Four Poems by Gemma Gorga from Voyage to the Center (2020), Translated from Catalan by Sharon Dolin

Summer’s End




the first leaf

falls to earth.


For a moment

its color forgets

to fall also,



to the thin limb

of our gaze.

Insomnia’s Topography



Seven times I have paced

this house—book—black

stone of pain.


Oh Virgin of the Indefatigable,

tell me there is still hope for rest

in this realm where I turn up each night—


your subject who advances, barefoot and alone.

The Hidden Face of Desire



I have a spoon that grows with hunger—

insatiable as the moon

in time of war.


I fast

in order

to feed it.




There are places

where you can only

arrive on foot—

walking, crawling, stumbling,

dragging your belly like a slug

with bits of earth in your mouth.


Here, for example,

right here in this very now

something begins to assemble

some equivocal and

clandestine thing, something

so much itself, half who-knows

half could-be, so similar—

and so dissimilar—

to writing.

Gemma Gorga was born in Barcelona in 1968. She has a Ph.D. in Philology from the University of Barcelona, where she is Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Spanish Literature. She has published seven collections of poetry in Catalan. Her most recent collections are Mur (Meteora, 2015), which won the Premi de la Critica de Poesia Catalana, and Viatge al centre (Godall Edicions, 2020). She is also the author of two memoirs: one about her sojourn in India, Indi visible (Tushita edicions, 2018) and another about her time spent in San Francisco, Hi ha un país on la boira (Tushita edicions, 2021), as well as translations from English to Catalan of the Indian poet Dilip Chitre and a co-translation of selected poems by Edward Hirsch.

Sharon Dolin is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Imperfect Present (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2022) and Manual for Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). Her fourth book, Burn and Dodge, won the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry. A 2021 NEA recipient, she is also the author of Hitchcock Blonde: A Cinematic Memoir (Terra Nova Press, 2020) and two books of translation: Book of Minutes (Oberlin College Press, 2019) and Late to the House of Words: Selected Poems by Gemma Gorga (Saturnalia Books, 2021), winner of the Malinda A Markham Translation Prize and shortlisted for the 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize. She is Associate Editor at Barrow Street Press and lives in New York City.

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