Gianuzzi, Valentino

César Vallejo - Complete Later Poems 1923-1938

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César Vallejo - Complete Later Poems 1923-1938

Paperback, 420pp, 8.5x5.5ins 
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Edited, and translated from Spanish, by Michael Smith & Valentino Gianuzzi. Bilingual Spanish/English edition.

César Vallejo is one the greatest Spanish-language poets of the 20th century, his monument being the book-length sequence Trilce (a translation of which was published simultaneously with this volume). After the publication of Trilce he published numerous essays and a didactic novel, but did not collect any of his subsequent poems for book publication. Since his death, these poems have usually been referred to as the Posthumous Poems, or as the Poemas humanos after the title of one of the posthumous volumes.

This volume brings together all of the post-Trilce work that has been identified by the latest scholarship and included in the most recent Peruvian edition of the author's works. The Spanish texts have benefitted from a number of corrections, as compared to previous publications. The poems are presented chronologically — as far as the chronology can be ascertained — and the book offers the most complete version yet of this magnificent body of work. The translations are by the Irish poet, and award-winning translator, Michael Smith, and the Peruvian scholar Valentino Gianuzzi.

Modern Poetry in Translation (in Series 3, No. 5) said of this volume & its companion: "Two major new volumes exploring the work of the great Peruvian poet. Highly recommended."

EM Test in Poetry London said: "Given the scope of their scholarship, Gianuzzi and Smith's [versions] will undoubtedly replace any earlier translations of Vallejo's work and become the standard editions."

John Muckle in PN Review said: "In [his] last, heroic period, Vallejo continually moves between his own experiences and emotions and those of his subjects; he writes at full emotional and intellectual stretch of tragic historical events, with only his own precarious existence and physical strength at his disposal – and his acute empathy, frightening because it always carries a threatened loss of identity, perhaps an actual loss and a personally dangerous confusion as these stories of the wretched pour though him, as indivisible as mingled bones. His fellow-feeling becomes a standing-with, suffering-with, even dying-with the oppressed. Vallejo didn't live much longer than the collapse of Republican Spain whose fighters and battles he memorialised in Poemas Humanos. In 'Spain, Let This Cup Pass From Me', the sufferings of the defeated have shamed his messianism, and, plunged into doubt, he is humbled before a people's crucifixion —

… I don’t know really / what to do, where to place myself; I run, write, clap my hands, / I cry, watch, destroy…/ I swerve against your double-edged speed / my smallness dressed up in greatness!

Vigorous, scrupulous and precise, with a certain impersonality, these translations find a voice for Vallejo's knottiness, spookiness, and complexity of feeling. They are part of an ambitious and laudable project to bring all of Vallejo's poetry together in an English edition."

 

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