Ugly Duckling Presse

The Territory Is Not the Map
The Territory Is Not the Map

Marília Garcia

translated by Hilary Kaplan

Poetry | $10 $8
Fall 2017
Buy"An instantly infectious blend of narrative portraits and metaphysical musings."
Airports, backpacks, dictionaries, hemispheres, The Territory Is Not the Map is a journey across Marília Garcia’s poetry. The distance between territory and map, a journey and the language used to write about it, the distance between languages. There is no straight line from one to the other—here there is displacement. Garcia takes on this displacement, exposes it by cutting, pasting, dismantling words; repeating and insisting; making holes in space and time. Images anchor: a pair of green flip-flops beside an airport bench, love as a red raincoat come from another poem. Everything can be a geographic error, an error as a way of being found. Garcia's writing reverts a map's usefulness: this is a map to get lost.
Excerpt ˇ


after Guillermo Cabrera Infante

noise of rain,
an electric lamp
lights a single window
above the devastated city. dressed in white,
on the edge of the bed, she'd waited months to open the notebook
she found in a cafe. “when do you think
the rain will stop?”

(but wanted to ask what
are you thinking? wanted to ask how long will it last?
wanted to ask something else)

in the grey room,
outlined objects
lose color one by one and change
places as you wait, the streetlight
filtered through the curtains forms
a square, glowing radioactive (could it be a wet dream
that makes me mix up the days of the week?)

“we need to go” was the last thing
she said, holding her raincoat
and a lifeboat.
Close ˆ

About the Author

Marília Garcia
Marília Garcia (Rio de Janeiro, 1979) is the author of 20 poemas para o seu walkman (2007), Engano geográfico (2012), Um teste de resistores (2014), and Câmera lenta (2017). In 2015, she was a resident at the Cité Internationale des Arts, in Paris, thanks to the support of the Icatu Prize for Arts. Her work has been translated into English, French, Spanish, and Flemish, and she has participated in festivals including Europalia, in Belgium, and Festival Internacional de Poesía de la Ciudad de México. She runs the poetry press Luna Parque Edições and lives in São Paulo.

About the Translator

Hilary Kaplan
Photo credit: Mara Barr
Hilary Kaplan is the translator of Rilke Shake by Angélica Freitas (Phoneme Media) and Ghosts, a collection of stories by Paloma Vidal (Story Front). Her translation of Rilke Shake won the Best Translated Book Award and the National Translation Award for poetry in 2016, and was a finalist for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Her translations of Brazilian poetry and prose have appeared on BBC Radio 4 and in journals internationally, including Modern Poetry in Translation, The White Review, Circumference, and Action Yes. She received a PEN/Heim Translation Fund award and a Rumos Literatura fellowship in literary criticism from Itaú Cultural. She teaches in the Language and Thinking Program at Bard College.

Advance Praise

Marília Garcia is among the most captivating Brazilian poets of her generation. Her poems are cerebral, playful, and slyly romantic, enamored of language and its pitfalls while offering fragments of a fraught lover’s discourse—their various facets call to mind Lyn Hejinian, Frank O’Hara, Elizabeth Bishop, and Ana Cristina Cesar. In The Territory Is Not the Map, Garcia’s geographical imagination wanders through airports and metro stations from Rio to Berlin to Paris to São Paulo, across deserts, in skidding cars, to encounters at the bottom of the sea. Hilary Kaplan takes these points of departure to an original, daring translation, alive with poetic energy. —Katrina Dodson
Marília Garcia’s poems in The Territory Is Not the Map are an instantly infectious blend of narrative portraits and metaphysical musings. Her oneiric excursions and meditations on language end on startlingly sensual notes, like when Garcia leaves her green flip flops in an airport in Berlin, and discovers upon returning home that the only memento she still has is “the memory of what already existed before the trip.”  I am becoming increasingly addicted to Hilary Kaplan’s expert translations of contemporary Brazilian poets. They are not to be missed.—André Naffis-Sahely