Eyes to See Otherwise/Ojos de Otro Mira: Selected Poems

Eyes to See Otherwise/Ojos de Otro Mira: Selected Poems

by Homero Aridjis
     
 
For the first time, a comprehensive Selected Poems in a bilingual edition, by Mexico's greatest living poet. Eyes to See Otherwise is the first extensive selection of poems by leading Mexican poet Homero Aridjis to appear in English. The scope and quality of the translations, by some of America's finest poets, mark the centrality of his work on the map

Overview

For the first time, a comprehensive Selected Poems in a bilingual edition, by Mexico's greatest living poet. Eyes to See Otherwise is the first extensive selection of poems by leading Mexican poet Homero Aridjis to appear in English. The scope and quality of the translations, by some of America's finest poets, mark the centrality of his work on the map of modern poetry. Aridjis's sources range from Nahuatl chants and Huichol initiation songs to San Juan de la Cruz and the 16th-century Spanish poet Luis de Góngora y Argote. He is, in the words of translator George McWhirter, "a troubadour of love for lost environments, a voice in the wilderness of Mexico City and Mexico." Included in this selection are poems by Aridjis evoking his own life, present and past, his memories always sticking close to his birthplace Contepec, where, on Altamirano Hill, the Monarch butterflies arrive each year. This long awaited Selected Poems enables the reader to witness, from his 1960 collection The Eyes of a Double Vision to new unpublished poems—in a bilingual edition—the poetic and personal evolution of this "visionary poet of lyrical bliss, crystalline concentrations and infinite spaces" (Kenneth Rexroth). Translated by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Martha Black Jordan, Philip Lamantia, W.S. Merwin, John Frederick Nims, Kenneth Rexroth, Jerome Rothenberg, Brian Swann, Barbara Szerlip, Nathaniel Tarn, Eliot Weinberger, and the editors.

Author Biography: Homero Aridjis was born in Contapec, Mexico, on April 6, 1940, and has published twenty-eight books of poetry and prose. Recipient of many awards and two Guggenheim Fellowships, he is also a leading environmentalist. He has been instrumental in protecting the Monarch butterfly in Mexico, and the breeding grounds of whales off Baja. In 1987, he received the Global 500 Award from the UN Environmental Program. Aridjis also served as Mexican Ambassador to the Netherlands and Switzerland, and as President of International PEN for two terms.

Editorial Reviews

Seamus Heaney
Homero Aridjis's poems open a door into the light.
Dick Russel
Now, for the first time, a collection of Aridjis's stunning poetry ranging over four decades.
Publishers Weekly
First published in 2001, this is the first representative selection by Aridjis, one of Mexico's greatest living poets, to be published in a bilingual edition. Although the acknowledgements and preface are only in English, the rest of the book is equally divided into Aridjis's original work and translations into English by some of America's finest poets. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811215091
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
04/01/2002
Edition description:
Bilingual
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,233,662
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Los ojos desdoblados (1960)


CIRABEL
llego siempre a tu aposento
con una confusión de bocas
y una zozobra de tiempo,
a traerte la ofrenda cotidiana
de mis manos huecas:
un montículo de ausencia
fundido en recuerdos cobrizos.
Más o menos
cuando la ceniza de la noche
se derrama sobre el brasero de tus pupilas,
igual que ante una ciudad inerme.
Anudado tu grito de silencio
no me dices nada,
— también en mis labios crece el musgo —
y nos contemplamos
como si no existieran nuestros cuerpos.


Soy lo que eres,
miro por tus ojos,
camino por tus pies,
me levanto sin peso en ti
y me sumerjo en tus aguas.
Solo conozco el sentido particular
que ha dado tu visión del universo.
Soy tu risa meridiana,
tus brazos flotando en el aire,
tus dedos
desgranando un tiempo
compuesto solamente del alba a la noche.
Soy tú, sin cuerpo,
presente en toda la tierra.
Tu historia es la misma que la mía,
desde la infancia siento a través de tus esporas
con los ojos ausentes.


The Eyes of a Double Vision


Cirabel
I always come to your rooms
with a confusion of mouths
an anxiety of time
to bring you the daily gift
of my empty hands
a mound of absences
smelted into the coppers of memory
More or less
when the cinder of the night
spills over the brazier of your eyes,
as in front of an unarmed city
Knotted up, yourcry of silence
tells me nothing
— moss is also growing on my lips —
and we contemplate each other, as if our bodies
didn't exist


(Note: 'Cirabel' was the first poem by the author to be translated into English.)


I am what you are,
see with your eyes,
walk with your feet,
drift with no weight inside you
or let myself sink in your waters.
I know only the odd meanings
your view of the universe gives me.
I am your laughter at noonday,
your arms that float in the air,
your fingers
shelling the hours
you place between morning and night.
I am you, without body,
present all over the earth.
Your story the same as my own,
from childhood I feel through your spores
with my absent eyes.


Antes del reino (1963)


Antes del reino
de las aldeas flotantes
de los pies mensajeros
ya eras tú primera sombra
el presagio desatándose
en lenta destrucción de ángeles
ya eras la mano y la espada
y el rostro los dos rostros
y el cinturón que anuda los vientos contrarios

ya eras la ventana última
los ojos últimos
el incendio de luz
la noche sucia
con toses de enferma por las calles

eras tú misma
y tu doble atrás como un espía

Antes del reino
todavía no eras tú
sólo premonición
y ya eras la presencia
la señal como saludo
los cuerpos
la cópula cayéndose a pedazos


Epitafio para un poeta


Antes de que las nieblas descendieran a tu cuerpo
antes del grumo de vacilación en los ojos de tu máscara
antes de la muerte de tus hijos primeros y de los bajos fondos
antes de haber equivocado la tristeza y la penuria
y el grito salvaje en el candor de un hombre
antes de haber murmurado la desolación sobre los puentes
y lo espurio de la cópula tras la ventana sin vidrios


Before the Kingdom


Before the kingdom
of the floating villages
of the messenger feet
already you were the first shadow
the foretaste giving rein to itself
in a slow destruction of angels
already you were the hand already the sword
and the face both faces
and the belt that ties up the rough winds

already you were the last window
the last eyes
the burning of the light
the night befouled
with the coughs of a sick woman in the streets

you were yourself
and your double behind you like a spy

Before the kingdom
you were not yet you
only a premonition
and already you were the presence
the signal like a greeting
the bodies
the copulation falling into fragments


Epitaph for a Poet


Before the mists descended on your body
long before hesitations clotted in the eyes of your mask
before the death of your first sons and the lower depths
before a confusion of sadness and destitution
and the savage cry in the frankness of a man
before having murmured about desolation on the bridges
and the spurious coitus behind the window that had no glass


casi cuando tus lagos eran soles
y los niños eran palabras en el aire
y los días eran la sombra de lo fácil

cuando la eternidad no era la muerte exacta que buscábamos
ni el polvo era más verosímil que el recuerdo
ni el dolor era nuestra crueldad de set divinos

entonces cuando se pudo haber dicho todo impunemente
y la risa como una flor de pétalos cayendo

entonces cuando no debías más que la muerte de un poema
eras tuyo y no mío y no te había perdido


Cae la lluvia sobre junio
y los signos se contienen
en toda puerta que se colabora

Al fondo de ti ríen las doncellas

El espíritu de la mujer que ama
corre en tu cuerpo se desnuda en las calles

No hay desengaño en este día
sólo una luz fuego secreto
y tm grito que se exorcisa adentro

En todo está el hombre
y el espíritu de la mujer que ama

La vida en los rincones
sostiene el equilibrio del mundo
con un algo de Dios que asciende de las ruinas

Los hijos del hombre hacen su universo
sobre un barco de papel que se destroza
pero la alegría no está precisamente ahí
sino en la proyección de otro universo

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