UNSTILL LIFE: An Introduction to the Spanish Poetry of Latin America by Marlo--Ed. Benedetti
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UNSTILL LIFE: An Introduction to the Spanish Poetry of Latin America

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The title, from a poem by the ""Creationist"" Huidobro, anticipates the impact of this collection of modern poems, the feeling that almost familiar material has been approached from different sensibilities, resulting in acute images and sharpened perspectives. From the Cuban Retamar comes a direct, slightly amused address to ""Girls and Boys, Young Ladies and Gentlemen,"" which denies having any message: ""I have bad news./ I too (probably a very long time ago)/ cleaned my nails, parted my hair to one side, dressed neatly/ and sat down before a bald head./ In vain./ Know then:/ I have nothing to say to you.// Before we take leave of each other: good luck living."" Of a more piercing character is the Peruvian Vallejo's metaphoric offering: ""The rage that shatters a man into children,/ shatters the child into equivalent birds,/ and the bird, then, into small round eggs;/ the rage of the poor/ has one part oil against two parts vinegar."" The better known contributors include Dario, Mistral, Storni, Ibarbourou, Guillen, Neruda and Claribel Alegria (Flakoll) and there are several very recent, less well known poets. Not a comprehensive anthology, it excludes those born before Dario (1867, which means Silva, Marti, del Casal) and more modern poets whose themes seem to the editor inappropriate for this audience (Agustini, Freyre) or whose texture is especially difficult to render (Lugones, Reissig). An introduction in the beginning distinguishes tire larger strains in Spanish-American poetry (overt romanticism, the Modernist movement, social consciousness); the few paragraphs about each poet preceding his work are accompanied by crisp black and white woodcuts which convey the offbeat buoyancy of the poems. Like Resnick's Spanish-American Poetry (1964), the text is bilingual and just over twenty selections are included. This more idiosyncratic and demanding sample, however, offers many practicing poets and just one duplicate, making it a valuable complement--with decorations in character.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1969
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World