Granada UNESCO City of Literature and its sister city, Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature, started in 2017 a series of collaborations to connect Icelandic and Spanish language authors. The first expression of these collaborations was the publication of the first bilingual Spanish and Icelandic book of poems published in Spain, El gran norte / Norðrið Mæra, by José Miguel Gómez Acosta (Granada, Márgenes Arquitectura, col. Contenidos Marginales, 2017). The book was presented in the Icelandic capital in November and, within the project’s context Granada goes to Reykjavik through the participation of Gómez Acosta himself, and of Marian Recuerda, from Granada’s Ubú bookstore. The book was presented in the Federico García Lorca Center bookstore in Granada last January.
The Back Garden | Bakgarðurinn, by Elías Knörr, is number 3 of the Contenidos Marginales collection and continues the relationship between Granada and Reykjavik that was established in the collection’s previous book. This book contains a selection of original poems from Sjóarinn með Morgunhestana undir Kjólnum, in Spanish and Icelandic and translated by the author himself.
The book will be presented on Thursday, June 28 at 8 pm at the Ubú bookstore in Granada. With the participation of Elías Knörr, author of the book, and José Miguel Gómez Acosta, editor.
Elías Portela is a poet and translator in Icelandic, Spanish and Galician languages. His first projects in Icelandic were developed under the personality of Elías Knörr, as a creationist author. With this medieval pseudonym he was selected as one of the three poets most representative of current Icelandic lyric poetry in the hundredth edition of the United Kingdom Poetry Review.
In Galician language he received the 2014 Afundación Poetry Award for Bazar de traidores. In 2010 he won the Xohán de Cangas award and, in 2011, he earned second place in the XII Díaz Jácome Poetry Award for new authors. His work O mariñeiro con cabalos matutinos baixo o vestido was a finalist in the Anxel Casal Award for the best poetry book of 2011, organized by the Galician Association of Editors.
He is the author of Imaxes na pel (2008), Cos peitos desenchufados (2010), Bazar de traidores (2015), Sjóarinn með Morgunhestana undir Kjólnum (2010), translated into Galician as O mariñeiro con cabalos matutinos baixo o vestido (2011), and Greitt í liljum (2016). He is also featured in various anthologies. The Spanish-Icelandic bilingual anthology, The Back Garden / Bakgarðurinn, was published this spring in Granada’s publishing house Márgenes Arquitectura.
He has translated from Icelandic the work of prominent authors such as Sjón, Auður Ava, Kristín Ómarsdóttir, and Einar Már Guðmundsson, as well as medieval texts. His work is based on the potential of words and on the search for inspiration completely external to the author. His texts adapt images and poetic concepts from other languages, among them his own artificial language: Lwyma.
He is a regular contributor to Reykjavík Bókmenntaborg UNESCO and, under the personality of Michaël Drake (1441), he is part of Reykjavík Rauða Skáldahúsið house of poetry. The performance and musical nature of his readings have earned him entry into festivals such as SOUND: New Ways of Presenting Literatur by Lettrétage in Berlin (2014),Vociferio: Festival of scenic poetry in Valencia (2013), and Óvinir – The Enemie in Reykjavík (2016).
Elías Portela / Elías Knörr is currently one of the most well-known contemporary poets in Icelandic language.
Esta noche comienza la metamorfosis de las estrellas
Algarabía en el aire
enredándose con las auroras boreales
Y sobre los tejados aparece
que dejan colgar su corazón
de las nubes
Voces intactas se visten de pasión
Todas las muchachas desean
participar en el cielo nocturno
Í nótt byrja hamskipti stjarnanna
Glaumur á lofti
flækist í norðurljósum
Og yfir húsþökum blasir við
sem láta hengja hjarta sitt
Ósnortnar raddir klæðast ástríðu
Allar stúlkur þrá
að taka þátt í næturhimninum