A little over a week ago, on September 27th, 2021, an online poetry reading of Another Life, a book of poetry written by Daniel Lipara and translated by Robin Myers, was held over Zoom. To be honest, at first, I took the reading as another simple way to draw in extra credit for my class, a tiny measure to get a few points and quickly get out, but after sitting there for even just ten minutes, I quickly realized there was so much more to the reading than I had previously thought. I never truly understood how much work went into creating a book of this stature, small press or otherwise, until I went to the reading (of course, we’ve made a handful of books in our class, but nothing quite like Another Life).
The entire meeting was hosted by both Dr. Gil Montero, one of the editors for Eulalia Books, the small press that helped to produce Another Life, and Anna from White Whale Bookstore, a small indie bookstore located in Pittsburgh, PA that is also selling Another Life. Both of them quickly said their piece, explained who they were, and how they came to help in the creation of Another Life, and then they swiftly passed the torch to both Lipara and Myers. Lipara told the story of how he came to writing Another Life, how he was inspired to write it after the death of his mother, to share a piece of his personal family life with the world through his poetry. Myers, then, shared how she came to translating the poetry, how she had to be careful when translating so as to not lose the meaning behind Lipara’s words, to keep the principles that the poetry was written upon. They each took turns reading the poetry, first in Spanish, then in English, before turning back to the audience to answer any questions and receive any comments the audience yearned to share; to say that the audience reception was anything but positive would be a lie.
Hearing how long it took to make a book of this caliber, how much time went into carefully picking each word of the poem, the precision at which the translation was made, is inspiring in a way. The entire reading was beautiful, and just seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces made attending so worth it. After now making books myself, small as they are, I know what it’s like to be able to hold something you helped to make, to watch your creation slowly come to life, to flip through the pages and be able to say “I did that”; I can only imagine the amount of joy both Daniel and Robin felt as they were able to hold their book for the first time.