What focus?

Whenever you look at a piece of art, read poetry, or play a video game, almost always there is a focus. Something that your eye is drawn to,  that immediately calls your attention and requires you to focus on that aspect or idea throughout the experience.

However in Buzzing Hemispheres by Uryoán Noel, specifically in his poem “Langú” this is not the case. Although it is not uncommon to have no focus in paintings, I personally had never really seen this idea of no direct focus done so well other than in this poem. The various poems in this book have many different meanings, and overall there is a focus of two major ideas, which helps this poem become so unique.

These ideas are noise, and deterritorialization. In “Langú” however, it’s mostly this idea of deterritorialization. Normally a military term, this idea of deterritorialization is emphasized in taking what is normal, what has been territorialized, and working backwards, against what is already established. This is displayed in this poem as usually a single language, especially in poetry or novels, is seen as the focus. Other languages or translations are almost always pushed to the side, seen as just a repetition of the original language.

My brain niinindib cerebro it makes madwewe ruido noise apii cuando choca con when it hits bitaakosin aki la tierra the earth hello! boozhoo! hola!
Mi tierra aki my land is what lo que me viene comes to mind a la mente mikwendaagwad niiyaw de mi cuerpo of my body al gaguear as it stutters gagiibanagaskwe
Ombiigizi tierra my noisy earth mi ruidosa aki is recollected mikwendan es un andar babaa-ayaa rememorado wandering
Soy niinitam inwewin ruidoso I’m noisy language lenguaje ombiigizi land of body
tierra del cuerpo niiyaw aki gagiibanagaskwe gagueando un stuttering boozhoo! hola! hello!
noise memory language land brain body
agimediruni abadi iñeñei mua sesu úgubu
noise memory language land brain body
babel memoria idioma pais selebre kurpa
noise memory language land brain body
napituruk itqaqtuq uqautchit nuna qaqisaq timi
noise memory language land brain body
As seen from this excerpt, at first it may look like English is the focus. At first, English comes first, then the Spanish translation. However it changes constantly, and then Spanish goes first, and then English. This idea of no focus and the deterritorialization of normality of languages is further shown with how the Spanish is bolded. Is it because it’s more important? Is it because it’s supposed to feel interrupting to the English words? It’s hard to tell, because focus is not meant to be made, and the author does it beautifully.
In a way, it creates two focuses, and two meanings. And even then, it isn’t just a direct translation from English, as seen in the last Stanza. It shows multiple translations, giving the Spanish more depth and meaning in comparison to the English. Its so complex and the way it interlocks and works is unique, and it really makes you wonder. What is the focus?
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