24 jul. 2005

Just a brief guide to some major hitters in LA poetry:

Vallejo. (Perú). He's perhaps the greatest Latin American poet of the century. Most people who know what they're talking about think he's superior to Neruda. No "duende." Eshleman's the major translator here.

Neruda. (Chile). A great virtuoso poet of many styles. The "Residencias" are his greatest works. After that, he wrote very unevenly. The most widely translated and popular LA poet.

Borges. (Argentina). He's the great "conservative" poet of the period. He rejected the avant-garde style of his first books. But did he really?

Lezama Lima (Cuba). The founder of the Cuban neo-baroque style. See Ernesto Grosman's recent book of translations (edited by him, with translations by other hands).

Paz. (Mexico). Think of him as the "High Modernist" Eliotic poet of Latin America.


Guillén. Brought Afro-Cuban consciousness to Cuban poetry.

Huidobro (Chile). Fierce enemy of Neruda. Think of him as the doctrinaire "avant-garde" poet, follower and instigator of all the "ismos."

Parra (Chile). Founder of "anti-poesía," a style opposed to the grandiloquence of Neruda. HUGELY influential.

Cardenal. (Nicaragua). Politically active poet associated with the Sandinista movement.


There are many, many more names to be reckoned with: Gelman, Varela, Rojas, Zurita. The ones I list are simply the most "canonical." I've listed them in approximate order of my own preference + overall importance. The Venezualan poets are very good. María Auxiliadora Alvarez, for example. But for some reason no Venezualan poet has achieved quite the contintental or international renombre as the most prominent Mexican, Chilean, Cuban, and Argentine poets.

6 comentarios:

C. Dale dijo...

I still remember reading Parra for the first time. It took the top of my head clean off! Of those you listed, he and Vallejo are my favorites. I keep wanting to like Paz more, but I just cannot connect.

Tony dijo...

Vallejo is awesome.

I keep trying to like Parra more than I do.

C. Dale, would you be up with having drinks with me and Ali Stine in SF this fall??

H. Indican Watts dijo...

What are your thoughts on Darío?

Bryan Newbury dijo...

I second jason: I am happy to see the inclusion of Cardenal, but without Dario...

jose dijo...

One poet whom I enjoy but am surprised few people talk about (at least the ones I know) is Roberto Juarroz.

Jonathan dijo...

I started (chrononlogically) with Huidobro. Thus I left out Darío as belonging to another period. There's no point in reading Darío in translation, anyway. Juarroz is very interesting.