Latin American Poetry Sampler
This gift set of Latin American poetry includes five bilingual editions of UDP translations in Spanish and Portuguese, discounted and specially wrapped!
Defense of the Idol | Omar Cáceres (tr. Mónica de la Torre)
Letters So That Happiness | Arnaldo Calveyra (tr. Elizabeth Zuba)
Chintungo: The Story of Someone Else | Soledad Marambio (tr. KT Billey)
The Territory Is Not the Map | Marília Garcia (tr. Hilary Kaplan)
I Remember Nightfall (2017), the first comprehensive collection of Uruguayan poet Marosa di Giorgio’s work to be published in English translation, is made up of her first four book-length poems: The History of Violets (1965); Magnolia (1968); The War of the Orchards (1971); and The Native Garden is in Flames (1975). Di Giorgio’s writing transforms everything it touches—a lily, a head, a hare, a ghost, a porcelain cup. All becomes beautifully and violently intertwined, dead and alive.
Di Giorgio is one who, like Blake, sees angels, explicitly and extravagantly.
Omar Cáceres once tried to destroy all copies of his one and only book, Defense of the Idol (2018). The myth around him survived thanks to the inclusion of fifteen poems from Defense of the Idol in the groundbreaking anthology Antología de poesía chilena nueva from 1935. Presented here for the first time in English translation, along with the sole foreword Vicente Huidobro ever wrote for a poet, the poems of Cáceres possess a ghostly, metaphysical energy combined with modern-age imagery: bows pulsate, moons hurtle, rains sing, trees drag their shadows in drunk stupors, winds break the sky open.
Omar Cáceres knows that poetry is the valorization of inner life and that, in a work of poetry, the poet makes the case for the need to experience a different world.
Argentine poet Arnaldo Calveyra’s first book of poetry, Letters So That Happiness (Cartas para qe la alegría), tells the story of the author’s one-way journey as a young man from his home in the northern pampas to Buenos Aires in 1950. It was the first leg of a journey that would end in exile. In this gentle, diffuse text in which time and place radiate and recede and spring up many and green, Letters strikingly anticipates the collusive forces that would shape the rest of his life — dissolution and preservation. Letters So That Happiness is the first of his works to be translated and published in English.
Letters that seems to be written as if by a tree, so much does it breathe quiet and green and up to the clouds ... and sings to us and whistles in our ears for so long following.
Chintungo: la historia de alguien más is a paradox from the outset. Over layers of history and story, “Alguien más” translates both to “someone more” and “someone else”—Chintungo is the story of a boy turned man turned father, refracted through the poems of his daughter. Soledad Marambio’s second book of poetry examines the facts, photos, and unknowable gaps in memory and history, tracing one family’s movement from the coast of Chile to Pinochet’s Santiago.
Marambio's poems veer into subversive territory with great subtlety, and Billey's translation recreates the nuances with astonishing skill.
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. Garcia takes on this displacement, exposes it by cutting, pasting, dismantling words; repeating and insisting; making holes in space and time.
I am becoming increasingly addicted to Hilary Kaplan’s expert translations of contemporary Brazilian poets. They are not to be missed.