Juan Gelman is Argentina's leading poet, but his work has been almost unknown in the United States until now. In 2000, he received the Juan Rulfo Award, one most important literary awards in the Spanish-speaking world, and in 2007, he received the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's top literary prize. With this selection, chosen and superbly translated by Joan Lindgren, Gelman's lush and visceral poetry comes alive for an English-speaking readership.
Gelman is a stark witness to the brutality of power, and his poems reflect his suffering at the hands of the Argentine military government (his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchild were "disappeared"). While political idealism infuses his writing, he is not a servant of ideology. Themes of family, exile, the tango, Argentina, and Gelman's Jewish heritage resonate throughout his poems, works that celebrate life while confronting heartache and loss.
"remembering their little bones when it rains/ the compañerosstomp on darkness/set forth from death/wander the tender night/I hear their voices like living faces"—from Remembering Their Little Bones
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