This graceful translation and bilingual edition, now in paperback, is the first to bring English readers a representative sampling of the poetry Delmira Agustini published before her untimely death on July 6, 1914 at the age of twenty-seven. Translated by native Uruguayan Alejandro Cáceres and including work from each of Agustini's four published books, Selected Poetry of Delmira Agustini: Poetics of Eros is a response to a resurgent interest not just in the poems but in the passionate and daring woman behind them and the social and political world she inhabited.
Delmira Agustini was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, on October 24, 1886 to wealthy parents of German and Italian descent. She published her first volume of poetry when she was twenty-one and followed with two more in the next six years: the fourth volume was a posthumous publication. Her life was cut short in 1914, when Enrique Job Reyes, her ex-husband, shot her to death and then turned the gun on himself.
Carefully selected for this bilingual, en face edition, the poems collected here track and highlight Agustini's development and strengths as an artist—including her methods of experimentation, first relying on modernista forms and later abandoning them—and her focus on the figure of the male, which she portrays as the crux of devotion and attention but deems ultimately unreachable. Cáceres's introduction presents biographical information and situates Agustini's work and life in a larger political, historical, and literary context, particularly the modernismo movement, whose followers broke linguistic and political ties with the pathos and excesses of romanticism.