Nestor Perlongher was an Argentinian gay rights activist, sociologist, and poet who died in the mid-90s. He lived in São Paulo for much of the 80s and 90s, and wrote in a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, and Portuñol, with a little bit of gay street French thrown in. As a sociologist, he worked with gay and transgendered sex workers in São Paulo.
His most famous poem is “Cadáveres”, a poem about the Dirty War and “the disappeared”. Here is an mp3 of Perlongher reading the entire poem.
I’ve been translating Perlongher’s work since around 2004. Here are a few of Perlongher’s poems with my English translations:
(grades) / (rails)
Miché / Hustler
Para Camila O’Gorman / For Camila O’Gorman
Canción de amor para los Nazis en Bavaria / Love song for the Nazis in Bavaria
El circo / The circus
El Palacio del Cine / The Palace Cinema
Cadáveres (short excerpt) / Corpses
I have some notes in previous blog entries about the difficulty and lovely challenge of translating Perlongher’s poetry especially in its embodiment of gender, performativity, and sexuality.