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Book presentation of Spanish poetry

Book cover - Palabras Prestadas 3
Charles Olsen during the presentation
In the studio of Andrés Delgado
Miguel Ángel Arcas reading one of the poems
In the studio of Andrés Delgado
Mario Castro Garza, one of the poets included in the book
Antonio Ruiz Pascual, president of Arte Total, reads one of the poems
Presentation in Madrid, Spain, of the third book in the collection Palabras Prestadas (Given Words)


What has happened? I have just presented in Madrid, Spain, the third book in the collection Palabras Prestadas (Given Words) titled "Palabras Prestadas 3", which celebrates the third year of this Spanish poetry project with twenty poems from fifteen poets in a beautiful book replete with playful typographic designs, photographs and drawings. During the presentation, which took place in the studio of Spanish artist Andrés Delgado, a number of the poets both present and via Skype from Strasbourg, Portugal and Valladolid recited their poems. Miguel Ángel Arcas, poet and director of the publisher Cuadernos del Vigía, who forms part of the jury of Palabras Prestadas selecting the winning poem of each edition, commented on the variety and great quality of the poems. The first edition of 200 copies is published by Ediciones de la MediaNoche. The photographs of the presentation were taken by one of the poets included in the book, Carmen Lafuente.

Tell me about the Palabras Prestadas project. Every two weeks a guest is invited to donate five words and participants send in their poems that must include the five words. A prize is awarded for the best poem of each edition and it is these poems that are brought together in this book. You can read more in this previous press release in The Big Idea. The project is currently coming to the end of its fourth year during which poets have been challenged to write with Samoan words given by Doug Poole and words donated in the annual football match between poets and novelists in Granada among others. This year the publishers Vaso Roto, Pre-Textos and Huerga & Fierro have joined with Cuadernos del Vigía in donating books from their poetry collections as prizes for the best poems. The project has also been featured in the national Spanish newspaper El País and on national Spanish television (RTVE) in NCI Noticias.

Where can I find a copy of the book? Palabras Prestadas 3 is available in Spanish through the website

Is it available in English? Currently it is not available in English although if there were a publisher or literary magazine in New Zealand interested I would be very happy to discuss the possibility. A couple of the poems have references to current affairs in Spain, politicians, corruption, etc, and one even has a reference to New Zealand:

Antipodean country my friends always mention / when they want to escape from their lives: / “New Zealand…”

And many surprise us by crafting stunning images from everyday moments. For example this impressionistic poem by Xisca Minart from Palma de Mallorca created using the five words donated by the poet Samir Delgado – cloud, island, wave, flower and cobblestone –

In the sky clouds press together
Like drab cobblestones
As waves with honed crests
Pound the rocks.
As if it were nothing, in mid-winter
Premature almond flowers
Clothe the island in white.


(Poems translated from the original Spanish by Charles Olsen)

Written by

Charles Olsen

20 Sep 2015