To The Cypress Again and Again: Tribute to Salvador Espriu

Translated by Cyrus Cassells

978-1-62288-942-6 Paperback
6 x 9 x 0 in
100 pp.
Pub Date: 03/20/2023


  • Paperback $20.00

"Cyrus Cassells, a masterful poet and translator, has created a unique and powerful hybrid translation/poetic homage to Catalunya’s great twentieth-century poet Salvador Espriu. The lion’s share of To the Cypress Again and Again is a supple translation of Espriu’s first book, Sinera Cemetery, along with selections from other collections. A reader will come away with a poignant sense of Espriu’s beloved seaside landscape as well as, in Espriu’s words, his “precious Catalan’s/ mysterious gold”: a language that was suppressed and forbidden under Franco’s regime. Cassells has given us an enduring gift to the memory of Espriu—through his personal introduction, his loving translations, followed by his own Espriu-inspired poems that evoke “an alphabet of cypresses and sea-light,” thus transmuting Espriu’s elegiac voice into Cassells’s own."

          —Sharon Dolin

"At this particular darkening hour in Europe, we are graced by Cyrus Cassells's homage to Salvador Espriu. A survivor of Spain’s civil war, who then became an internal émigré, Espriu intimately knew the cost of war and destruction. In exquisite, moving poems such as Sinera Cemetery, masterfully rendered by Cassells, we encounter Espriu’s grieved, but resolute, fortitude: 'Liberty, the enduring word I utter time and again/between ancient boundaries/of vineyards and the sea.' Cassells's dialogue with Espriu is a gift, an enactment of the sacred pledge to uphold, against all odds, the 'enduring word.'"

          —Ellen Hinsey, author of The Illegal Age 
          and Update on the Descent


"To the Cypress Again and Again: Tribute to Salvador Espriu is a triumph of affinities, a testament to a translator’s steady, slow-burning attention to a poet’s work—and to the rich metamorphoses sparked by such devotion. These charged, luminous translations exalt Espriu’s stark lyrics; not just accompanying but also communicating with them, Cassells’s own poems are contemplative and ecstatic. Every translation is a conversation, and I’m grateful for this book as an example of both how and why."

          —Robin Myers, translator of Copy by Dolores Dorantes
          and Another Life by Daniel Lipara

"Cyrus Cassells has translated more than the words of Salvador Espriu, a Catalan poet who survived what Franco wanted to bury. His translation brings a culture, a time, and an honoring of the duende that gave inner life to a 'sacramental duty' of bringing Espriu to the English language and the world poetic psyche. His own poems inspired by Espriu: 'I became all poetry, / all silence and verse--' are, I might say, transfigurations of exile in a native land. This book is masterful and rare in its beauty. A must read for all that value freedom and the everlasting life of a cypress."

          —Lisha Adela García,
          Literary translator and author of
          Blood Rivers and A Rope of Luna


"Cyrus Cassells locates his translations of Catalan poet, Salvador Espriu, squarely in the question of survival and its relationship to language. A writer in a language that was banned by the Franco regime, Espriu turned from novels to a spare, deeply attentive poetry in which he attempted to conserve the most elemental words, the most elemental sense of self and of connection to his home. The poems by Cassells that conclude the book offer a different possibility of survival, including an imaginative recreation of Espriu's friendship with a young poet, as insightful and moving as Richard Howard's dialogues in Two-Part Inventions. This book is a lesson in the possibilities of imaginative sympathy as well as an exploration of the crucial place of words in our lives."

          --Jordan Smith, Goodreads

Published by Stephen F. Austin University Press