Hélène Cardona

Hélène Cardona

Hélène Cardona is the author of seven books, most recently the award-winning Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry, 2016) and the translations Birnam Wood (José Manuel Cardona, Salmon Poetry, 2018), Beyond Elsewhere (Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, White Pine Press, 2016), winner of a Hemingway Grant, Ce que nous portons (Dorianne Laux, Éditions du Cygne, 2014), and Walt Whitman’s Civil War Writings for WhitmanWeb (2016).

She has judged the 2017 Jacar Press Full Length Competition, 2016 PEN Center USA Translation Award, 2015 Writer’s Digest Challenge, and 2014 Rabindranath Tagore Award.

Hélène also translated Rimbaud, Baudelaire, René Depestre, Ernest Pépin, Aloysius Bertrand, Maram Al-Masri, Eric Sarner, Jean-Claude Renard, Nicolas Grenier, Christiane Singer, and John Ashbery.

She wrote her thesis on Henry James for her MA in American Literature from the Sorbonne and worked as a translator/interpreter for the Canadian Embassy in Paris. She taught at Hamilton College and Loyola Marymount University, and received fellowships from the Goethe-Institut and Universidad Internacional de Andalucía.

Her work has been translated into 16 languages. She co-edits Plume, Fulcrum, and Levure Littéraire.

Acting credits include Chocolat, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Jurassic World, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Spy, Serendipity and Mumford, among many. Producing credits include the award-winning documentary Femme: Women Healing the World, The Cure, We the People, and Pablo Neruda: the People’s Poet.


Ah to get a glimpse of Aphrodite
and be touched by grace,
see beauty everywhere,
forgive all and myself
and surrender, surrender, surrender.

Ah to get another chance at love
for I worshipped Athena and followed Artemis.
Taste the Cyprus pomegranate,
dive into the ocean,
have your heart broken.

Consider this, be fortunate, grateful,
consider this, be alive
for the greatest gift is given with death.
There is no end and no beginning,
surrender, surrender, surrender.

I pay with my mother’s death
for the price of my dreams
as I dream the world into being
as I dream new memories
as I dream myself into love falling into you.

Ah to let Aphrodite guide you to the great
spirit who proclaims again and again
mountains am I, rivers am I
wind, sand and rain am I
moon, sun and stars am I.

Her voice will not be silenced
for it is formidable
and echoes those of all beloved.
It is her privilege to serve you
for life seeks beauty and complexity.

Will you perceive with the eyes
of the heart, heed the call of jaguar
and hummingbird?
Let the wheel of time absorb you,
have your heart broken.

From Dreaming My Animal Selves, Salmon Poetry (2013).

For other contributions by Hélène Cardona, please follow the links below:

Poetry in this post: © Hélène Cardona
Published with the permission of Hélène Cardona