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Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry

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Not since 1959 when Octavio Paz and Samuel Beckett published An Anthology of Mexican Poetry, has there been a collection which so thoroughly examines the poetry of the country known for being "too far from God and too close to the United States." Yet, as Elliott Weinberger writes in his introduction, "Americans know everything about God, but next to nothing about Mexico—fe Not since 1959 when Octavio Paz and Samuel Beckett published An Anthology of Mexican Poetry, has there been a collection which so thoroughly examines the poetry of the country known for being "too far from God and too close to the United States." Yet, as Elliott Weinberger writes in his introduction, "Americans know everything about God, but next to nothing about Mexico—few know that Mexico-particularly when compared to the United States-is a kind of paradise for poets." Reversible Monuments introduces this "paradise" to American readers. It includes major international writers like Alberto Blanco, Pura Lopez Colome, and David Huerta, as well as exciting younger poets, and poets whose work, while well-known in the Spanish-speaking world has not yet seen publication in English. The twenty-five poets represented are as diverse as their American counterparts: They are urban, educated, younger, well travelled, aware of their literary heritage, and include Buddhists, feminists, Jewish poets, experimental poets, darkly brooding poets, and playfully entertaining poets. Until the Poem Remains by Francisco Hernandez Strip away all the flesh until the poem remains with the sonorous darkness of bone. And smooth the bone, polish it, sharpen it until it becomes such a fine needle, that it pierces the tongue without pain though blood chokes the throat. Reversible Monuments includes a healthy bilingual selection by each poet, features an introduction by Elliott Weinberger, and gathers the work of esteemed translators alongside that of younger translators. It also includes biographies of the poets, notes on the poetry, and an extensive bibliography of contemporary Mexican poetry.


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Not since 1959 when Octavio Paz and Samuel Beckett published An Anthology of Mexican Poetry, has there been a collection which so thoroughly examines the poetry of the country known for being "too far from God and too close to the United States." Yet, as Elliott Weinberger writes in his introduction, "Americans know everything about God, but next to nothing about Mexico—fe Not since 1959 when Octavio Paz and Samuel Beckett published An Anthology of Mexican Poetry, has there been a collection which so thoroughly examines the poetry of the country known for being "too far from God and too close to the United States." Yet, as Elliott Weinberger writes in his introduction, "Americans know everything about God, but next to nothing about Mexico—few know that Mexico-particularly when compared to the United States-is a kind of paradise for poets." Reversible Monuments introduces this "paradise" to American readers. It includes major international writers like Alberto Blanco, Pura Lopez Colome, and David Huerta, as well as exciting younger poets, and poets whose work, while well-known in the Spanish-speaking world has not yet seen publication in English. The twenty-five poets represented are as diverse as their American counterparts: They are urban, educated, younger, well travelled, aware of their literary heritage, and include Buddhists, feminists, Jewish poets, experimental poets, darkly brooding poets, and playfully entertaining poets. Until the Poem Remains by Francisco Hernandez Strip away all the flesh until the poem remains with the sonorous darkness of bone. And smooth the bone, polish it, sharpen it until it becomes such a fine needle, that it pierces the tongue without pain though blood chokes the throat. Reversible Monuments includes a healthy bilingual selection by each poet, features an introduction by Elliott Weinberger, and gathers the work of esteemed translators alongside that of younger translators. It also includes biographies of the poets, notes on the poetry, and an extensive bibliography of contemporary Mexican poetry.

30 review for Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Edita

    our dreams do not meet, their memories cross like the wakes left by two ships. * Nostalgia hangs its hammock within my heart * On the beach words of salt and spray sketch themselves. The sea’s waves name the earth. * Evening falls and you finish your trip. Tomorrow when you go I will look for you in the emptiness you left everywhere. And if the day is clear, perhaps I may get to see the two volcanoes forever covered with snow, like the silence that envelops two bodies that gazed at each other without e our dreams do not meet, their memories cross like the wakes left by two ships. * Nostalgia hangs its hammock within my heart * On the beach words of salt and spray sketch themselves. The sea’s waves name the earth. * Evening falls and you finish your trip. Tomorrow when you go I will look for you in the emptiness you left everywhere. And if the day is clear, perhaps I may get to see the two volcanoes forever covered with snow, like the silence that envelops two bodies that gazed at each other without even touching.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David

    This is a masterpiece of contemporary Mexican poetry. Kudos to the editors for such a vast range of work - from more traditional works to visually challenging material, to indigenous poets writing about their issues of living in a duel Spanish world to Heriberto Yepez's gritty realism of the life of Tijuana streets. There are funny poems, spiritual poems and visually stunning poems in this collection. The best part is the book is trilingual and it was great to read the works in their original la This is a masterpiece of contemporary Mexican poetry. Kudos to the editors for such a vast range of work - from more traditional works to visually challenging material, to indigenous poets writing about their issues of living in a duel Spanish world to Heriberto Yepez's gritty realism of the life of Tijuana streets. There are funny poems, spiritual poems and visually stunning poems in this collection. The best part is the book is trilingual and it was great to read the works in their original language. Of the many poets, here is a selection of the ones that struck me best: Navidad by Gerardo Deniz is about a Santa who gets stuck in a flue. The people try to give him food but he gets fatter,drink of rum and no luck, an octopus who comes up only with the hat. Santa causes the smoke to back up in the Mexican apartments and then they get annoyed. Sadly he perishes and the bones fall down releasing him. The punch line is " what do we tell the kids?" I laughed as it was so perverse. After visiting Mexico at Christmas time and with all their "fake Santas" and trees without snow, things just seemed so surreal. Maybe this wasn't a funny story after all, Mexican Gothic. Migraciones by Gloria Gervitz is full of rich imagery and beatiful language. Her reflections about life are poignant and moving. A real treat. De como Robert Schuman fue vencido por lls demonios (On how Robert Schuman was defeated by Demons) by Francisco Hearnandez. I loved this poem in 24 verses. The story of Robert Schuman and his love for Clara ( and Clara's disturbed father) is retold with a musical sensibility and one can feel the pain and disturbing outcome of their love in this massive tale. His language has a real bite and some of the repeated phrases reinforce the tale. David Huerta, the only one who I have heard of, left me a bit baffled and impressed at the same time. There were several love poems that were almost painful to read. The two I liked were The Cauldron and Light from Parallel Worlds. His Spanish flows and is very evocative. Rabit-foot effectiveness... By Eduardo Milan is a wonderful query into why is only the foot called lucky, when the whole rabbit ended its luck to pass on this "good luck". Nice piece to ponder. I loved the deep literary poeams of Tedi Lopez Mills and the playful words of Ernesto Lumbreras. His poem El cielo (The Sky) is a witty and masterful reflection of building a wall to make "good fences make good neighbors" while acknowdeging the sky is being lost to the wall. A nice visual pun.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lorena

    This collection is so important. It's important because it is bilingual, the rare opportunity for English speakers to get a look inside the Mexican psyche. And its important because it contains such a large cross section of poets. Of course there are many more. There is a whole world of poetry in Mexico (where I live), and there is no more intimate way of getting to know a people. This book has an honored place on my bookshelf, and I read from it in quiet moments. Highly recommended. This collection is so important. It's important because it is bilingual, the rare opportunity for English speakers to get a look inside the Mexican psyche. And its important because it contains such a large cross section of poets. Of course there are many more. There is a whole world of poetry in Mexico (where I live), and there is no more intimate way of getting to know a people. This book has an honored place on my bookshelf, and I read from it in quiet moments. Highly recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    this book is amazing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    What an accomplishment. There are wonderful poets here and the translations truly do them justice. This book took my breath away. I have given many copies as gifts.

  6. 5 out of 5

    mark mendoza

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ray

  8. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  10. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Mitchell

  11. 4 out of 5

    Allison HedgeCoke

  12. 4 out of 5

    C

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carolinerose

  14. 5 out of 5

    LISA

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    861.6408 R452 2002

  16. 4 out of 5

    Robert Johnson

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sergio Navarro

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura Knight

  19. 5 out of 5

    Greg

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ed Skoog

  21. 4 out of 5

    DELUBYO

  22. 4 out of 5

    Peycho Kanev

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joel Freedman

  25. 5 out of 5

    J Y

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  27. 5 out of 5

    Donna Gold

  28. 5 out of 5

    Robert Sweet

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steven Felicelli

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cristián Gómez

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