11 by Carlos Soto-Román
The title of this book evokes the “other” September 11: Chile’s September 11, 1973, when Augusto Pinochet led a military coup to oust the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende and inaugurated a brutal 17-year dictatorship. Assembled from found material such as declassified documents, testimonies, interviews, and media files, 11 immerses readers in the State-sponsored terror during this period and the effects it would continue to have on Chile. The poetry in this book adopts the form of collage, erasure, and appropriation, the language emerging from censorship and suffocation as experienced under military rule. Soto-Román’s work asks us to understand the past through what has been covered up, to reflect on the spoken and unspoken pieces that interact to create a collective memory. How does censorship translate into another language when translation already involves so many degrees of selective removal? This collaborative version into English, taken on by eight translators, attempts to answer that question and provide a means to reflect on the relationship between writing, trauma, and politics.