Author: Mariano Zaro

 I’ve been tagged! Thank you to the talented Hélène Cardona for inviting me to talk about my recent book Tres letras/Three Letters (Morsa/Walrus, Barcelona) in this expanding interview series called The Next Big Thing. Helen is the author of a recently published poetry collection, Dreaming My Animal Selves / Le Songe de mes Âmes Animales (Salmon Poetry). You can read Hélène’s interview here:

Picture of Mariano Zaro What is the working title of the book?

The book is called Tres letras/Three Letters.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Among other things this book is a tribute to two cities: Barcelona and London. I had a lot of journal notes from my days in both of these cities; that was the seed of the book. It is a story that went from my journals to poem form (with a lot of twists and turns in between).

What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry. The entire book is one long narrative poem divided into 15 segments.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a
movie rendition?

Sean Penn and Peter Sarsgaard, why not?

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Two sentences: This book is about the impossibility of love. It is a book of questions.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took more than 6 months. I had a lot of “notes”, a lot of pieces that I had to put together in a way that felt cohesive, organic. The book was originally written in Spanish. Then, I was lucky enough to work with the extraordinary Los Angeles poet Alicia Vogl Sáenz. She did the English translation. Her very precise and succinct translation made me go back to the original Spanish version and introduce certain changes that followed Alicia’s “findings” in English. I am very grateful for her generous contributions. The final product is a result of a conversation between the Spanish and English versions.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As I said before, Tres letras/Three Letters is a book of questions. It is, I think, the discomfort of questions that brings us to write.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Tres letras/Three Letters is the result of multiples collaborations. I have mentioned the translator, Alcia Vogl Sáenz and I also have to thank the illustrator, Jorge Pérez Muñoz. The book includes 5 illustrations by this exceptional Barcelona based artist. The black and white illustrations are subtle and evocative. They remind me of some drawings by French painter Raoul Dufy. Jorge Pérez Muñoz was able to accompany the text without being too intrusive. His work is remarkable example of constraint and understanding.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The book has been published by Morsa/Walrus, a small press based in Barcelona. The editor, Gabriel Bravo, has a meticulous, almost old-fashion approach to book making and book publishing. He has been very involved in the design process and has treated the book as a little piece of art.

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:

Sarah Maclay

Barbara Blatt

Hilda Weiss

Hari Bhajan