STOLEN VERSES by Oscar Hahn

STOLEN VERSES

and Other Poems
by & translated by
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Mexican poet Octavio Paz once remarked that in Chile there is a poet under every rock. On rare occasions one of these

poets emerges from beneath a very strange-looking boulder indeed, with the power and talent to affect a generation. Hahn’s new

book—ably translated by Hoggard—seems to be the work of such a genius. A survivor of Augusto Pinochet’s jails, Hahn

published Arte de Morir (The Art of Dying) in Buenos Aires in 1977 and was immediately praised as the premier poet of his

generation by several Latin American critics. Today, Hahn is known as one of the masters of postmodernism in Chile. With his

metaphysical and ironic poem "Read My Defective Verses Lord," he invokes not only the voices of the English metaphysical

poets John Donne and George Herbert but also the Spanish spirituality of Don Luis de Gongora and the mystical songs of Saint

John of the Cross. In such poems as "Oral Hygiene," "Nietzsche in the Sanatorium at Basel," "Rocking Chair," and "At the Beach

of the Unconscious," he takes ordinary situations and images and implants within them a kind of surrealist grenade that explodes

when least expected—and with striking effect. Hahn also builds upon the Chilean tradition of Vicente Huidobro’s fantastical poetic

experiments and Pablo Neruda’s desperate verses.

A worthy find for Latin American-poetry enthusiasts.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8101-1778-9
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Northwestern Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2000