Selected Poems - Poesia Selecta

Overview

A bilingual edition of a leading Caribbean poet in a vivid new translation. Although today Luis Pales Matos is virtually unknown to most American readers, the eminent U.S. poet and writer William Carlos Williams once praised his younger contemporary as "one of the most important poets out of Latin America."

Pales Matos was a native, and lifelong resident, of Puerto Rico. Though he was not black, he became one of the Caribbean's leading advocates of poesia negra (black poetry). ...

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Selected Poems - Poesia selecta

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Overview

A bilingual edition of a leading Caribbean poet in a vivid new translation. Although today Luis Pales Matos is virtually unknown to most American readers, the eminent U.S. poet and writer William Carlos Williams once praised his younger contemporary as "one of the most important poets out of Latin America."

Pales Matos was a native, and lifelong resident, of Puerto Rico. Though he was not black, he became one of the Caribbean's leading advocates of poesia negra (black poetry). His landmark 1937 collection Tuntun de Pasa y Griferia: Poesia Afro-Antillana (Tom-Tom of Kinky Hair and Black Things: Afro-Caribbean Poetry) joyously celebrated the African aspects and sources of Puerto Rico's culture and influenced later generations of writers throughout the Western hemisphere.

Translator Julio Marzan has selected the best of Pales Matos' poems from throughout his career, among them "Prelude in Boricua," "Danza Negra," "Buccaneer Winds," and "Elegy on the Duke of Marmalade." He also provides a helpful glossary of obscure terms and an introduction that locates Pales Matos in the broader cultural context of his contemporaries and poetic influences, including such North American poets as Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, and Vachel Lindsay.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Selected Poems/Poesia Selecta is a bilingual (English/Spanish) anthology showcase the poetry of the pre-eminent Latin American poet Luis Pales Matos. Ably translated by Julio Marzan, this Arte Publico Press edition will aptly serve to introduce a whole new generation to one of Puerto Rico's finest poets. The Well: My soul is like a well of deaf, deep water/on whose solemn, unrippled peace/days wheel, drowning their daily murmur; in the calm that curdles in barren hollows.//Below, the water lays its agony brightness,/a feeble iridescence fermenting in darkness;/lymphs that clot into long black slime/and exude this bloodless blue phosphorescence.//My soul is like a well. The sleepy water landscape/trembling composes itself and disperses,/while below, fathoms, perhaps a thousand years back,/dreams a crouched, misanthropic frog.//At times under the moon's long influence,/the well displays the misty magic of a fable:/a frog's deep croaking echoes in its water,/and it brims with a faint sense of eternity.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction: In the Mingling Grain
Moonlight 3
The Well 5
The Unknown Sorrow 7
Topography 9
from The Animals Within 13
Town 15
Nocturne 17
Prelude in Boricua 21
Festive Song to Be Wept 25
Nanigo to Heaven 35
Numen 43
Black Town 47
Candombe 51
Bombo 55
Black Majesty 59
Black Dance 61
Kalahari 65
Elegy on the Duke of Marmelade 69
Not This, Not That 71
The Gamecock 75
from White Man's Interludes: Islands 77
from White Man's Interludes: Drums 79
Mulatta-Antille 83
Menu 91
Buccaneer Winds 97
Sea Song 107
Shake It Plena 115
Impressionist Sketches 121
Entrance to Time in Three Voices 127
The Killer Pursuit (Inconclusive Poem) 133
The Call 137
Glossary 140
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