Author:

Manuel Vilas, born in Barbastro, Huesca in Spain in 1962 writes novels, short stories, and poetry. He also writes literary criticism for the Heraldo de Aragón and El Mundo, as well as other literary magazines. Recent books of poetry include Amor: poesía reunida 1988 – 2010, Gran Vilas, and El hundimiento.  Recent novels include Los inmortales, El luminoso regalo (translated into French and Italian), and Ordesa, which is widely celebrated in Spanish media as the 2018 Book of the Year with translations into multiple languages. Significant among his many awards and prizes are the Premio Generación del 27 (2014) and the Premio de las Letras Aragonesas 2015 (2016).

About the Translators:

Pablo Balbontín is a native of Sevilla, Spain, and enjoys a deep appreciation for Spanish language poetry. He is a graduate of the University of Sevilla, where he earned undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Literary Theory, and a graduate degree in Screen Writing. He is presently an MA candidate in Spanish Literature at the University of Iowa, where he is investigating the interrelationships among literature, gaming, and the media in the context of digitalization. His interests include sharing Spanish culture and literature through translation; he has co-translated and published four books of poetry by María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira, Luis Bravo, and Manuel Vilas.

William Blair is formerly a hand and microsurgeon who, during his academic career, published over 200 research papers, book chapters, and abstracts, including the textbook Techniques in Hand Surgery. He holds an MFA in Comparative Literature – Literary Translation from the University of Iowa and has participated in the International Writing Program’s Translation Workshop. He has translated María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira’s work extensively. Co-translated and published works include two books of poetry by Vaz Ferreira, Lichen by the Uruguayan poet Luis Bravo, and Great Vilas by the Spanish poet and novelist Manuel Vilas. Pending book publications include a hybrid text and a novel, both authored by Vilas. Translated poetry is pending in various journals, including Literal, Exchanges, and Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry. Blair founded Song Bridge Press in 2013 to promote Spanish language literature in translation, and to nurture emerging writers, poets, and translators.

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