Unthinkable Tenderness: Selected Poems

Overview


Juan Gelman is Argentina's leading poet, but his work has been almost unknown in the United States until now. In 2000, he received the Juan Rulfo Award, one most important literary awards in the Spanish-speaking world, and in 2007, he received the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's top literary prize. With this selection, chosen and superbly translated by Joan Lindgren, Gelman's lush and visceral poetry comes alive for an English-speaking readership.

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Overview


Juan Gelman is Argentina's leading poet, but his work has been almost unknown in the United States until now. In 2000, he received the Juan Rulfo Award, one most important literary awards in the Spanish-speaking world, and in 2007, he received the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's top literary prize. With this selection, chosen and superbly translated by Joan Lindgren, Gelman's lush and visceral poetry comes alive for an English-speaking readership.

Gelman is a stark witness to the brutality of power, and his poems reflect his suffering at the hands of the Argentine military government (his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchild were "disappeared"). While political idealism infuses his writing, he is not a servant of ideology. Themes of family, exile, the tango, Argentina, and Gelman's Jewish heritage resonate throughout his poems, works that celebrate life while confronting heartache and loss.

"remembering their little bones when it rains/ the compañerosstomp on darkness/set forth from death/wander the tender night/I hear their voices like living faces"—from Remembering Their Little Bones

"English-only collection includes poems from the two volumes of Gelman's Interrupciones plus other material, covering work of last 30 years. Moving, consistently translated selection emphasizes poet's response to dictatorship, exile, and disappearance. Useful editor's preface; chronological and biographical appendices. Some notes and explanation of translator's approach to Gelman's work"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Chosen from the two collections of verse that Gelman wrote from 1971 to the mid-1980s, these poems serve to introduce U.S. readers to this leading Argentian poet. (His works have not been widely available here before.) Their themes arise from Gelman's own experiences: his Jewish heritage, the disappearance of his son and daughter-in-law during Argentina's Dirty War, his 20-year exile in Europe (he now lives in Mexico City), and his leftist revolutionary ideas. Imbued with anger and sorrow, often together ("I ate my portion of rage and sadness"), yet also at times poignant and brutal, as when recalling political imprisonment, these polymetric poems are capped by the heart-wrenching "Poem to My Mother" and the epistolary epilog to his unborn grandchild. A vivid testimony of an unsung voice who seeks in poetry the answer to and means of coping with suffering and with life. [In March, Gelman was awarded the national poetry prize of Argentina, the equivalent of U.S. Poet Laureate.Ed.]Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520205871
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author


Born in Buenos Aires in 1930, Juan Gelman went into political exile in Europe in 1976, where he remained until 1989. Today he lives in Mexico City. Joan Lindgren spent seven years studying Gelman's work and made six visits to Argentina while doing her research.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Editor's Preface
From Interruptions I 1
Foreword 3
Relations 7
Somata 9
Confidences 10
Noises 11
Clarities 12
Facts 13
What They Don't Know 15
Deaths 16
Graces 17
Sheets 18
Arte Poetica 19
Notes 21
Note I 23
Note XII 24
Note XVII 25
Note XVIII 26
Note XX 27
Note XXI 28
Note XXV 29
Open Letter 31
XIII 33
XVII 34
So Gently 37
Alone 39
Still Harboring 40
Use the Poor 41
Killing the General Defeat 42
Remembering Their Little Bones 43
They Are Waiting 44
They Wait 45
Commentaries 47
Commentary I (saint teresa) 49
Commentary VI (saint teresa) 50
Commentary XX 51
From Interruptions II 53
Under Foreign Rain (Footnotes to Defeat) 55
I 57
II 59
III 60
IV 61
V 62
VI 63
VII 64
VIII 65
IX 66
X 67
XI 68
XII 69
XIV 70
XV 71
XVI 72
XVII 73
XVIII 74
XIX 75
XX 77
XXI 78
XXII 80
XXIII 81
XXIV 82
XXV 83
XXVI 84
Southward 87
The Table 89
Somewhere Else 91
You Are 93
Southward 94
Flights 96
The Poems of Jose Galvan 97
Southern Latitudes 99
Nightingales Again 100
I, Too, Write Stories 102
Other Writing 104
Kingdoms 105
The End 107
Cherries 109
The Poems of Julio Greco 111
Truths 113
Women 117
On Poetry 119
They Say ... 121
Literatures 123
Poetry Forever 125
Sayings 127
Poetry Once More 129
Aunt Fran's Bunuelos 131
Certain Flights 133
Dampnesses 136
Pharmacies 138
Tides 141
An Exhibition of a Few Paintings 143
The Beauty of All Creation 146
Com/positions 149
Exergue 151
The Cradle 152
Psalm 154
What Will Come to Pass 155
The Expulsed 156
The Prisoner 157
Song 158
The Battle 159
In Prison 160
That 161
Rain 163
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