When Pedro Salinas’s 1933 collection of love poems, La voz a ti debida, was introduced to American audiences in Willis Barnstone’s 1975 English translation, it was widely regarded as the greatest sequence of love poems written by a man or a woman, in any language, in the twentieth century. Now, seventy-five years after its publication, the reputation of the poems and its multifaceted writer remains untarnished. A portrait of their era, the poems, from a writer in exile from his native civil war–torn Spain, now reemerge in our time.
In this new, facing-page bilingual edition, Barnstone has added thirty-six poems written in the form of letters from Salinas to his great love, Katherine Whitmore. Discovered years later, these poems were written during and after the composition of La voz and, though disguised as prose, have all the rhythms and sounds of lineated lyric poetry. Taken together, the poems and letters are a history, a dramatic monologue, and a crushing and inevitable ending to the story of a man consumed by his love and his art.
Bolstered by an elegant foreword by Salinas’s contemporary, the poet Jorge Guillén, and a masterly afterword by the Salinas scholar, Enric Bou, that considers the poet and his legacy for twenty-first century world poetry, Love Poems by Pedro Salinas will be cause for celebration throughout the world of verse and beyond.
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.
With poems selected and translated by one of the preeminent translators of our day, this bilingual collection of 112 sonnets by six Spanish-language masters of the form ranges in time from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries and includes the works of poets from Spanish America as well as poets native to Spain. Willis Barnstone’ s selection of sonnets and the extensive historical and biographical background he supplies serve as a compelling survey of Spanish-language poetry that should be of interest both to lovers of poetry in general and to scholars of Spanish-language literature in particular.
Following an introductory examination of the arrival of the sonnet in Spain and of that nation’ s poetry up to Francisco de Quevedo, Barnstone takes up his six masters in chronological turn, preceding each with an essay that not only presents the sonneteer under discussion but also continues the carefully delineated history of Spanish-language poetry. Consistently engaging and informative and never dull or pedantic, these essays stand alone as appreciations— in the finest sense of that word— of some of the greatest poets ever to write. It is, however, Barnstone’ s subtle, musical, clear, and concise translations that form the heart of this collection. As Barnstone himself says, "In many ways all my life has been some kind of preparation for this volume."