The Eligible Age
Author, Berta García Faet
Translated by Kelsi Vanada
Iowa City, February 2018
The Eligible Age is Kelsi Vanada’s translation of poet Berta García Faet’s La edad de merecer [La Bella Varsovia, 2015]. The poetry in this outstanding bilingual edition doesn’t shy from sentimentality and emotional charge. The poems employ formal and linguistic experimentation in the service of telling about the poet’s coming-of-age as woman and writer in a world where roles for both are already defined—the title itself is a feminist critique of the idea that for a woman to be of an age to marry means that she begins to deserve certain things. By blending vocabulary from multiple academic realms with more diaristic revelations about her own emotions and sexuality, via descriptions of her body’s changes through puberty and love letters to male and female lovers, García Faet affirms all language as the stuff of poetry. She refuses to obey conventions of syntax and punctuation, and invites readers into refreshingly candid statements like: “i’m ashamed to admit it, but you won’t find anyone in the world / who believes in love / with greater intensity greater faith greater fervor / than i.” The intimacy of Vanada’s and García Faet’s artistic collaboration, and the sharing of a voice that now speaks in two languages, breaths vitality into the life of this new work. Parallel Spanish and English text.
“The Eligible Age is one of the most significant books of the last few years, and Berta García Faet has become the most representative voice of her generation.” – Unai Velasco, poet, critic, and chief editor of Ultramarinos (Barcelona)
About the Author:
Berta García Faet (Valencia, Spain, 1988) is a poet and translator and the recipient of numerous literary prizes. She is the author of seven books of poetry: Corazón tradicionalista. Poesía 2008 – 2011 (La Bella Varsovia, 2018), Los salmos fosforitos [Fluorescent Psalms] (La Bella Varsovia, 2017), La edad de merecer [The Eligible Age] (La Bella Varsovia, 2015), Fresa y herida [Strawberry and Wound](Premio Nacional de Poesía “Antonio González de Lama” 2010; Diputación de León, 2011), Introducción a todo [Introduction to Everything] (IV Premio de Poesía Joven “Pablo García Baena”; La Bella Varsovia, 2011), Night club para alumnas aplicadas [Nightclub for Studious Schoolgirls] (VII Premio Nacional de Poesía “Ciega de Manzanares”; Vitruvio, 2009), and Manojo de abominaciones [A bunch of Abominations] (XVI Premio de Poesía “Ana de Valle”; Ayuntamiento de Avilés, 2008). Most recently she won the Premio Nacional de Poesía Joven Miguel Hernández, 2018. Her website is http://www.bertagarciafaet.com.
About the Translator:
Kelsi Vanada, originally from Colorado, holds MFAs in Poetry (The Iowa Writers’ Workshop) and Literary Translation (The University of Iowa). Kelsi translates from Spanish and collaboratively from Swedish, and is the recipient of an ALTA Travel Fellowship, a Bodtker grant from the Danish American Heritage Society, a translation prize from the American-Scandinavian Foundation, and residencies at the Prairie Center for the Arts and the Baltic Center for Writers and Translators. She was also the winner of Asymptote’s 2016 Close Approximations translation contest in poetry. The Eligible Age is her first full-length translation; the translation Toward Muteness is forthcoming, as is a chapbook of poems, Rare Earth. Kelsi is the Program Manager of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) in Tucson, Arizona.
Author, Translator, Publisher talk on The Eligible Age hosted by SPAIN arts and culture as a part of ‘Spain Writes America Reads’ Series. The was held on March 9, 2021