Galo Ghigliotto / William Allegrezza, Editors
330 pages: $26.95
Chile is rich with poetic history, yet in the U.S., Chilean poetry is known through only a handful of its great poets. Little recent poetry has been translated, so it is hard for even those enchanted by Chilean poetry to learn more unless they speak Spanish. Many of these living poets are doing fascinating work, creating their own poetry, but also fostering the literary community in Chile and Latin America by starting presses and reading series, by editing journals and by giving presentations. Their energy is apparent in the translations.
This book shows the continuation of Chile’s cultural history, but it also shows the diversity of Chile’s contemporary poetry through lyrical, experimental, political, social, and many other types of poetry.
The Alteration of Silence is a sister project to La Alteración del Silencio: Poesía Norteamericana Reciente, also edited by Galo Ghigliotto and William Allegreza, a book which contained the work of twenty-five contemporary American poets translated into Spanish.
Once, the historian Arnold Toynbee apparently named Chile as a “country of the future,” which Adan Mendez calls “inexplicable” in one of his poems. The explanation, though, might be the moving bounty of poetry continuing to come out of Chile since she birthed “the first Spanish poetic expression known in the Americas… La Araucana by Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga,” as well as Latin America’s first two Nobel Prize winners Gabriela Mistral (1945) and Pablo Neruda (1970). For Chile’s contemporary poets are writing energetic poems with fresh forms, musics and perspectives which deserve wider exposure on the global stage. Chile’s poets are pushing forward the known limits of poetry with compelling poems—if these poems’ invitations to be inhabited are eagerly accepted, they also will share something about the hunger, astonishment, radiance, grief and desire that stews together to form Chile: “The blazing light of the sun /…Pouring heat on my body / Letting it live burning it gradually // Come see this burning.”
—Eileen R. Tabios
This edition places one of Latin America’s most celebrated living poets, Raúl Zurita, alongside writers of younger generations. It successfully does away with the delays that slow or halt inter-American conversations by presenting previously untranslated work in a bilingual format. The translators, many of whom are poets themselves, construct a dynamic portrait of a diverse poetic world. They introduce readers not only to the range and depth of poetry coming out of contemporary Chile, but to the writers who lead cultural conversations around that nation today through parallel work with magazines, presses, and the organization of events.
Contributors to The Alteration of Silence include the following poets:
Adán Méndez, Alejandro Zambra, Alexis Figueroa , Cami lo Brodsky, César Cabello, Elizabeth Neira, Germán Carrasco, Gustavo Barrera , Jaim e Huenún Rodrigo Morales, Soledad Fariña, Sergio Coddou, Victor Hugo Díaz, Yanko González, Carlos Cociña, Christian Formoso, Carlos Soto Román, José Ángel Cuevas, Carmen Berenguer, Elvira Hernández, Malú Urriola, Héctor Hernández Montecinos, Galo Ghigliotto. Carlos Henrickson, Raúl Zurita, Leonardo Sanhueza, Gloria Dünkler, and Jaime Pinos.
Translated by the following translators:
Daniel Borzutzky, Irma Blanco Casey, Stuart Cooke. John Dewitt, Edgar Garcia, Lea Graham, Paul Hendricks, Rebeka Lembo, Ricardo Maldonado, Jose-Luis Moctezuma, J.D. Smith, and Donald Wellman.