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 translationsby Jerome Rothenberg, W.S. Merwin, and Forrest Gander, and othersspecially 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.
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