Poemas Solares/Solar Poems


A book of cosmological surrealism in the tradition of Octavio Paz, Solar Poems is the first English translation of a single volume of poems by Mexico’s famed poet-diplomat Homero Aridjis, exploring political consciousness as well as visionary psychological themes. President emeritus of International PEN, the prolific poet is Mexico’s ambassador to UNESCO. Poemas solares (Solar Poems) was published in 2005.

Translator George McWhirter won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Catalan...

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A book of cosmological surrealism in the tradition of Octavio Paz, Solar Poems is the first English translation of a single volume of poems by Mexico’s famed poet-diplomat Homero Aridjis, exploring political consciousness as well as visionary psychological themes. President emeritus of International PEN, the prolific poet is Mexico’s ambassador to UNESCO. Poemas solares (Solar Poems) was published in 2005.

Translator George McWhirter won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Catalan Poems, the F.R. Scott Prize for Selected Poems of José Emilio Pacheco, and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for his novel Cage. He is Vancouver’s first Poet Laureate.

"Homero Aridjis is a profoundly ecological poet who has put his fame and time where his principles are, fighting to save the monarch butterflies that winter by the billions in the mountains of his native Michoacán, the sea turtle that lays her eggs on Caribbean beaches, and the gray whale that calves in the lagoons of Baja California. Aridjis writes to the point, with an open eye and a sense of humor . . ." --John Oliver Simon, Poetry Flash

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Editorial Reviews

Apis Teicher
Solar Poems is a profoundly spiritual and uplifting exploration of the self and the universe around us. Aridjis' poetry examines that ever elusive search for a sense of self — both from the intensely intimate reflection on loved ones past and present, and the search for the all encompassing Tao of one's purpose and place in the greater whole.
Pacific Rim Review of Books
Susan Salter Reynolds
The poet goes wandering between worlds — big rubble, palm trees, temples, monoliths, lost Zulu kings. . . . This is the voice of an older poet; someone who has fought for things: 'The labor of dreaming solo was / to harrow the walls and furrow the sea. I cut the traces and I broke free. . . .
Los Angeles Times
Odile Cisneros
Luminous in the clarity of its language and its poetic vision, Solar Poems will dazzle the reader.
Literature and Arts of the Americas
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872865044
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Pages: 269
  • Product dimensions: 6.96 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Aridjis has published thirty-eight books. English translations include novels Persephone, 1492, and The Lord of the Last Days, the poetry collections Blue Spaces and Exaltation of Light, and a bilingual selected poems Eyes to See Otherwise. Poemas Solares (Solar Poems) was published in 2005. President Emeritus of International PEN, he is Mexico's Ambassador to UNESCO. George McWhirter was born in Belfast. His Catalan Poems won Commonwealth Poetry Prize, Selected Poems of José Emilio Pacheco, the F.R. Scott Prize, and his novel Cage, the Ethel Wilson Prize. Recent poetry includes The Incorrection and The Anachronicles. Blackbird Theatre produced his version of Euripides's Hecuba in Vancouver, 2007. He is Vancouver's first Poet Laureate.
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Read an Excerpt

Los poemas solares
Poema al sol
Oh, girasol vidente,
Oh, semilla amarilla,
tu nombre cabe en una sílaba, dijo el poeta
Oh, padre de las mitologías,
el sueño de la luz produce formas,
dijo el pintor
Si el ojo no fuera solar,
¿cómo podría ver la luz?
dijo el poeta
Si la luz no fuera maestra del color,
¿cómo podría pintar sus ojos?
dijo el pintor
En la gran pirámide de Giza el Sol se levanta cada día,
en el Oriente de tus ojos la noche se pone cada mañana,
dijo el poeta
El Sol no se pone en el horizonte,
el Sol no conoce la noche,
el que oscurece es el ojo, dijo el pintor
No necesito ir a ver las glorias del Sol
en los campos de la tarde, porque el Sol
de las mitologías es el ojo, dijo el poeta
El poema del Sol es infinito:
sólo podemos pintarlo con palabras,
dijo el pintor
Cuando el Sol habla,
todas las criaturas callan,
dijo el poeta
El sol es un Ser,
el Sol es luz presente,
dijo el pintor
La sonrisa infinita de la luz
es un verso que es un poema
que es un universo,
el ojo pensante es un ojo riente,
al ojo que nos piensa lo pintamos
con sus propios rayos, dijo el poeta
El Sol no tiene historia,
el Sol vive en la eternidad del momento,
dijo el pintor
El Sol cara rayada es un jaguar
que recorre el cielo nocturno devorando sombras,
devorando instantes, dijo el poeta
Sol pasado, Sol deificado,
Sol de la mente, Sol demente,
dijo el pintor
La historia de la luz
es una arqueología de los ojos,
dijo el poeta
La luz inteligente viene del Sol
con la temperatura exacta para pintar tus manos,
dijo el pintor
Una figura que proyecta sombra, una silueta
insustancial que te sigue por la calle, eso soy yo,
dijo el poeta
Qué es una sombra:
un esplendor en la espalda
y una mancha en el suelo, dijo el pintor
El Sol es la forma de su amor,
el hombre lleva en los ojos la forma de ese amor,
al final de su vida, el hombre será el espectro de ese amor
Al final del día, entre las sombras largas de la tarde,
el hombre extrañará su pasado esplendor,
dijo el pintor
Dios no existe, dijo un tercero,
Dios vive en tu cabeza,
si no piensas en Él, morirá fuera de tu mente
Si Dios no existe, ¿quién existe?
¿Tu sombra?, ¿tu espectro?, ¿tu olvido?,
replicó el pintor
Dios no existe,
existe un enorme vacío,
dijo el tercero
Si existe un enorme vacío,
existe ya algo,
dijo el poeta
Ésas son
puras palabras,
dijo el tercero
Si Dios no existiera,
tus palabras no existirían,
dijo el poeta
Antes del alba, mis ojos
ya se habían figurado las criaturas que estás viendo
en este momento bajo el Sol, dijo el pintor
Todo comenzó con una imagen,
todo comenzó con la palabra luz,
dijo el poeta
Cuando los perros ladran a la Luna
en realidad están ladrando al Sol,
dijo el pintor
En nuestra mente cabe el universo en expansión,
en nuestra mente en expansión caben todos los astros:
nuestra mente es un verso hacia el universo, dijo el poeta
Me di cuenta de mi propia vejez
cuando vi el primer pelo blanco en la cabeza de mi hija,
dijo el pintor
Deber de hombre,
no estar triste bajo la luz,
dijo el poeta
La enciclopedia del Sol es mi libro de cabecera.
La enciclopedia del Sol es un ojo que brilla
a través de las tapas cerradas, dijo el pintor
En los rincones de mi biblioteca,
oculto entre miles de palabras,
el poema del Sol está brillando, dijo el poeta
Es curioso que nunca antes
haya dibujado figuras más deslumbrantes
con los rayos de luz tenue, dijo el pintor
¿No es curioso que el poema del Sol
llegue de noche y con los ojos cerrados?,
dijo el poeta
El carácter volátil de las criaturas humanas,
la condición entregada de las cosas del mundo,
se las debemos al Sol, dijo el pintor
De tanto verlo, mis ojos se han vuelto solares,
de tanto nombrarlo mis palabras fulguran,
dijo el poeta
De tanto pintar sus ojos me he quedado ciego,
sus imágenes queman mis dedos,
dijo el pintor
La pintura del Sol
la acabarán los otros,
dijo el poeta
El poema del Sol
comenzó hace mucho tiempo,
dijo el pintor
Oh, sílaba amarilla,
oh, girasol vidente,
dijo el poeta

Medianoche domingo-lunes
23-24 de febrero de 2003

Poem to the sun
Oh, sunflower seer,
oh, yellow seed,
your name fits in a single syllable, said the poet
Oh, father of mythologies,
the dream of light produces shapes,
said the painter
If the eye were not solar,
how would it be able to see the light,
said the poet
If the light were not a master of color,
how would it be able to paint her eyes,
said the painter
The Sun rises on the Great Pyramid of Giza every day,
night sets in the Orient of your eyes every morning,
said the poet
The Sun doesn't set on the horizon,
the Sun knows no night,
what darkens is the eye, said the painter
I don't need to go into afternoon fields
to see the glories of the Sun for the Sun
of mythologies is the eye, said the poet
The Sun's poem is infinite,
we can only paint it in words,
said the painter
Whenever the Sun speaks,
every creature goes quiet,
said the poet
The Sun is a Being,
the Sun is light present,
said the painter
Light's infinite smile
is a verse that is a poem
that is a universe,
the thinking eye is a laughing eye,
the eye that thinks us we paint
with its own rays, said the poet
The Sun has no history,
the Sun lives in the eternity of the moment,
said the painter
The stripe-faced Sun is a jaguar
running through the night sky devouring shadows,
devouring instants, said the poet
The Sun erstwhile. A deified Sun.
The Sun in the mind. A demented Sun,
said the painter
Light's history
is an archaeology of eyes,
said the poet
Intelligent light comes from the Sun
at the right temperature to paint your hands,
said the painter
The figure projecting shadow, the insubstantial
silhouette following you down the street, that's me,
said the poet
What is a shadow,
a splendor on one's back
and a blot on the ground, said the painter
The Sun is the shape of its love,
man bears in his eyes the shape of that love,
at life's end man will be the specter of that love
At the end of the day, amid the long evening shadows,
man will miss his past splendor,
said the painter
God doesn't exist, said a third party,
God lives inside your head.
If you don't think of Him, He dies, out of mind
If God doesn't exist, who does?
Your shadow? your ghost? your un-memory?
replied the painter
God doesn't exist,
a gigantic vacuum exists,
said the third party
If a gigantic vacuum exists,
something does exist then,
said the poet
Those are
nothing but words,
said the third party
If God didn't exist,
neither would your words,
said the poet
Before dawn, my eyes
had already devised the creatures you see
at this moment under the Sun, said the painter
Everything began with an image,
everything began with the word light,
said the poet
When dogs bark at the Moon,
they're actually barking at the Sun,
said the painter
The expanding universe fits into our minds,
into our expanding minds fit all the stars,
our mind is a verse towards the universe, said the poet
I was struck by my own old age
the moment I saw the first gray hair on my daughter's head,
said the painter
Man's task:
to not be sad under the light,
said the poet
The encyclopedia of the Sun is my bedside book.
The Sun's encyclopedia is an eye blazing
through the closed covers, said the painter
In the corners of my library,
hidden amid thousands of words,
shines the poem of the Sun, said the poet
It's odd I should never before
have drawn such dazzling figures
with rays of faint light, said the painter
Isn't it odd that the poem of the Sun
arrives with the eyes closed and at night?
said the poet
The volatile nature of human beings,
the giving nature of things in this world
we owe to the Sun, said the painter
From seeing it so much my eyes have grown solar,
from so much naming of it my words glow,
said the poet
From painting its eyes so much I have been rendered blind,
its images sear my fingers,
said the painter
The Sun's portrait,
others will put the finish to,
said the poet
The poem of the Sun
began a long time ago,
said the poet
Oh, sunflower seer,
oh, yellow syllable,
said the poet

Midnight, Sunday-Monday,
February 23-24, 2003.

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Table of Contents

Poem to the sun 17
Variations on a solar theme 31
Solar images 39
Solar moments 43
The jaguar 49
The hunt for the red jaguar 55
Old Sun, I salute you 63
Meeting with my father in the orchard 71
Meeting my mother in the old kitchen 73
The ghost of a dog 75
Rufus' soliloquy 79
Like a dog 83
The Balmori cinema 85
Mina Harker's Diary 89
The desire to be oneself 93
Self-portrait of a young man out walking in his past 95
Train 99
The sacred couple 101
Through the green door 103
The double 105
Recommendations for life as a ghost 107
The mysterious Bermuda Triangle 109
The reality of the sun 111
The ghost of the one you love 113
Dogs running on the beach 115
Landscapes of nothing 117
Let us unimagine Lethe 119
In a valley I saw the dead shades 121
Black grass 123
The Fates 125
Powers light has 129
Dreaming 131
Light pulsing on the rails 133
Is it not that light? 135
Four ladders 137
The poem of light 139
Antibucolic 143
The angel inspiration 145
Earthquake 147
Blackout 2 149
The jungle aflame 151
Palm tree 153
The stone eye 155
Prickly pears 157
Rock cactus 159
Look, Maria 161
Light's knife 163
The god 165
Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacán 167
Lake Ohrid 169
The hunter of the perfect kill 171
Love imperfect things 177
Baudelaire 179
At nightfall Draculas by the hundred 181
There are no efficacious shadows 183
You are astonished by shadows 185
The shape of lightning bolts 187
Downpour 189
Poems for an insomniac 191
Brief Life 203
Window 217
Look, Maria, the autumn leaves 219
Mosquito of the heavy rains 221
I, Cyclops 223
A temple not in the temple 225
Creed in poetry 227
Place 229
The hungering spider of deep love 233
Spiders or no spiders 239
Genesis 243
An autumn love poem 247
Driver death 249
The white cat of early morning 253
The cat talks 257
Ballad of friends now gone 261
Poema al sol 16
Variaciones sobre un tema solar 30
Imágenes solares 38
Momentos solares 42
El jaguar 48
La cacería del jaguar rojo 54
Yo te saludo, viejo Sol 62
Encuentro con mi padre en la huerta 70
Encuentro con mi madre en la cocina vieja 72
Perro espectral 74
Soliloquio de Rufus 78
Como un perro 82
Cine Balmori 84
Diario de Mina Harker 88
El deseo de ser uno mismo 92
Autorretrato de joven caminando en el pasado 94
Tren 98
La pareja sagrada 100
Por la puerta verde 102
El doble 104
Recomendaciones para la vida fantasmal 106
El misterioso triángulo de las Bermudas 108
La realidad del sol 110
El espectro de tu amada 112
Los perros corriendo por la playa 114
Paisajes de nada 116
Desimaginemos el Leteo 118
En un valle vi las sombras de los muertos 120
Pasto negro 122
Las Parcas 124
Poderes de la luz 128
Soñando 130
Latidos de luz sobre los rieles 132
¿No es esa luz 134
Cuatro escaleras 136
Poema de la luz 138
Antibucólica 142
El ángel de la inspiración 144
Terremoto 146
Blackout 2 148
Selva ardiendo 150
Palmera 152
El ojo de piedra 154
Nopales 156
Cacto de las rocas 158
Mira, Maria 160
Navaja de luz 162
El dios 164
Pirámide del Sol, Teotihuacán 166
Lago Ohrid 168
El cazador de la muerte perfecta 170
Amar las cosas inanimadas 176
Baudelaire 178
Al caer la noche cientos de Dráculas 180
No hay sombras eficaces 182
De sombras te asombras 184
La forma de los rayos 186
Diluvio 188
Poemas para un insomnio 190
La vida breve 202
Ventana 216
Mira, María, las hojas del otoño 218
Mosquito de los aguaceros 220
Yo, el cíclope 222
Un templo que no está en el templo 224
Credo en poesía 226
El Lugar 228
La araña hambrienta del amor profundo 232
Arañas o no arañas 238
Génesis 242
Un poema otoñal de amor 246
La muerte chofer 248
La gata blanca de las madrugadas 252
La gata habla 256
Balada de los amigos idos 260

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