Marisa Russo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1969. Poet, cultural consultant and university professor living in USA since 1986.
She studied a Master and Bachelor’s in Spanish and Latin American Literature in Hunter College of the City University of New York. She is a doctoral candidate in education with emphasis in pedagogic mediation in the Universidad de La Salle, Costa Rica.
She founded the cultural movement Turrialba Literaria in Costa Rica in 2015. Coordinated the I Summit de Voces de América Latina in Costa Rica, 2017, and the Festival Internacional Grito de Mujer, Sede Turrialba, Costa Rica, 2018.
Currently, she is Adjunct Professor of the Romance Languages Department, Hunter College (CUNY) and consultant of the group Rizoma Literario NYC of the La Academia Literaria, Hunter College.
Founder and Director of Nueva York Poetry Press, Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Nueva York Poetry Review.
The book The Language of the Parks is her first poetry publication – Honorable Mention International Latino Books Award 2019. Jardines colgantes has been published by the project Lima Lee – Festival Primavera Poética 2020.
DIATRIBE AGAINST A MUSICIAN
She Leaves Murray Hill
All the benches in this park
are taken by your band:
a guitar that fills the air with despair,
congas that you loosen up religiously,
a drum box that doesn’t follow the rhythm,
an Argentine bombo that yearns for its homeland,
a keyboard that dreams of your caress,
a panpipe hung in sorrows,
and a pan flute that kisses you more than I.
The benches in this park demand your steps.
The one I find empty shows me a sign that reads:
While your quena draws borders, the charango settles.
I migrate to another park
with my bandoneon.
He Leaves Midtown
Take down your winds and move your drums.
The guitar will no longer wait for your fingers to bleed,
the Peruvian drum box will understand your emptiness.
The Argentine bombo
will only speak my language.
Continue kissing the pan flute.
While the quena builds a world,
here I settle my bandoneon.
GRANDMOTHER’S HANGING GARDENS
Estela’s patio was a stage of ivy curtains. From that refuge on the twelfth floor in Buenos Aires, she chatted, between mate and mate, with Sabato.
One day, while pedaling the sewing machine, she confessed she detested Borges. I didn’t tell her. I had Fictions in the bottom of my backpack. I felt like one who hides a boyfriend.
Grandmother never drank mate, she didn’t read Borges either nor she knew Sabato.
I enjoy with hidden delight her tales. I say to myself almost praying: “I hope one day, to climb its vines”.
This February, between Borges and I, are grandmother’s white hands.
Chapultepec forest knows Nahui wishes to be, just for one night, Carmen once again. This Mexican has boarded a boat to Lisbon and has not come back. Nahui yearns going into a saloon, meet a man, drink a tequila, go to his hotel, get naked.
Nahui, however, holds cats, nocturnal embraces, peculiar glancing eyes. The oil paintings are not enough to hold a glass, to undo her bodice.
“I cannot stop letting myself be kissed easily”, writes in her journals from youth.
Lola Lola crosses Tiergarten like a comet of slender legs. She crosses the Universum Film studio with white shoes, beret and cigar. She lets the ashes drop without concealing infidelities. Marlene gathers them and powders her face.
Behind the curtains it is well known that she sleeps with everybody, except with Adolph. She smokes those who say she is to blame for World War Two.
Translated by Silvia Rafti