Laura Chalar and Jesse Lee Kercheval, eds.
Trusting on the Wide Air: Poems of Uruguay
A bilingual anthology.
ISBN: 978-1-944884-65-9 (pbk.)
Trusting on the Wide Air: Poems of Uruguay gathers together the best of contemporary and historical Uruguayan poetry. Uruguay has always been a country of poets and this collection gathers generation after generation, with a few visiting poets folded in as well. Together, they take us on a poetic tour of this smallest Spanish speaking country in South America. Poem by poem, they take us through the streets of the old city and the art deco towers of Montevideo, move effortlessly along the long stretches of sand beaches, visit the interior with its quiet towns and rain lashed lakes, watch the day change from a hot summer afternoon to a tango filled night. The anthology’s title comes from the Jules Supervielle’s poem “Montevideo” where “The scent of eucalyptus / Trusted itself to the wide air” and in these poems we smell the eucalyptus and jacaranda, taste the mate and sweet alfajores, hear the candombe drums, feel what it means to be in Uruguay. Trusting on the Wide Air: Poems of Uruguay is an anthology of poetry of place and that place is Uruguay.
Surprising and illuminating, Trusting on the Wide Air: Poems of Uruguay invites the reader to visit this small South American country through its poetry―to listen to its poets, generation on generation, in conversation with one another. A book for poets, poetry lovers, and readers who want to hear the rhythms of carnival, to walk along sand beaches and drink in lonely cafes, to travel to far towns and cities in an instant. I don’t speak Spanish, and I’ve never been to Uruguay. But after reading this wonderful anthology, I feel like I do, and have. A delight!
Ron Wallace, author of Long for this World: New and Selected Poems
For several years now, through the poets they have translated and the anthologies they each have edited, Jesse Lee Kercheval and Laura Chalar have been doing readers in the US an enormous service by bringing us an astonishing range of poetry from Uruguay. Trusting on the Wide Air serves up another welcome helping from this small nation with outsized poetic resources.
Geoffrey Brock, author of Voices Bright Flags, editor of The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry: An Anthology
From semi-tropical landscapes to paved seaside streets, Trusting on the Wide Air renders the mystery and wisdom of life in contemporary Uruguay. For readers who’ve never visited the smallest country in South America, the anthology offers rich insight into a new destination; for those well-versed with the country, the book offers a wide study of Uruguay renewed. Moving from description to declaration, meditation to assertion, Trusting on the Wide Air’s greatest gift, perhaps, is that its poetry transcends the record of landscape and memory. Here is a collection of great variety—of language, subject, and form—in which, remarkably, “Cada uno encuentra un nombre diferente / para esta lugar (Everyone finds a different name / for this place)…”
Shara Lessley, author of The Explosive Expert’s Wife, co-editor of The Poem’s Country: Place & Poetic Practice
A bilingual florilegium of panning gazes, this book both informs and delights in its poetic approach to this small South American nation on the River Plate. More than one hundred years of extraordinary poets fill these pages, whose poems speak of place and, thus, of self. From the long-established resident to the nostalgic emigrant and the enamored visitor, these authors paint with verse their impressions of the music of candombe and the rituals of daily life, the architecture and history of Montevideo with its Parisian splendor and urban squalor, the sea of a river that forms its port and bay, and the flora and fauna that grace its countryside.
Lisa Rose Bradford, translator of Today, by Juan Gelman