Immanent Visitor: Selected Poems of Jaime Saenz

Overview

Immanent Visitor is the first English-language translation of the work of Bolivia's greatest and most visionary twentieth-century poet. A poète maudit, Jaime Saenz rejected the conventions of polite society and became a monk in service of his own imagination. Apocalyptic and occult in his politics, a denizen of slum taverns, unashamedly bisexual, insistently nocturnal in his artistic affairs, and secretive in his leadership of a select group of writers, Saenz mixed the mystical and baroque with the fantastic, the...
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Overview

Immanent Visitor is the first English-language translation of the work of Bolivia's greatest and most visionary twentieth-century poet. A poète maudit, Jaime Saenz rejected the conventions of polite society and became a monk in service of his own imagination. Apocalyptic and occult in his politics, a denizen of slum taverns, unashamedly bisexual, insistently nocturnal in his artistic affairs, and secretive in his leadership of a select group of writers, Saenz mixed the mystical and baroque with the fantastic, the psychological, and the symbolic. In masterly translations by two poet-translators, Kent Johnson and Forrest Gander, Saenz's strange, innovative, and wildly lyrical poems reveal a literary legacy of fierce compassion and solidarity with indigenous Bolivian cultures and with the destitute, the desperate, and the disenfranchised of that unreal city, La Paz.

In long lines, in odes that name desire, with Whitmanesque anaphora, in exclamations and repetitions, Saenz addresses the reader, the beloved, and death in one extended lyrical gesture. The poems are brazenly affecting. Their semantic innovation is notable in the odd heterogeneity of formal and tonal structures that careen unabashedly between modes and moods; now archly lyrical, now arcanely symbolic, now colloquial, now trancelike. As Saenz's reputation continues to grow throughout the world, these inspired translations and the accompanying Spanish texts faithfully convey the poet's unique vision and voice to English-speaking readers.

Author Biography: Kent Johnson is the translator of A Nation of Poets: Writings from the Poetry Workshops of Nicaragua (1985) and editor of Beneath a Single Moon: Buddhism in Contemporary American Poetry (1990) and Third Wave: The New Russian Poetry (1993). Forrest Gander is Professor of English Literature and Director of the Graduate Program in Literary Arts at Brown University. His books include Torn Awake (2001) and Science & Steepleflower (1998). He is the editor of Mouth to Mouth: Poems by Twelve Contemporary Mexican Women (1993) and translator of No Shelter: Selected Poems of Pura López Colomé (2002).

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Editorial Reviews

Eliot Weinberger
Immanent Visitor is a triumphant procession of that hallucinated angel, Jaime Saenz, carried into English by Kent Johnson and Forrest Gander.
Publishers Weekly
In addition to the darkly fantastic long poem "To Cross This Distance," this marvelous and unassuming book selects from the early and middle work of Bolivian poet and novelist Saenz (1921-1986). Poet-anthologists Johnson (A Nation of Poets) and Gander (Torn Awake), include the original Spanish versions of their long, sinuously precise renderings of the La Paz poet's lines, showing us that "in the dilated and hardened poles of the hymns is the pivotal chord that shocks you into seeing." (Dec.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520230477
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 10/30/2002
  • Edition description: BILINGUAL
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 167
  • Lexile: 1700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Kent Johnson is the translator of A Nation of Poets: Writings from the Poetry Workshops of Nicaragua (1985) and editor of Beneath a Single Moon: Buddhism in Contemporary American Poetry (1990) and Third Wave: The New Russian Poetry (1993). Forrest Gander is Professor of English Literature and Director of the Graduate Program in Literary Arts at Brown University. His books include Torn Awake (2001) and Science & Steepleflower (1998). He is the editor of Mouth to Mouth: Poems by Twelve Contemporary Mexican Women (1993) and translator of No Shelter: Selected Poems of Pura López Colomé (2002).
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
By Way of Introduction
A Note on this Translation
Anniversary of a Vision (1960) 3
High above the Dark City 17
Your Skull 17
Here 18
In the Heights 18
The Basket of Wool 19
So I Am Persuaded 19
The City 20
Watching the River Flow 22
Someone Must Be Called Twilight 23
Homage to Epilepsy 27
Paraphrase of "So Have You Told Him or Not?" 31
The Candle and the Breeze 32
The Voyage of the Lindens and the Madrepores while Rocking in the Weariness of the Age-Old Cradles 34
To Cross This Distance (1973) 37
From Immanent Visitor (1964) 55
Aniversario de una vision (1960) 73
En lo alto de la ciudad oscura 87
Tu calavera 87
Aqui 88
En la altura 89
La canasta de lana 89
Segun estoy persuadido 90
La ciudad 90
Mirando como pasa el rio 92
Alguien tendra que Ilamarse crepusculo 93
Homenaje a la epilepsia 97
Parafrasis de "Y le has dicho? O no?" 101
La vela y el viento 102
El viaje de los tilos y las madreporas cuando se reside en el cansancio de las viejas cunas 104
Recorrer esta distancia (1973) 107
De Visitante profundo (1964) 125
The Saenz Effect: An Afterword 141
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