Meet Pablo Alaguibe

Pablo Alguibe is the first poet we have translated and published for our online and on-demand print journal, Hagioscope. We have published three of his poems:

The Inside of a Whale

Holes in wool socks

The rotund man and the presumably young man

Pablo Alaguibe created Ediciones del Altillo in Mar del Plata, Argentina

I first met Pablo in a coffee shop in Vicente López, Buenos Aires this last year. He had been in a very long and tedious meeting for a local publishing house. Despite the long day and the bus that was awaiting him, he generously accepted the invitation for a cup of coffee with friends and I tagged along.

After the formalities of Argentine greetings, he said something like, “tell me about you — I want to get to know you”. I said a few things about myself without providing too many details. Nevertheless, he insisted that in our brief time together, he really wanted to get to know me. Pablo is not only good at telling stories, he is good at asking questions that lead others to tell their stories.

Pablo’s sensitivities to nature and life make him a keen observer of the human experience. He not only exposes the dangers of two-faced hypocrisy, he proposes through his life and poetry an alternative way of being human.

Frankly, I am fed-up with poets who provoke just to provoke. It is no surprise that it is mostly young souls that most enjoy provocation. I, like many others have long been witnesses to irreverent provocations and yearn for something more.

I long not only for fingers that point out hypocrisy, but fingers that point towards hope, towards alternative ways of being human and living together as one big family. After years of working with poor and immigrant populations, after years of reading poignant literature that artfully analyzes the human condition, I now read to discern better ways of being human. I read in order to see the beauty in the middle of the mess that is human existence.

Pablo helps me see that beauty and truth are not far off.

Pablo publishes his books in his workshop at his home in Mar del Plata, Argentina. For more information, visit:

Ediciones del Altillo

Ediciones del Altillo on Facebook

Michelangelo Infinito

“The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.”

Michelangelo was a sculptor, painter, architect, poet and much more. A new biographical film, Michelangelo Infinito came out this last year in Italy. I went this week to see it here in Buenos Aires.

The film reminds us of his passion and artistic ambition. It was a specially poignant reminder that artists have the ability to see beyond that which is most easily perceived by a quick glance. In the case of Michelangelo, where many saw a block of marble, he saw la pietà.

Michelangelo was also a poet. Here is one of my favorite poems and an English translation.

90. I’ mi son caro assai più ch’i’ non soglio

I’ mi son caro assai più ch’i’ non soglio;
poi ch’i’ t’ebbi nel cor più di me vaglio,
come pietra c’aggiuntovi l’intaglio
è di più pregio che ’l suo primo scoglio.

O come scritta o pinta carta o foglio
più si riguarda d’ogni straccio o taglio,
tal di me fo, da po’ ch’i’ fu’ berzaglio
segnato dal tuo viso, e non mi doglio.

Sicur con tale stampa in ogni loco
vo, come quel c’ha incanti o arme seco,
c’ogni periglio gli fan venir meno.
 I’ vaglio contr’a l’acqua e contr’al foco,
col segno tuo rallumino ogni cieco,
e col mie sputo sano ogni veleno.

I feel more precious, I am more than one,
For, since you held my heart, my worth grew more:
A marble block, when carving has been done,
Is not the rough, cheap stone it was before.

As paper painted or just written on
No longer is a rag one can ignore,
So, since you looked at me, as I was won,
My value has increased for evermore.

Now, with your splendor printed on my face,
I go like one who, dressed with every kind
Of amulets and arms, can dare all wars.
I can walk on the ocean, brave all blaze,
Give in your name the light to all the blind,
And my saliva heals all poisonous sores.

Translation: Joseph Tusiani

*James M. Saslow. The Poetry of Michelangelo: An Annotated Translation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991.

David, Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence

I have enjoyed two biographies of Michelangelo:

The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo, Irving Stone

Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces, Miles J. Unger

A hagioscope was a hole in the wall of medieval churches that allowed people from the outside to see inside and most specifically to be present in the sacred moment of the eucharist. Michelangelo, like a hagioscope helps transform our vision of the mundane, the quotidian in order to be witnesses of that which is imbued with the holy. His vision represents a new paradigm or hermeneutic through which we can begin to perceive the sacred nature of our lives.

Poeta osado y valiente

Pablo Alaguibe, nuestro primer poeta publicado en la Revista Hagioscope, es un poeta osado y valiente.

Osado porque se anima a indagar e incomodar a sus lectores con preguntas pertinentes que muchas veces revelan la hipocresía o apatía de los seres humanos.

Valiente porque no se queda sólo preguntando y perturbando, sino que se esfuerza para explorar en qué consiste la buena vida como miembro de una comunidad.

Pablo es el fundador de Ediciones del Altillo en la ciudad del Mar de Plata, Argentina. Sus libros son publicados artesanalmente en su taller casero.

Les comparto dos poesías, una osada y otra valiente.

Salmo de desorientación

¿Por qué insiste Dios en los jazmines
cuando en Nigeria tantos niños
han quedado tendidos para siempre
en el piso de la escuela?

¿Por qué se despereza la semilla
y nace el brote por la noche,
mientras suenan las alarmas,
los gritos y disparos en el barrio?

¿Sonríe Dios cuando la flor florece?
¿Se olvida de lo otro?

De algo se olvidan los que son felices.

Es necesario no saberlo todo.

¿Cómo se puede ser Dios,
saber lo que ha pasado, 
y seguir pintando amaneceres,
seguir imaginando calabazas,
colores de moluscos,
niños posibles, lunares en mejillas,
formas de nubes,
perfumes de manzana?

¿Está contento Dios o llora?

¿Llora la historia humana cada noche
y vuelve a inspirarse en las mañanas?

Mientras no lo sabemos,
tenemos hijos, los mimamos
y jugamos con ellos en el patio,
como si nada. 
Sabemos del horror que los acecha.
Les damos a probar frutillas
dulces y ácidas. 
Disfrutamos su asombro. 
Reímos de sus caras.

Cuaderno Rojo, Ediciones del Altillo, 2018.

Seremos tu familia

Seremos los que abraces y te abracen. 
Los que no siempre te entiendan.
Seremos los primeros
a quienes quieras contar tus novedades.
Y con los que querrás ir a llorar corriendo.

Te veremos crecer,
y nos verás cambiar de ideas.
Descubrirás de a poco nuestra inconsistencia,
el triste abismo
entre lo que quisiéramos ser y lo que somos. 
Perderemos el rumbo cerca tuyo.
Perderemos el tiempo. 
y comeremos lo mismo muchas veces,
en ocasiones dulces y saldas.
Soñaremos mundos parecidos,
aunque no idénticos.
Nos reiremos de los mismos chistes.
Compartiremos los vinos y los panes,
los resfríos y las pestes. Y luego los remedios.

Intentaremos controlarte y,
con la ayuda de Dios, jamás lo lograremos. 
Tendremos que aprender a disfrutar
de que hagas lo contrario a nuestros planes,
y para lo cual estabas hecho. 
Tomaremos distancia.
Diremos cosas feas unos de otros.
Nos perdonarás y nos reencontraremos.
No reemplazaremos a la familia de tu sangre.
Solo seremos una más. Pero una que se elige. 
Tendrás con quienes caminar
cuando te duelan las rodillas.
Llegarás a la última puerta rodeado
por un montón de inevitables compañeros.
Les dirás hasta luego con la mano,
y te dirán: ¡NOS VEMOS!

Cuaderno Verde Limón, Ediciones del Altillo, 2018.

The Divine Image

Jean Vanier reminds us that “toute personne est une histoire sacrée”, every person is a sacred story. However, in today’s world, people are treated as mere patients, clients, and consumers. Luigi Zoja in his book, La morte del prossimo, writes that our neighbor is dead to us as a direct consequence of the death of God.

This leads me to believe that the desacralization of the world has much to do with our loss of humanity. In our aim to create secular states in order to avoid sectarian oppression, we have also eliminated sacred space and often denied the sacred nature of other human beings.

William Blake (1757–1827) reminds us from the not so distant past that the value of human beings is intrinsically related to the nature of the divine image.

The Divine Image

by William Blake

To Mery, Pity, Peace and Love
All pray in their distress:
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love
Is God our father dear:
And Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love
Is Man his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face:
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, turk, or jew.
Where Mercy, Love & Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.

Songs of Innocence and of Experience, William Blake

Toute personne est une histoire sacrée, Jean Vanier

La morte del prossimo, Luigi Zoja

Debemos conformarnos


5 de diciembre 2015

Dedicado con cariño a la memoria de Eduardo Galeano



Dicen que en el primer mundo todo es mejor. Te pagan más y rinde más. Podés vivir solo y tener tus cosas. Dicen que todo funciona mejor. Menos quilombo. Menos lío.


Dicen que en el tercer mundo todo es peor. Te pagan menos y rinde menos. No podés vivir solo y tener tus cosas. Dicen que todo funciona peor. Más quilombo. Más lío.


Yo, un ciudadano del primer mundo que vive en el tercer mundo quiere saber dónde está el libro de quejas. Me quiero quejar porque vengo de un lugar dónde hay más y todo es mejor pero aquí, sólo encuentro que la gente tiene más amor para dar, más tiempo para compartir y más sueños para alcanzar.


El tiempo no es oro y el dinero no es todo. En el tercer mundo no podemos darnos el lujo de comprar lo más caro. Por eso, debemos conformarnos con procurar lo incomprable: el amor, la alegría y la capacidad de soñar.


*Debemos conformarnos fue publicado en Hispaniola, la revista literaria de Sigma Delta Pi de la Universidad Cristiana de Abilene. Un agradecimiento especial a la Dra. Beatriz Walker por su amistad y apoyo.