Yolanda Castaño

Poet, essayist, editor and curator Yolanda Castaño (Santiago de Compostela, 1977) is director of the international writer’s residency Residencia Literaria 1863 in A Coruña, Galicia. She has published six poetry collections in Galician and Spanish. Her poems have been translated into over 35 languages and she is now launching her first collection translated into English, Second Tongue (Shearsman Books, tr. Keith Payne). Yolanda has been awarded a number of prizes including the National Critics Award, the Espiral Maior Poetry Award and the Author of the Year by the Galician Booksellers’ Association. She has been awarded international fellowships from the HIP-Beijing in China to Scotland's Hawthornden Castle. For the last twenty years she has been managing international poetry translation workshops, festivals and reading series.

Photo: Dmitri Kotjuh


Five O’Clock Verses »

Reading: Jay Bernard, Yolanda Castaño

Sat 7 March | 17:00 - 18:00 | £6.50/£5.00 | Parliament Hall, South Street

StAnza’s Listening Booth: Idioma Da Tinta »

Poetry by Yolanda Castaño set to music by Isaac Garabatos

Thu 5 March - Sun 8 March | 10:00 - 22:00 | FREE | Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Level 2 Foyer



Let the tea draw till it recalls who we love.
Some nook in a corner of your mouth
must hold the essence of bergamot.

We’re forever being done in
tripping over our tongues
(that ‘s’ of his that feeds
my need to sop him up).
And you’re so palatal, so on the edge…
a likeness buried under your wisdom teeth.

The god of phonology would never have grown
had the meaning not sprayed its sperm
over the howls.

My vocal cords are become straps
for this endless wreckage.
The ‘g’ will ring the little bell of my glottis
like a runaway train we hoped would stop.
And your name
cleaved to my palate,
like communion.

It’s not easy to say earl grey
Bonjour monsieur, I would like an earl grey.

But what I’m after

now that just can’t be said.

Yolanda Castaño, tr. Keith Payne

From Second Tongue (Shearsman, 2020)