Quirky Books: The Endless Voyage by Laureano Alban

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Endless Voyage by Laureano Alban

Finding an English Translation of "the Endless Voyage," it is an inspirational poem recounting Christopher Columbus' discovery of America. Born 1942, Laureano Alban is a famous Spanish Writer and Poet. The preface, by Frederick H. Fornoff, notes Alban's inspiration to write the poem came to him while sailing.

The poem has ten cantos, each with three sections, totaling eighty-eight pages. A dry read it is teaching tool referencing Columbus' journals and available fifteenth Century historical information. Everyone is aware of Columbus' voyage across the ocean. Word usage brings about various images.

Beginning in Spain, it discusses popular philosophies of the time and sections of Isaiah predicting finding a new world beyond the End of the Sea. This brings about multiple metaphors for the title. The world is round as Columbus perceived; therefore, is without an end. In addition, constant worrying and waiting extends the psychological length of the voyage.

Frequently confusing, several cantos begin with imagining what they will find when reaching land and then metaphorical verses describing sailing across the sea. One canto entertains turning the ships around and going back to Spain. I wondered if the poem included the multiple voyages of Columbus.

Beautifully written, I believe the translator accounted for reasonable variations between languages. Interpretative knowledge and tone are present, yet varying line lengths and pattern is probably not as stylistic as the original. In translations I prefer content over rewriting an original work. Perhaps an obvious pattern would be nice; however, it is a contemporary poem written in the 1980s. Differences are not blatant.

History buffs will enjoy the book. It provokes a variety of imagery with a lively adventurous, yet stoic tone. Everyone will enjoy reading it. Though dry as it shifts through various plots and points-of-view it is entertaining. The preface provides information about Alban and Columbus.

Poetry Breakdown
The Only Horizon by Laureano Alban