Cosmic Canticle

Overview

In this epic poem, Cardenal explores Latin American history by relating the evolution of the universe to the development of human understanding. Throughout, Cardenal blends the visible and the invisible, science and poetry, religion and nature, in 43 autonomous yet integrated cantos.

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Overview

In this epic poem, Cardenal explores Latin American history by relating the evolution of the universe to the development of human understanding. Throughout, Cardenal blends the visible and the invisible, science and poetry, religion and nature, in 43 autonomous yet integrated cantos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Ernesto Cardenal is one of the most important poets writing today. He is one of the giants, in the tradition of Neruda and Guillen." --Amiri Baraka

"This is much more than just another poet's collection of singular verse: Cardenal spent over thirty years producing this epic, which relates Latin American history to the evolution of human understanding. [These] cantos are provocative creations." --The Bookwatch

"[Ernesto Cardenal's] Cosmic Canticle arrives like songs from the darkness, questioning who we are and where we came from and keeping the tradition of the long poem alive. From its first cantiga, 'Big Bang,' in which Carndenal speculates upon our origins, to the here-and-now of later cantigas, he sees signs of hope: 'This universe repeating itself after each Big Bang / to be better each time / until it becomes the perfect cosmos.' In the last cantiga, 'Omega,' he calls out names and celebrates the relations of all humankind: 'Love is the synthesis of the universe.' This is, then, a book of faith—faith in humanity and in a creator. As the work of an ordained priest, this comes as no surprise, although Cardenal's continuing impulse to write such stunning poetry is ever a wonderful surprise."

—Raul Niño, ALA Booklist

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Background radiation allows us to deduce that the universe / is harmoniously curved / like a woman.'' This nearly 500-page poem of Father Cardenal, a priest who was Nicaragua's Minister of Culture during the Sandinistas' years in power, superficially recalls Genesis and some of the Old Testament and prophetic writings, and also peruses contemporary scientists and science writers such as Lewis Thomas, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Richard Feynman and Richard Dawkins, at times cited by name, in an attempt to justify the ways of God to Nicaragua and Latin America. The theology--largely homage to the Earth-goddess--seems literary, perhaps derived from Robert Graves. The text, as translator Lyons has rendered it, suggests the lecture outline of an eclectic, New Age professor. This is not a wholly credible synthesis of religious feeling and political engagement on the order of Milton or Blake, but instead the work of an amiable popularizer, seeking--yet not always reaching--the force of authentic prophecy or discovery: ``Man is society. / The loneliness we suffer comes from being only individuals. / Happiness is others.'' (Dec.)
Library Journal
Inevitably, this epic will be compared to Neruda's Canto General , but Cardenal is more geared to theology, science, and stream-of-consciousness than Neruda. Nor is Cardenal as doctrinaire, though he does cite James the Apostle demanding pensions for widows and nurseries for children and asserts that communion and communism are synonymous. Steeped in a spiritual love for Nicaragua and the world, Cardenal packs his epic with fact and aphorism that reflect all human experience. In the beginning was Chaos, order from disorder, the Tao, the supernova-created Sun, and the new notion of Gaia. Cardenal reminds us that the word theology was coined by Plato and that the Seminoles' dance of the fresh corn is a eucharist, too. He mocks Nixon, who said yes and no on Vietnam, the parrot Reagan, the Shah of Iran, Franco, and Somoza. There is a four-page bibliography of works by Cardenal but no introduction or glossary of the untranslated italicized words savored by this brilliant and humanitarian poet-priest of Nicaragua. Heady stuff recommended for all levels of academic libraries.-- Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880684931
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 490
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

The towering figure of Latin American poetry, Ernesto Cardenal was born on January 10, 1925, in Granada, Nicaragua. In 1965, he was ordained a priest. He served as Minister of Culture for the Sandinista government from 1979 to 1988. He is currently the director of Casa de los Tres Mundos, a cultural organization in Granada, Nicaragua. Cardenal is the author of more than 60 volumes of poetry, essays, and criticism.

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Table of Contents


CANTIGA 1
Big Bang

CANTIGA 2
The Word

CANTIGA 3
Autumn Fugue

CANTIGA 4
Expansion

CANTIGA 5
Stars and Fireflies

CANTIGA 6
Beyond And Closer to Home

CANTIGA 7
The Infinitesmal Calculation Of The Apples

CANTIGA 8
Condensations And Vision of San José De Costa Rica

CANTIGA 9
Song Of Spacetime

CANTIGA 10
Canticle of the Sun

CANTIGA 11
Gaia

CANTIGA 12
Birth of Venus

CANTIGA 13
The Tree Of Life

CANTIGA 14
The Hand

CANTIGA 15
Nostalgia For Paradise

CANTIGA 16
The Darkest Before Dawn

CANTIGA 17 
Journeys In The Night

CANTIGA 18
Flights of Victory

CANTIGA 19
Towards The New Man

CANTIGA 20
The Music Of The Spheres

CANTIGA 21
Robber Barons

CANTIGA 22
In An Unexceptional Galaxy

CANTIGA 23
Room 5600

CANTIGA 24
Latin American Documentary

CANTIGA 25
Visit To Weimar

CANTIGA 26
On Earth As In The Heavens

CANTIGA 27
Dance Of The Millions

CANTIGA 28
Epithalamium

CANTIGA 29
Quantum Canticle

CANTIGA 30
Dance Of The Stars

CANTIGA 31
The Empty Grave

CANTIGA 32
In The Heavens There Are Dens Of Thieves

CANTIGA 33
The Deep Outer Darkness

CANTIGA 34
Ancient Sobbing Light

CANTIGA 35 
Like the Waves

CANTIGA 36
The Grave Of The Guerrilla

CANTIGA 37
Cosmos As Communion

CANTIGA 38
Assaults On Heaven From The Earth

CANTIGA 39
"The Desired Of Nations" (Of Peoples)

CANTIGA 40
Flight and Love

CANTIGA 41
The Canticle Of Canticles

CANTIGA 42
A Certain Something That They Still

CANTICA 43
Omega

Bibliography

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