Apart from being a poet,
editor and a very active culture
manager, Yolanda Castaño has been a columnist and has worked in
Galician TV during many years (Galician Audiovisual Academy
Award as ‘Best TV Communicator 2005’). She has published 6
poetry books in Galician and Spanish (“Depth of Field” and “The
second tongue” are her last titles), several chapbooks in
Galician, Spanish, Chinese and Macedonian, and a pair of
compilations. She is a relevant cultural activist, regularly
organizing monthly poetry reading series, festivals, literary
and translation workshops, all of them hosting local to
international poets (Galician Critics’ Award Best Cultural
She has been involved in many
different experiences of blending poetry with music,
performance, dance, architecture, visual and audiovisual arts,
and even cookery, being awarded for that too. Part of her work
has been translated into twenty five different languages. She
held four international fellowships as a writer-in-residence, at
the IWTCR in Rhodes (Greece) and in Villa Waldberta (Munich -
Germany) in 2011, at the HIP-Beijing (China) in 2014 and at the
Castle of Hawthornden (Scotland) in 2016. She received John
Carballeira Poetry Award (1997), Premio de la Crítica de
poesíagallega (1998), Espiral Mayor Poetry Award (2007).
APPLES FROM TOLSTOY’S GARDEN
who steered my car by the shores of the Neretva,
who swept my bike through the damp streets of Copenhagen.
I who stretched my arms across the chasms of Sarajevo,
who at the wheel crossed the Slovenian border
and soared in a bi-plane over the Ria of Betanzos.
I who took a ferry that landed on the shores of Ireland,
and at the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua;
I who will never forget that shop in Budapest,
or the cotton fields of Thessaly,
or the night when I was 17 in a hotel in Nice.
My memory paddles on Jurmala beach in Latvia
and feels just right at home on Sixth Avenue.
who once could have died in a taxi in Lima,
who walked the yellow fields of Pakruojis,
and crossed like Margaret Mitchell that street in Atlanta.
My feet trod the pink sands of Elafonisi,
turned a corner in Brooklyn, The Charles Bridge, Lavalle.
I crossed the desert to get to Essaouira,
took a zip-line down from the peaks of Mombacho,
I will never forget the night I slept on the streets of
or the Ostrog Monastery, or the rocks of Meteora.
I who spoke a name in a square in Ghent,
who once ploughed through the Bosphorus clad in promises,
who will never be the same since that day in Auschwitz.
who drove east as far as Podgorica
who steered a snow mobile across the Vatnajökull glacier,
and I never felt as alone as I did on Rue Saint-Denis,
I will never taste grapes like the grapes of Corinth.
I, who one day picked apples from Tolstoy’s garden
I want to go home:
to that hideaway
I love the most
in A Coruña
ROCK PAPER SCISSORS
When shut eyes can see
the cycle becomes a sleight of hand
(The poetry book opens too much
and up pops a deck of cards).
It’s not cocky to flick a switch,
or afflicted to write in the dark.
Don’t let go your hold on the world
or lose touch with the word footing,
take a saw to its legs
you might find you reach even higher.
we provoke language.
Of course we write
for a picture’s worth a thousand words.