This first translation of the complete poetry of Peruvian César Vallejo (1892-1938) makes available to English speakers one of the greatest achievements of twentieth-century world poetry. Handsomely presented in facing-page Spanish and English, this volume, translated by National Book Award winner Clayton Eshleman, includes the groundbreaking collections The Black Heralds (1918), Trilce (1922), Human Poems (1939), and Spain, Take This Cup from ...
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The Complete Poetry: A Bilingual Edition

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This first translation of the complete poetry of Peruvian César Vallejo (1892-1938) makes available to English speakers one of the greatest achievements of twentieth-century world poetry. Handsomely presented in facing-page Spanish and English, this volume, translated by National Book Award winner Clayton Eshleman, includes the groundbreaking collections The Black Heralds (1918), Trilce (1922), Human Poems (1939), and Spain, Take This Cup from Me (1939).

Vallejo's poetry takes the Spanish language to an unprecedented level of emotional rawness and stretches its grammatical possibilities. Striking against theology with the very rhetoric of the Christian faith, Vallejo's is a tragic vision—perhaps the only one in the canon of Spanish-language literature—in which salvation and sin are one and the same. This edition includes notes on the translation and a fascinating translation memoir that traces Eshleman's long relationship with Vallejo's poetry. An introduction and chronology provide further insights into Vallejo's life and work.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Less famous than Neruda or Lorca, the Peruvian Vallejo (1892-1938) may stand as their equal among the great Spanish language modernists. At times more demanding than both-and just as devoted to "eternal love," "animal purity" and "the absolute Encounter"-Vallejo has inspired devotion and imitation across continents. The lyrical, quotable poems of The Black Heralds (1918) record an intense young man's struggle with his Andean and Catholic heritage. Dense in its beauty, packed with neologisms, Trilce (1922) shows Vallejo at his strangest and most original: determined to forge a new language for the New World, the volume weaves together pellucid laments for the lost loves of childhood with "thrips and thrums from lupine heaps." The posthumous Human Poems (1939) mingle nostalgia, eroticism and rage as they follow the poet's years in Paris; the more conventional Spain, Take This Cup from Me (1939) records Vallejo's devotion to the Loyalist (left-wing, and losing) side of the Spanish Civil War and memorably mourns the fallen. Decades in the making, this faithful and forceful complete text from poet and essayist Eshleman (see page 40 for a review of his newest book of verse) deserves as much notice as any poetic translation can get. (Dec.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520932142
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/8/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 732
  • File size: 645 KB

Meet the Author

Poet and essayist Clayton Eshleman is a recipient of the National Book Award and the Landon Translation Prize. He is the cotranslator of César Vallejo: The Complete Posthumous Poetry and Aimé Césaire: The Collected Poetry, both from UC Press. Among Mario Vargas Llosa's prestigious literary awards are the National Critics' Prize, the Peruvian National Prize, and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize. He is the author of more than twenty books. Efrain Kristal is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. Stephen M. Hart is Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at University College, London.
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The Complete Poetry

A Bilingual Edition

By César Vallejo, Clayton Eshleman


Copyright © 2007 The Regents of the University of California
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-520-93214-2



    Qui potest capere capiat


    He who is able to receive it, let him receive it.


     Hay golpes en la vida, tan fuertes ... Yo no sé!
    Golpes como del odio de Dios; como si ante ellos,
    la resaca de todo lo sufrido
    se empozara en el alma ... Yo no sé!

     Son pocos; pero son ... Abren zanjas oscuras
    en el rostro más fiero y en el lomo más fuerte.
    Serán talvez los potros de bárbaros atilas;
    o los heraldos negros que nos manda la Muerte.

     Son las caídas hondas de los Cristos del alma,
    de alguna fe adorable que el Destino blasfema.
    Esos golpes sangrientos son las crepitaciones
    de algún pan que en la puerta del horno se nos quema.

     Y el hombre ... Pobre ... pobre! Vuelve los ojos, como
    cuando por sobre el hombro nos llama una palmada;
    vuelve los ojos locos, y todo lo vivido
    se empoza, como charco de culpa, en la mirada.

     Hay golpes en la vida, tan fuertes ... Yo no sé!


     There are blows in life, so powerful ... I don't know!
    Blows as from the hatred of God; as if, facing them,
    the undertow of everything suffered
    welled up in the soul ... I don't know!

     They are few; but they are ... They open dark trenches
    in the fiercest face and in the strongest back.
    Perhaps they are the colts of barbaric Attilas;
    or the black heralds sent to us by Death.

     They are the deep falls of the Christs of the soul,
    of some adored faith blasphemed by Destiny.
    Those bloodstained blows are the crackling of
    bread burning up at the oven door.

     And man ... Poor ... poor! He turns his eyes, as
    when a slap on the shoulder summons us;
    turns his crazed eyes, and everything lived
    wells up, like a pool of guilt, in his look.

     There are blows in life, so powerful ... I don't know!



     Luna! Corona de una testa inmensa,
    que te vas deshojando en sombras gualdas!
    Roja corona de un Jesús que piensa
    trágicamente dulce de esmeraldas!

     Luna! Alocado corazón celeste
    ¿por qué bogas así, dentro la copa
    llena de vino azul, hacia el oeste,
    cual derrotada y dolorida popa?

     Luna! Y a fuerza de volar en vano,
    te holocaustas en ópalos dispersos:
    tú eres talvez mi corazón gitano
    que vaga en el azul llorando versos! ...



     Moon! Crown of an immense head,
    which you keep shedding in golden shadows!
    Red crown of a Jesus who thinks
    tragically sweet of emeralds!

     Moon! Maddened celestial heart
    —why are you rowing like this, inside the cup
    full of blue wine, toward the west,
    such a defeated and aching stern?

     Moon! And by flying off in vain,
    you holocaust into scattered opals:
    perhaps you are my gypsy heart
    wandering the blue weeping verses!


     Linda Regia! Tus venas son fermentos
    de mi noser antiguo y del champaña
    negro de mi vivir!

     Tu cabello es la ignota raicilla
    del árbol de mi vid.
    Tu cabello es la hilacha de
    una mitra de ensueño que perdí!

     Tu cuerpo es la espumante escaramuza
    de un rosado Jordán;
    y ondea, como un látigo beatífico
    que humillara a la víbora del mal!

     Tus brazos dan la sed de lo infinito,
    con sus castas hespérides de luz,
    cual dos blancos caminos redentores,
    dos arranques murientes de una cruz.
    Y están plasmados en la sangre invicta
    de mi imposible azul!

     Tus pies son dos heráldicas alondras
    que eternamente llegan de mi ayer!
    Linda Regia! Tus pies son las dos lágrimas
    que al bajar del Espíritu ahogué,
    un Domingo de Ramos que entré al
    Mundo, ya lejos para siempre de Belén!


     Fair queenly one! Your veins are the ferment
    of my ancient nonbeing and of the black
    champagne of my life!

     Your hair is the undiscovered rootlet
    of the tree of my vine.
    Your hair is the strand from a miter
    of fantasy that I lost!

     Your body is the bubbly skirmish
    of a pink Jordan;
    and it ripples, like a beatific whip
    that would have put the viper of evil to shame!

     Your arms create a thirst for the infinite,
    with their hesperidian castes of light,
    like two white redeeming roads,
    two dying wrenchings of a cross.
    And they are molded in the unconquered blood of
    my impossible blue!

     Your feet are two heraldic larks
    eternally arriving from my yesterday!
    Fair queenly one! Your feet are the two tears
    I choked back, descending from the Spirit
    one Palm Sunday when I entered the World,
    already forever distant from Bethlehem!


     Dulce hebrea, desclava mi tránsito de arcilla;
    desclava mi tensión nerviosa y mi dolor ...
    Desclava, amada eterna, mi largo afán y los
    dos clavos de mis alas y el clavo de mi amor!

     Regreso del desierto donde he caído mucho;
    retira la cicuta y obséquiame tus vinos:
    espanta con un llanto de amor a mis sicarios,
    cuyos gestos son férreas cegueras de Longinos!

     Desclávame mis clavos oh nueva madre mía!
    Sinfonía de olivos, escancia tu llorar!
    Y has de esperar, sentada junto a mi carne muerta,
    cuál cede la amenaza, y la alondra se va!

     Pasas ... vuelves ... Tus lutos trenzan mi gran cilicio
    con gotas de curare, filos de humanidad,
    la dignidad roquera que hay en tu castidad,
    y el judithesco azogue de tu miel interior.

     Son las ocho de una mañana en crema brujo ...
    Hay frío ... Un perro pasa royendo el hueso de otro
    perro que fue ... Y empieza a llorar en mis nervios
    un fósforo que en cápsulas de silencio apagué!

     Y en mi alma hereje canta su dulce fiesta asiática
    un dionisíaco hastío de café ...!


     Sweet Jewess, unnail my clay transit;
    unnail my nerve tension and my pain ...
    Unnail, eternal lover, my protracted anxiety and
    the two nails from my wings and the nail from my love!

     I am back from the desert where I have often fallen;
    put away the hemlock and regale me with your wines:
    scare off my assassins with a love sob,
    their grimaces are the iron blindness of Longinus!

     Pull out my nails, oh my new mother!
    Symphony of olives, decant your tears!
    And wait, seated next to my dead flesh,
    as the menace subsides, and the lark ascends!

     You go ... return ... Your mourning plaits my great cilice
    with drops of curare, sharp edges of humanity,
    the rocky dignity there in your chastity,
    and the Judithesque mercury of your inner honey.

     It is eight o'clock on a creamy, bewitched morning ...
    And it is cold ... A dog goes by gnawing the bone of another
    dog that was ... And the match that I extinguished
    in capsules of silence starts crying in my nerves!

     And in my heretic soul, coffee's Dionysian spleen
    sings its sweet Asiatic feast ...!


     Vengo a verte pasar todos los días,
    vaporcito encantado siempre lejos ...
    Tus ojos son dos rubios capitanes;
    tu labio es un brevísimo pañuelo
    rojo que ondea en un adiós de sangre!

     Vengo a verte pasar; hasta que un día,
    embriagada de tiempo y de crueldad,
    vaporcito encantado siempre lejos,
    la estrella de la tarde partirá!

     Las jarcias; vientos que traicionan; vientos
    de mujer que pasó!
    Tus fríos capitanes darán orden;
    y quien habrá partido seré yo ...


     I come to watch you go by every day,
    enchanted little steamer always distant ...
    Your eyes are two blond captains;
    your lip is a fleeting red
    handkerchief fluttering a blood good-bye!

     I come to watch you go by; until one day,
    intoxicated with time and with cruelty,
    enchanted little steamer always distant,
    the evening star will fade away!

     The rigging; winds that betray; winds
    from a woman who passed by!
    Your cold captains will give the order;
    and the one who will have faded will be I ...


     Al callar la orquesta, pasean veladas
    sombras femeninas bajo los ramajes,
    por cuya hojarasca se filtran heladas
    quimeras de luna, pálidos celajes.

     Hay labios que lloran arias olvidadas,
    grandes lirios fingen los ebúrneos trajes.
    Charlas y sonrisas en locas bandadas
    perfuman de seda los rudos boscajes.

     Espero que ría la luz de tu vuelta;
    y en la epifanía de tu forma esbelta
    cantará la fiesta en oro mayor.

     Balarán mis versos en tu predio entonces,
    canturreando en todos sus místicos bronces
    que ha nacido el niño-jesús de tu amor.


     As the orchestra falls silent, veiled feminine
    shadows pass beneath the branches
    through whose dry leaves filter icy
    chimeras of moonlight, pale varicolored clouds.

     There are lips that weep forgotten arias,
    ivory gowns feigning huge lilies.
    Chatter and smiles in wild flocks
    perfume the rugged woods with silk.

     I hope the light of your return laughs;
    and in the epiphany of your graceful form
    the holy day will rejoice in gold major.

     On your estate my verses will then bleat,
    humming with all their mystical bronze
    that the baby-jesus of your love has been born.


    Para Domingo Parra del Riego

     Luciré para Tilia, en la tragedia,
    mis estrofas en ópimos racimos;
    sangrará cada fruta melodiosa,
    como un sol funeral, lúgubres vinos.
      Tilia tendrá la cruz
    que en la hora final será de luz!

     Prenderé para Tilia, en la tragedia,
    la gota de fragor que hay en mis labios;
    y el labio, al encresparse para el beso,
    se partirá en cien pétalos sagrados.
      Tilia tendrá el puñal,
    el puñal floricida y auroral!

     Ya en la sombra, heroína, intacta y mártir,
    tendrás bajo tus plantas a la Vida;
    mientras veles, rezando mis estrofas,
    mi testa, como una hostia en sangre tinta!
      Y en un lirio, voraz,
    mi sangre, como un virus, beberás!


    For Domingo Parra del Riego

     In the tragedy, I will display for Tilia
    my stanzas in abundant clusters;
    each melodious fruit will bleed,
    like a funereal sun, doleful wines.
      Tilia will hold the cross
    that in the final hour will be of light!

     In the tragedy, I will capture for Tilia
    the drop of uproar that is on my lips;
    and the lip, tightening for the kiss,
    will break into a hundred holy petals.
      Tilia will hold the dagger,
    the floricidal and auroral dagger!

     Now in shadow, heroine, virgin and martyr,
    you will feel Life under your soles;
    while, praying my stanzas, you hold vigil over
    my head, like a Host in blood ink!
      And you will drink my blood,
    like a virus, from a lily, voraciously!


     He soñado una fuga. Y he soñado
    tus encajes dispersos en la alcoba.
    A lo largo de un muelle, alguna madre;
    y sus quince años dando el seno a una hora.

     He soñado una fuga. Un "para siempre"
    suspirado en la escala de una proa;
    he soñado una madre;
    unas frescas matitas de verdura,
    y el ajuar constelado de una aurora.

     A lo largo de un muelle ...
    Y a lo largo de un cuello que se ahoga!


     I have dreamed of a flight. And I have dreamed of
    your silks strewn about the bedroom.
    Along a pier, some mother;
    and her fifteen years breast-feeding an hour.

     I have dreamed of a flight. A "forever and ever"
    whispered on the ladder to a prow;
    I have dreamed of a mother;
    some fresh sprigs of greenery,
    and the aurora-constellated trousseau.

     Along a pier ...
    And along a throat that is drowning!


     Lirismo de invierno, rumor de crespones,
    cuando ya se acerca la pronta partida;
    agoreras voces de tristes canciones
    que en la tarde rezan una despedida.

     Visión del entierro de mis ilusiones
    en la propia tumba de mortal herida.
    Caridad verónica de ignotas regiones,
    donde a precio de éter se pierda la vida.

     Cerca de la aurora partiré llorando;
    y mientras mis años se vayan curvando,
    curvará guadañas mi ruta veloz.

     Y ante fríos óleos de luna muriente,
    con timbres de aceros en tierra indolente,
    cavarán los perros, aullando, un adiós!


     Lyricism of winter, rustle of crepe,
    now when the hasty departure nears;
    oracular voices of plaintive songs
    that in the evening pray for a farewell.

     Vision of the burial of my illusions
    in the very tomb of the mortal wound.
    Veronican charity from unknown regions,
    where at the price of ether life is lost.

     Near dawn I will depart in tears;
    and while my years go on curving,
    my swift course will curve scythes.

     And under the cold holy oils of a dying moon,
    with the timbre of steel in the indolent earth,
    dogs, howling, will dig a good-bye.


     Ausente! La mañana en que me vaya
    más lejos de lo lejos, al Misterio,
    como siguiendo inevitable raya,
    tus pies resbalarán al cementerio.

     Ausente! La mañana en que a la playa
    del mar de sombra y del callado imperio,
    como un pájaro lúgubre me vaya,
    será el blanco panteón tu cautiverio.

     Se habrá hecho de noche en tus miradas;
    y sufrirás, y tomarás entonces
    penitentes blancuras laceradas.

     Ausente! Y en tus propios sufrimientos
    ha de cruzar entre un llorar de bronces
    una jauría de remordimientos!


     Absent! The morning when I go away
    farther than far, to the Mystery,
    as if following the inevitable ray,
    your feet will slide into the cemetery.

     Absent! The morning when, like a rueful bird,
    I go away to the shore of
    the sea of shadow and silent empire,
    the white pantheon will be your captivity.

     Night will have fallen in your glances;
    and you will suffer, and then acquire
    penitent lacerated whitenesses.

     Absent! And in your own suffering
    amid a wail of bronzes
    a pack of remorse will lope by!


     Melancolía, saca tu dulce pico ya;
    no cebes tus ayunos en mis trigos de luz.
    Melancolía, basta! Cuál beben tus puñales
    la sangre que extrajera mi sanguijuela azul!

     No acabes el maná de mujer que ha bajado;
    yo quiero que de él nazca mañana alguna cruz,
    mañana que no tenga yo a quien volver los ojos,
    cuando abra su gran O de burla el ataúd.

     Mi corazón es tiesto regado de amargura;
    hay otros viejos pájaros que pastan dentro de él ...
    Melancolía, deja de secarme la vida,
    y desnuda tu labio de mujer ... !


     Melancholy, pull out your sweet beak now;
    don't batten your fasting on my wheat of light.
    Melancholy, enough! As your daggers drink
    the blood my blue leech would suck out!

     Do not finish off the fallen woman's manna;
    I want some cross to be born of it tomorrow,
    tomorrow when I will have no one to turn my eyes to,
    when the coffin opens its great sneering O.

     My heart is a potsherd sprinkled with gall;
    there are other old birds who graze inside it ...
    Melancholy, stop drying up my life,
    and bare your woman's lip ... !


    Para José Eulogio Garrido

     Cual hieráticos bardos prisioneros,
    los álamos de sangre se han dormido.
    Rumian arias de yerba al sol caído,
    las greyes de Belén en los oteros.

     El anciano pastor, a los postreros
    martirios de la luz estremecido,
    en sus pascuales ojos ha cogido
    una casta manada de luceros.

     Labrado en orfandad baja el instante
    con rumores de entierro, al campo orante;
    y se otoñan de sombra las esquilas.

     Supervive el azul urdido en hierro,
    y en él, amortajadas las pupilas,
    traza su aullido pastoral un perro.


    For José Eulogio Garrido

     Like imprisoned hieratic bards,
    the poplars of blood have gone to sleep.
    On the knolls the flocks of Bethlehem
    ruminate arias of grass in the setting sun.

     The ancient shepherd, shaken by
    the last martyrdoms of light,
    has caught in his paschal eyes
    a chaste cluster of brilliant stars.

     Wrought by orphanhood he descends the instant
    with rumors of burial, to the praying field;
    the cattle-bells are autumn-cast with shadow.

     The blue survives warped in iron,
    and in it, eyeballs shrouded,
    a dog traces its bucolic howl.



     Es una araña enorme que ya no anda;
    una araña incolora, cuyo cuerpo,
    una cabeza y un abdomen, sangra.

     Hoy la he visto de cerca. Y con qué esfuerzo
    hacia todos los flancos
    sus pies innumerables alargaba.
    Y he pensado en sus ojos invisibles,
    los pilotos fatales de la araña.

     Es una araña que temblaba fija
    en un filo de piedra;
    el abdomen a un lado,
    y al otro la cabeza.

     Con tantos pies la pobre, y aún no puede
    resolverse. Y, al verla
    atónita en tal trance,
    hoy me ha dado qué pena esa viajera.

     Es una araña enorme, a quien impide
    el abdomen seguir a la cabeza.
    Y he pensado en sus ojos
    y en sus pies numerosos ...
    Y me ha dado qué pena esa viajera!



     It is an enormous spider that now cannot move;
    a colorless spider, whose body,
    a head and an abdomen, bleeds.

     Today I watched it up close. With what effort
    toward every side
    it extended its innumerable legs.
    And I have thought about its invisible eyes,
    the spider's fatal pilots.

     It is a spider that tremored caught
    on the edge of a rock;
    abdomen on one side,
    head on the other.

     With so many legs the poor thing, and still unable
    to free itself. And, on seeing it
    confounded by its fix
    today, I have felt such sorrow for that traveler.

     It is an enormous spider, impeded by
    its abdomen from following its head.
    And I have thought about its eyes
    and about its nume


Excerpted from The Complete Poetry by César Vallejo, Clayton Eshleman. Copyright © 2007 The Regents of the University of California. Excerpted by permission of UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Foreword / Mario Vargas Llosa
Introduction / Efraín Kristal

Los heraldos negros —The Black Heralds
Plafones ágiles — Agile Soffits
Buzos — Divers
De la tierra — Of the Earth
Nostalgias imperiales — Imperial Nostalgias
Truenos — Thunderclaps
Canciones de hogar — Songs of Home
Poemas humanos — Human Poems
España, aparta de mí este cáliz — Spain, Take This Cup from Me

Afterword: A Translation Memoir
Appendix: A Chronology of Vallejo’s Life and Works / Stephen M. Hart
Index of Spanish Titles and First Lines
Index of English Titles and First Lines
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    Terribly Formatted

    The format of each poem is completely wrong. Therefore, the purposeful structure Vallejo created for each poem is lost. The actual book version of this nook book has correct formatting for each poem. Other poetry nook books keep the correct formatting. I don't know why this one, with its professional appearance and relatively high cost, fails to capture each poem correctly. Do not waste your money on this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    The Eshleman translation of Vallejo's poetry is both faithful an

    The Eshleman translation of Vallejo's poetry is both faithful and creative. As such, he captures the passion, experimentation, and struggle pulsing within all of Vallejo's work. This work is an important English translation that presents Vallejo in all his brilliance and significance. It is a must read for those who are encountering Vallejo for the first time, as well as, for those who wish a guide into the possibilities of Vallejo's poeticizing for the English language. 

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