The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry

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Here is the first anthology to present a full range of multilingual poetries from Latin America, covering over 500 years of a poetic tradition as varied, robust, and vividly imaginative as any in the world.
Editors Cecilia Vicuña and Ernesto Livon-Grosman present a fresh and expansive selection of Latin American poetry, from the indigenous responses to the European conquest, through early feminist poetry of the 19th century, the early 20th century "Modernismo" and "Vanguardia" movements, later revolutionary and liberation poetry of the 1960s, right up to the experimental, visual and oral poetries being written and performed today. Here readers will find several types of poetry typically overlooked in major anthologies, such as works written or chanted in their native languages, the vibrant mestizo (mixed) creations derived from the rich matrix of spoken language in Latin America, and even the mysterious verses written in made-up languages. In addition to the giants of Latin American poetry, such as César Vallejo, Vicente Huidobro, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, Haroldo and Augusto de Campos, and Gabriela Mistral, the editors have included a selection of vital but lesser known poets such as Pablo de Rohka, Blanca Varela, and Cecilia Meireles, as well as previously untranslated works by Simó n Rodríguez, Bartolomé Hidalgo, Oliverio Girondo, Rosa Araneda, and many others. In all, the anthology presents more than 120 poets, many in new translations--by Jerome Rothenberg, W.S. Merwin, and Forrest Gander, and others--specially commissioned for this anthology, and each accompanied by a biographical note. The book features both English and original language versions of the poems, a full bibliography, and an introduction by the editors.
Sure to stand as the definitive anthology for decades to come, The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry remaps the territory, offering new ways of looking at a poetry as diverse and complex as Latin America itself.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Impressive in its scope, variety, and sheer liveliness, THE OXFORD BOOK OF LATIN AMERICAN POETRY is a must for poetry explorers eager to venture into the many wonders that lie beyond the boundaries of English." --Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate

"No better way of falling in love with Latin America...a magisterial anthology." --Ariel Dorfman, Washington Post

"The most comprehensive, representative, and up-to-date survey in English of Latin American Poetry, bar none." --Library Journal

"Huge, much needed antholog[y]." --Philadelphia Inquirer

"Its uniqueness is evident...exciting...If one were forced to choose only one volume of Latin American poetry to take to a desert island, this would be the one." --Rain Taxi

" extensive and thorough compendium...This comprehensive volume will be useful and informative for Latin American scholars, as well as the general public interested in exploring unusual forms of poetry." --Catholic Library World

"The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry is a strikingly inclusive anthology attentive to concrete and visual poetry. --Times Literary Supplement

"Should revitalize our interest in Latin American poetry...Demonstrate[s] the extent to which translation can generate exciting innovations in poetic techniques and forms." --Pleiades

"An essential resource for US teachers and students of poetry as we move away from the study of an isolated American poetry and toward the teaching of a more inclusive poetry of the Americas...The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry serves as a compass for those of us interested in remapping the hemisphere to reflect our actual connections and relations in and across languages." --Jacket 2

"Innovative...This compelling anthology advances our understanding of the genre and belongs on our shelves and in our classrooms." --World Literature Today

"Incredibly encompassing." --Coldfront

Library Journal
Stretching back to the pre-Columbian era, this bilingual anthology presents in chronological order by birth date over 125 poets from throughout Latin America. Editors Vicuna, a poet and editor, and Livon-Grosman (Hispanic studies, Boston Coll.) sacrifice comprehensiveness for content: many poets who are not household names are included at the expense of fewer poems by heavyweights like Borges, Neruda, and Paz. Modern poets are emphasized over older ones, but women and indigenous poets are heavily represented. Each entry is prefaced with a brief biographical sketch and a list of major works; unfortunately, the poems do not indicate provenance. Many poems appear in English here for the first time; some of the translations were commissioned specifically for this work, but some other translators (e.g., Samuel Beckett, Elizabeth Bishop, and Allen Ginsberg ) are famous in their own right. The English translation is printed in verse, but the original is displayed oddly in run-on prose lines, with verses separated by slashes. Two introductions, one by each editor, present an overview of mestizo poetics and a general historical overview. VERDICT The most comprehensive, representative, and up-to-date survey in English of Latin American poetry, bar none.—Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195124545
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/24/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Cecilia Vicuña is an independent poet, artist, and editor.

Ernesto Livon-Grosman is Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies in the Department of Romance Languages & Cultures at Boston College.

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Table of Contents

An Introduction to Mestizo Poetics by Cecilia Vicuña
A Historical Introduction to Latin American Poetry by Ernesto Livon-Grosman
Anonymous Maya Scribes
Anonymous And All Was Destroyed (excerpt)
Anonymous Codex Cantares Mexicanos (excerpt)
Anonymous The Florentine Codex (excerpt)
Anonymous Inca Quipu
Inca Garcilaso de la Vega Beautiful Maiden
Anonymous Popol Vuh (excerpt)
Alonso de Ercilla y Zuñiga The Araucaniad (excerpt)
Mateo Rosas de Oquendo The Mestizo's Ballade
Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala Cachiuia
Festival of the Inca
Principal Accountant and Treasurer
Priests Who Force the Indians to Weave Cloth
Gregório de Matos Define Your City
An Anatomy of the Ailments Suffered by the Body of the Republic, In All Its Members, and Complete Definition of What Has Ever Been the City of Bahi
To The City of Bahia Laying His Eyes First Upon His City He Sees That Its Merchants Are The Primary Cause of Its Ruin, Because It Longs After Useless and Deceitful Goods
To The Palefaces of Bahia Upon Finding An Arm Taken from the Statue of the Christ Child of Our Lady of the Wonders, Which Was Profaned by Unbelievers at the See of Bahia
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz First Dream (excerpt)
This coloured counterfeit that thou beholdest
Tarry, shadow of my scornful treasure
Diuternal infirmity of hope
Villancico VIII (excerpt)
Anonymous The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel (excerpt)
Anonymous The Book of Chilam Balam of Mani (excerpt)
Anonymous Grant Don Juan V Life
Eight-Line Acrostic
Simón Rodríguez Social Virtues and Illuminations
Anonymous Atahualpa Death Prayer
Bartolomé Hidalgo New Patriotic Dialogue
Francisco Acuña de Figueroa To the Most Holy Virgin Mary
Multiform Salve (excerpt)
Alphabetical-Numerical Prophecy
Hilario Ascasubi The Slippery One
Antonio Gonçalves Dias Song of Exile
Manuel Antonio Álvares de Azevedo Intimate Ideas (excerpt)
Sousândrade Wall Street Inferno
José Hernández Martín Fierro (excerpt)
Antonio de Castro Alves The Slave Ship (Tragedy on the Sea) (excerpt)
Rosa Araneda Cueca of the Lady Conductors
José Martí Waking Dream
Love in the City
João da Cruz e Sousa lesbian
José Asunción Silva Ars
Olavo Bilac Portuguese Language
Rubén Darío Love Your Rhythm
The Wandering Song
The Optimist's Salutation
José Juan Tablada Three Haikus: Willow, Cherimoya Tree, Bug
Ideogram Latern (excerpt)
Havana Impressions
José María Eguren The Lady I
The Towers
Joaquín Torres García América Invertida
City With No Name (excerpt)
Julio Herrera y Reissig Lunatic Tertulia
Augusto dos Anjos A Philosopher's Agony
Modern Buddhism
Pedro Kilkerry It's the Silence
Mare Vitae
Delmira Agustini To Eros
The Ineffable
The Intruder
Manuel Bandeira Anthology
My Last Poem
Enriqueta Arvelo Larriva Emotion and Advantage of Proven Depth
All Morning the Wind Has Spoken
Alejandro Xul Solar "This Hades Is Fluid" (excerpt)
Gabriela Mistral Drops of Gall
A Word
The Other Woman
Oswald de Andrade Brazilwood (excerpt)
Cannibal Manifesto (excerpt)
Oliverio Girondo The Mix
My Lumy
Totem Night
You Have to Look For It
Votive Offering
César Vallejo The Black Heralds
Trilce (excerpt)
Black Stone on a White Stone
Telluric and Magnetic
I stayed on to warm up the ink in which I drown
There are days, there comes to me an exuberant, political hunger
Alfonsina Storni World of Seven Wells
An Ear
Vicente Huidobro Minuit
Canto I (excerpt)
Non Serviam
Mario de Andrade Inspiration
A Very Interesting Preface (excerpt)
Pablo de Rokha Song of the Old Male (excerpt)
María Sabina Life (excerpt)
Juan L. Ortiz Village On The River
Gamaliel Churata Khirkhilas (excerpt)
Raúl Bopp Cobra Norato (excerpt)
Luis Palés Matos Prelude in Boricua
Black Dance
Jorge Luis Borges The Golem
The Mythical Founding of Buenos Aires
Borges and I
Rosamel Del Valle Canticle IX
Magic Love
Cecilia Meireles Pyrargyrite Metal, 9
Second Rose Motif
José Gorostiza Death without End (excerpt)
Pauses I
Carlos Drummond de Andrade This Is That
Passion for Measure
In the Middle of the Way
Nicolás Guillén Sensemayá
Son Number 6
My Last Name I, a family elegy
Xavier Villaurrutia L. A. Nocturne: The Angels
Nocturne: Fear
César Moro To Wait
Trafalgar Square
Pablo Neruda Melancholy Inside Families
Walking Around
Right, comrade, it's the hour of the garden
Aurelio Arturo Climate
Omar Cáceres Mansion of Foam
Deserted Blue
The I's Illumination
Visitor Extremes
Martín Adán Aloysius Acker is coming into the world
Without Time Signature, Hurrying Ad Lib/Played Freely, etc.
José Lezama Lima Thoughts On Havana (excerpt)
Fifes, Epiphany, Goats
Death of Time
Enrique Molina The Way It Must Be
Aquatic Rite
Pablo Antonio Cuadra God Creates the Andes
The Myth of the Jaguar
Octavio Paz Sunstone (excerpt)
Joaquín Pasos Warsong of the Things (excerpt)
Nicanor Parra No President's Statue Escapes
The Individual's Soliloquy
Dumb, Sad, and Thoughtful
Goddamn the Empty Sky
Gonzalo Rojas You Shouldn't Copy Pound
Qedeshim Qedeshóth
César Dávila Andrade Bulletin and Elegy of Indian Enslavement (excerpt)
João Cabral do Melo Neto Education by Stone
Tale of an Architect
The Unconfessing Artist
A Knife All Blade
Olga Orozco Variations on Time
The Obstacle
Idea Vilariño Metamorphosis
Poor World
A Guest
I did not love you
Jaime Saenz Anniversary of a Vision (excerpt)
Juan Sánchez Peláez From the Fleeting and Permanent (excerpt)
Dark Bond
Jorge Eduardo Eielson María's First Death
Paracas Pyramid Performance, 1974
Quipu, l965
Carlos Martínez Rivas Two Murals: U. S. A. (excerpt)
Gyula Kosice Portable Madi Dictionary (excerpt)
Ernesto Cardenal Death of Thomas Merton (excerpt)
Rosario Castellanos Livid Light
Silence Around An Ancient Stone
Apolônio Alves dos Santos Antônio Conselheiro and the Canudos Rebellion
Blanca Varela I bury my hand in the sand
Final Scene
Family Secret
Currículum Vitae
Décio Pignatari hear the earth drink coca cola
Carlos Germán Belli Tortilla
Sestina of Mea Culpa
I trust now in nothing
Francisco Madariaga Black Colá Jara
The Trivial Jungle
Leonidas Lamborghini The Displaced Applicant (excerpt)
Eva Perón at the Stake (excerpt)
amereida amereida (excerpt)
Edgardo-Antonio Vigo object-poems
Enrique Lihn The Father's Monologue with His Infant Son
Those Who Are Going To Die Can't Wait
Haroldo de Campos The Ear's Pavillion
Born and Dies
Galáxias (excerpt)
Juan Gelman CDLVI
Augusto de Campos eggtangle
Eye for an Eye
To Put On A Mask
Jaime Jaramillo Escobar The Leather Telegram
Lorenzo Ramos The Foreigners Lie About What They Want
Antonio Martínez The Words of Pa'i Antonio
Aurelio Frez Mother, here we are
Alfredo Silva Estrada Grape Harvests
The Dwellers (excerpt)
Gerardo Deniz Meditate
The authoritarian school and how a respectable literary genre was born
Romulus Augustulus
Isabel Fraire A Moment Captured by a Japanese Painter of the 18th Century Seen in a Moment of the 20th Century in a London Gallery
Housing Complex
Sergio Mondragón Exodus of the Gods (excerpt)
Susana Thénon Poem With Simultaneous Translation Spanish-Spanish
Nuptial Song
Roque Dalton No, I Wasn't Always This Ugly
The Country - Sir Thomas
Toadstools VIII
Alejandra Pizarnik Nocturnal Singer
From the Other Side
From a Copy of "Les Chants de Maldoror"
Useless Frontiers
Oscar Hahn Restriction of Nocturnal Movements
Conjurer's Tract
Vision of Hiroshima
Eugenio Montejo The World's Practice
A Bird's Earthness
Good-bye to the 20th Century
Osvaldo Lamborghini The Most Amusing Song of the Devil (a prose work half in verse, no joke) (excerpt)
José Kozer A Meeting at Cho-Fu-Sa
Kafka Reborn
Rodolfo Hinostroza Contra Natura (excerpt)
Antonio Cisneros The Dead Conquerors
Poem on Jonah and the Disalienated
Appendix to the Poem on Jonah and the Disalienated
Juan Luis Martínez Remarks Concerning the Exuberant Activity of "Phonetic Confabulation"or "The Language of Birds" in Works by Jean-Pierre Brisset, Raymond Roussel, Marcel Duchamp, and Others
Breathing House, Almost the (Author's) Little House
The New Novel: The Poet as Superman
The Structure of Political Thought
Gloria Gervitz Migrations (excerpt)
Soledad Fariña Everything Calm, Immobile
Which To Paint Which First
Not Time Yet
Where The Yellow
Paulo Leminski Catatau (excerpt)
Metamorphosis (excerpt)
María Mercedes Carranza Homeland
Heels Over Head with Life
I'm Afraid
Canto 17: Cumbal
Canto 18: Soacha
Canto 3: Dabeiba
Arturo Carrera It Wasn't in Sicily, It Wasn't Here (excerpt)
Cecilia Vicuña Physical Portrait con-con
Quipu de Londres
Instan (excerpt)
Wilson Bueno Mar Paraguayo (excerpt)
Néstor Perlongher Tuyú
Mme. Schoklender
Daisy Zamora Radio Sandino (excerpt)
Raúl Zurita Inri (excerpt)
Desert Writing
Sky Writing
Coral Bracho Water of Jellyfish
Its dark force curving
Give me, earth, your night
Elvira Hernández The Flag of Chile (excerpt)
Reina María Rodríguez Twilight's Idol
Emeterrio Cerro Miss Murkiness (excerpt)
Jorge Santiago Perednik Shock of the Lenders (excerpt)
Humbert Ak'abal Stones
Elikura Chihuailaf I Still Want To Dream In This Valley
For I Am The Power Of The Nameless
Myriam Moscona Black Ivory (excerpt)
Josely Vianna Baptista A Sound of Ancient, Faded Flows
The Grail
Xunka' Utz'utz' Ni' Prayer So My Man Won't Have to Cross The Line
Loxa Jiménes Lopes Pexi Kola Magic
María Ernándes Kokov The Talking Box Speaks
Tonik Nibak Dance of the Perfumed Woman
Cristina Rivera-Garza Third World (excerpt)
Juan Gregorio Regino Cantares
List of Translators
Source Notes

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