2017 Titles

Ramón López Velarde - The Soft Land


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Ramón López Velarde - The Soft Land

Translated from Spanish by Jennifer Clement. 
Published May 2017. Paperback, 68pp, 8.5 x 5.5ins, £12.95 / $20
ISBN 9781848615489 [Download a PDF of the introduction to this book here.]
With paintings by Gustavo Monroy & an Introduction by Luis Miguel Aguilar. 
‘La suave patria’ is often regarded as the Mexican national poem, an extraordinary tour-de-force that would change forever the way that poetry would develop in Mexico. It was one of the last works by Ramón López Velarde, who died of pneumonia at the age of only 33 in 1921, and is the work for which he is most remembered today. After his death, his reputation took some time to grow, but his later espousal by major figures such Xavier Villaurrutia and Octavio Paz has ensured that he will remain central to the story of Mexican 20th century literature. The translation offered here, by poet-novelist (and current President of PEN International), Jennifer Clement, is a remarkable achievement and brings the poem into English for a new generation of readers. The poem is contextualised in an essay by the Mexican poet, Luis Miguel Aguilar, and is embellished by a startling suite of paintings by Gustavo Monroy, from his ‘New Screen of the Conquest’—a 21st-century companion work to the original folding ‘Screen of the Conquest and View of the City of Mexico’, an anonymous work from the late 17th century, and which is some 2.1 meters high by 5.5 meters wide. Monroy’s brutally ironic modern equivalent stands in the same museum as the original screen.

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