Conques-en-Rouergue, Delta, Asymptote

Editorial newsletter translated from the Spanish Cuadernos de la Torre

During the month of August, the original photocollages created by Spanish Artist Dinah Salama for Peter Wessel’s new translingual poetry-artbook+cd DELTA were exhibited at Librairie Chemins d’Encre in the Medieval French pilgrim’s village of Conques-en-Rouergue. It was in this setting that the poet on August 8th presented his book in a concert-reading accompanied by the French multi-instrumentalist Jean-Pierre Rasle.

Because he considers Conques to be his second birthplace, it was a deeply moving experience for the Danish poet, who settled there 37 years ago after recognizing the village from an adolescent dream. With time, this thousand year old confluence of European cultures has become a metaphor for Peter’s life and poetry, and – in 2014 – the Town Council decided to have the poem “Conques, la quête”, which he had written and dedicated to the village, carved in two Corten steel plates and place them where the Way of Saint James enters and leaves Conques.


Affiche Dialogues pour Delta, horaire corr-page-001

Furthermore, on a different note, the international journal of literary translation Asymptote has recently published three poems from Delta on their blog, both in their original polyphonic language and in Elena Feehan’s perceptive and ressourceful translations into English. Asymptote defines itself as “an exciting new international journal dedicated to literary translation […] bringing together in one place hitherto unpublished work by writers and translators such as J. M. Coetzee, Patrick Modiano, Can Xue, Ismail Kadare, David Mitchell, Anne Carson, Haruki Murakami, Lydia Davis, and Herta Müller”.

Three Polyfonías from Delta…

recently translated into English by Elena Feehan for Asymptote Journal


Ma petite fille,
Salomé, mit barnebarn,
mi nieta,
para ti soy ”Bedstefar”,
tu única palabra en danés.
Le meilleur père, père
de ta mère,
ton grand’pere danois
en danois.

Cubana de padre, francesa
de madre
y yo, tu raiz nórdica.
doce por cien
y medio, lo que hay de danés
en mi poesía
ou d’alcool
dans une cépage de bonne qualité.

De moi t’as déjà herité
Plus que ta mère:
un mot, an
heirloom du nord:
avec tout ce que celà
veut dire
y con todo lo que tu dirás
cuando me llames, quand
tu m’appelles.
When you call my name.

Blodets bånd, siger vi.
Barnebarn, grandchild, petit en-
blood of my blood
a bond which cannot be severed.
Más que un vínculo, plus que un lien,
yet nada,
unless we invest it with meaning.

So, what sense
qué sentido tuvo para mí
tu nacimiento?
Hvad betød din fødsel for mig,
en far
der aldrig er blevet kaldt, har
hørt sig kalde
og kun sjældent
a pu agir, actuar,
como père?

¿Qué tal te sientes como abuelo?,
me preguntaban,
and I was at a loss, no supe contestar
comment je me sentais.
I didn’t feel any different, no notaba
ninguna diferencia
and could not see why I should have changed.

Pasaron cinco años, cinq ans
sans practiquement se voir
y sólo ahora me doy cuenta,
only now,
gazing back at a gap of five years,
do I realise how you, ou plutôt
ta presence,
changed the perspective of my life,
gav mit liv
et dybere perspektiv
making both past and future unfold.

Probablement je n’ai jamais occupé
la place du père,
dans la vie de tu mamá.
Like a fool I offered her up
as a sacrifice for my love to her mother
y su abuelo, mi suegro, me la arrancó.

That man, tu bisabuelo, now dead,
rife with heirs and hardly mourned
stole my daughter and supplanted me
leaving me,
a childless, self-deceitful
papa chatré.

Salomé, nieta mía,
para ti soy todavía poco más
que una palabra, but a word which,
ahí dedans,
gemmer et løfte, a
meaning and promise
that we both must explore:

din ”Bedstefar”,
le meilleur père
de ta mère.



The pain,
el dolor de esas dulces disonancias.
Le ton aigue, den skærende
på nippet til… a breath
from keeling over.

Et smertefuldt, jublende skrig.

Like Coltrane
we must squeeze the reed, estrujar
nuestra alma
hasta que la nota se quiebre, indtil
kernen spaltes, permitiéndonos
seguir fluyendo,

sjælen kælver
og døden os skiller

until we cave in
and death do us part.

5. Offering

Excerpt from the poem as read by the author with his Polyfonías Poetry Project, click here

Illustration by Dinah Salama



Toutes les chansons d’amour,
todas las flores de primavera y los
colores de otoño que je t’aurais cueilli
se me han marchitado.

The songs that my thoughts of you
stirred in the wind
are now a dry rustle, an autumn lullaby
Fugle som trækker mod syd,
birds of passage.

Que venga la nieve, la
la manta suave y blanda,
the sweet forgetful snow
that will cover all the wounds
calmará el ardor de las heridas
and the broken stems
with its cool whiteness, su fría blancura.

La neige de noviembre,
sur les pétales bleus de mes pensées
de nous.