Paula Abramo and Lucy Greaves

About the Curators

from One-Handed, curated by Jennifer Adcock and Rahul Bery

One-Handed is an anthology of experimental poetry translation by Scottish and Mexican poets (and their translators into English). The focus is very much on the process of translation, whereby each pair of poets produce their own versions of the same text. Poets were encouraged to be very free, and the results are as divergent as they are exciting. Edited by Jennifer Adcock and Rahul Bery.


The dictionary is the universe. It drools explanations,
but at first sight it is stupefying, like the bustle of large unknown cities.
Raul Pompeia

It wasn’t clear
if they were glorifying
or recording themselves
or just drooling
but they were, in any case,


at first sight,
the winding alleys of Lexico

first of all,
lived in a house called cuchillo.

The word cuchillo drooled
at the edges,
the brand new tongue
poked out through the fresh cut
licking soft fat
and milk
and games in bed from
the corners. It was a house
made of silver, with blades that recorded, crawled
in a room, at seven
pm, in that neighbourhood
called San Miguel Chapultepec.

It was a cuchillo. It wasn’t a curved knife, it was
a cuchillo, it wasn’t
a machete, it was
a blunt breakfast knife, a cuchillo
for spreading honey on bread,
but it cut,
the first
I said in another tongue.
It was a serrated blade, the word
had minute teeth,
it cut
like a plough marking the boundaries
of a piece of land:

on this side of the wall is cuchillo (but
it’s not polite to wield
a cuchillo
when others are around), on that side
are the streets and
their dandies and their Indians,
the real cuchillos, the
knives of this world, but the cuchillo
stays at home.
It is
the house: the book on the shelf, the bedtime
story, cut
by the cuchillo, by a wall
of silence:
the cuchillo buttering
our daily bread.

Paula Abramo was born in Mexico City and studied Classics at UNAM, where she has taught Brazilian literature. She has translated literary works from Portuguese, and she is the author of the poetry collection Fiat Lux, which tells of the migration stories of her family from different regions of Europe to Brazil. 

Lucy Greaves translates from Portuguese, Spanish and French. She studied French and Spanish at Cambridge University, and has an MA in Literary Translation from the University of East Anglia. She lived and worked in Colombia, Peru, Chile and Switzerland, picking up Portuguese by unconventional means while teaching Brazilians to ski, and is currently based in Bristol. She won the 2013 Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize and during 2014 she has been Translator in Residence at the Free Word Centre. Her translations of Eliane Brum's One Two and Mamen Sánchez's Happiness is a Cup of Tea with You are forthcoming in late 2014 and early 2015 respectively, and her work has been published by Granta and Words Without Borders, among others.