THE DARK ROOM AND OTHER POEMS by Enrique Lihn

THE DARK ROOM AND OTHER POEMS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Introduction to this selection invokes the names of Vicente Huidobro, Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, Nicanor Parra--and to their ranks adds fellow Chilean Enrique Lihn. We've got two words to say about that: Shame. Shame. Since there is bilingual text here, one's first apprehension is shunted toward the amateurish translations (""We stopped rolling around, overcome by a strange feeling of/shame, without managing to come up with another reproach/than the one for finding such an easy victim"") but further persual yields evidence that it's Lihn himself who's that dreadful. Banal quasi-philosophy (""we have all the time in the time ahead/to become the emptiness that we are deep down inside""), sense infelicities (""We all live in darkness, kept apart from each other/ by walls easily crossed but full of false doors""), bludgeon-politics (""No doubt about it;/of the sixty thousand FBI and CIA agents, only a few/ have shown their true faces""). Admittedly, Chile, for certain sectors of the literary scene, is now what Vietnam used to be--a sentimental Eden of bloodied but unbowed genius--but surely we could have found someone better, less insufferable, than Lihn. ""I wrote, was a poor kind/of beggar boggled with pride,/and also put a few readers to death. . . ."" Too true.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1978
Publisher: New Directions