translator-diaryThe Translator’s Diary

$14.00 paper | 57 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-930974-75-3
Publication Date: March 2008
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Winner of the 2007 Green Rose Prize

“Grappling with loss, memory, and absence as palpable presence, Jon Pineda laments the ways ‘what is whole is momentary’ while finding solace in images—‘always temporal and yet always.’ The Translator’s Diary reminds us that one of poetry’s necessary functions is translation—of literal experience and abstract emotion, the personal and shared. With beautiful formal precision, Pineda moves skillfully from couplets to sonnets to lyric sequence, carefully ‘pressing syllables against the dark’ in this timeless, poignant volume.”
—Claudia Emerson

“In The Translator’s Diary, where truth ‘never survives its translation,’ Jon Pineda composes a haunting elegy. His keen attention journeys through absence and presence, fragmentation and loss in memorable, riveting language.”
—Arthur Sze

“The poems of Jon Pineda have something of the quiet grace and lyric precision of James Wright—Pineda possesses a similar ability to wrest celebration from the elegiac, and stasis from turbulence. Pineda knows (as not all poets do), that the essential work of the lyric poem is mysterious and paradoxical, that the poem must be, as [he] puts it in the collection’s masterful title sequence, ‘temporal and yet always.’ This is a very fine collection indeed.”
—David Wojahn

“Pineda’s poems turn in on themselves, each a pointed and intimate introspection sheathed in the gauze of the lyric, accruing momentum in a sort of ripple effect as the book progresses. . . The image that emerges from this spiraling, comprehensive collection is one composed of many fragments: Fear of memory loss and one’s inability to articulate, complex theories of the image, a sister who died too soon.”
—Laura Eve Engel,

“Jon Pineda’s The Translator’s Diary demonstrates the sort of tenderness which made Nick Flynn’s Some Ether such a successful project. One section flows seamlessly into the next, together forming a spare cycle around the untimely death of the speaker’s teenage sister. Pineda captures confused reactions to limited information and quietly breaks hearts with a girl’s last conscious moments during an accident. ‘She finds the waves have moved inland, / spilling over the road and filling the car. // Where glass becomes pieces of ocean, / the void carries them away.’ Pineda knows not just pain, but joy and peace as well. He points out in ‘Cleared Fields,’ there is little point in wringing one’s hands after the fact: ‘There is no turning back. / There never was.'”
—Todd Mercer, ForeWord Magazine

Jon Pineda


Jon Pineda’s first collection Birthmarkwas selected by Ralph Burns as winner of the 2003 Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry Open Competition. His memoir, Sleep in Me, was selected for the Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” series. The recipient of a Virginia Commission for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, he teaches in the English Department at Old Dominion University and in the MFA program in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte. He lives in Norfolk, Virginia with his wife, Amy, and their two children.