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The Complete Poetry

A Bilingual Edition

César Vallejo (Author), Clayton Eshleman (Translator), Clayton Eshleman (Editor), Mario Vargas Llosa (Foreword), Efrain Kristal (Introduction), Stephen Hart (Contributor), José R. Barcia (Translator) & 2 more

Available worldwide

Paperback, 736 pages
ISBN: 9780520261730
December 2009
$46.95, £37.00
Other Formats Available:
This first translation of the complete poetry of Peruvian César Vallejo (1892-1938) makes available to English speakers one of the greatest achievements of twentieth-century world poetry. Handsomely presented in facing-page Spanish and English, this volume, translated by National Book Award winner Clayton Eshleman, includes the groundbreaking collections The Black Heralds (1918), Trilce (1922), Human Poems (1939), and Spain, Take This Cup from Me (1939).

Vallejo's poetry takes the Spanish language to an unprecedented level of emotional rawness and stretches its grammatical possibilities. Striking against theology with the very rhetoric of the Christian faith, Vallejo's is a tragic vision—perhaps the only one in the canon of Spanish-language literature—in which salvation and sin are one and the same. This edition includes notes on the translation and a fascinating translation memoir that traces Eshleman's long relationship with Vallejo's poetry. An introduction and chronology provide further insights into Vallejo's life and work.
Foreword / Mario Vargas Llosa
Introduction / Efraín Kristal

Los heraldos negros —The Black Heralds
Plafones ágiles — Agile Soffits
Buzos — Divers
De la tierra — Of the Earth
Nostalgias imperiales — Imperial Nostalgias
Truenos — Thunderclaps
Canciones de hogar — Songs of Home
Poemas humanos — Human Poems
España, aparta de mí este cáliz — Spain, Take This Cup from Me

Afterword: A Translation Memoir
Appendix: A Chronology of Vallejo’s Life and Works / Stephen M. Hart
Index of Spanish Titles and First Lines
Index of English Titles and First Lines
Poet and essayist Clayton Eshleman is a recipient of the National Book Award and the Landon Translation Prize. He is the cotranslator of César Vallejo: The Complete Posthumous Poetry and Aimé Césaire: The Collected Poetry, both from UC Press. Among Mario Vargas Llosa's prestigious literary awards are the National Critics' Prize, the Peruvian National Prize, and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize. He is the author of more than twenty books. Efrain Kristal is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. Stephen M. Hart is Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at University College, London.
“Conveys, in all its boldness and vigour, the unmistakable voice of Cesar Vallejo.”—London Review Of Books
“One of the most important books to be published this year.”—Jeff Simon Buffalo News
“A magnificent volume.”—John Wilson Christianity Today/ Books & Culture
“This University of California Press edition of The Complete Poetry goes a long way to making Vallejo and his poetry accessible to English-speaking readers. . . . An essential poet, in a commendable edition—certainly recommended.”—Literary Saloon, Complete Review
“This is a landmark book in the history of modern poetry. To have the complete poems of César Vallejo in one volume changes the course of poetic translation as this huge volume records layers of visionary experiences that often defied interpretation. Vallejo saw the world through the anguished eyes of a hawk and the heart of an elusive spirit. The result was some of the darkest, yet most moving poetry of the twentieth century. The publication of this massive undertaking is important because the entire poetic work of Peruvian César Vallejo, one of the three most important Spanish language poets of the past century (Pablo Neruda and Federico Garcia Lorca being the others) has finally been gathered in an English edition.”—Ray Gonzalez Luna: A Journal Of Poetry & Translation
“It’s always exciting when an important literary figure has his work properly presented . . . and now the despairing, politically charged poetry of César Vallejo, who died in 1938, has finally gotten the treatment it deserves. This authoritative, elegant, and sturdy edition presents the Peruvian modernist's complete poems on opposing pages with their translations, which were rendered by Clayton Eshleman, himself a poet of enormous range and sensitivity. They’re destined to become classics.”—Dan Kois and Lane Brown New York Magazine, “Vulture Blog”
“Vallejo did to the Spanish language what earthquakes did to Spanish masonry. He sent it flying, exploding verbs, twisting nouns, subverting New World Castilian with slang, neologisms, and fragments of Quechua, the indigenous language of the northern Andean region, where he was born. . . . The present volume offers Vallejo's four books in definitive versions.”—Eric Ormsby New York Sun
“Eshleman’s fine translations, produced over forty-three years and presented here alongside the Spanish texts, testify to Vallejo’s innovation—his love of neologism and visual play—and to a poignant, passionate life caught in the maelstrom of Western Europe between the wars.”—New Yorker
“We all need Clayton Eshleman’s new Complete Poetry on our shelves. No one else has done so much, posthumously, for Vallejo, and his passion radiates through the work. Plenty of other editions deserve our time, but Eshleman’s is a much-needed milestone.”—John Cotter Open Letters
“Today he [Vallejo] has a place among the finest of his century's poets. And now we have this spectacular edition of his complete poetry, edited and translated, also spectacularly, by poet Clayton Eshleman. . . . Eshleman has given the world an inestimable gift in bringing all the poems together in such a lucid and fitting translation. . . . It's a great time to be a reader, because the world of poetry just got a little bigger. Federico García Lorca, César Vallejo, Octavio Paz, Pablo Neruda - one by one, the great 20th-century poets in Spanish come into English. Perhaps now Vallejo's words, trillion and 13, will reach as wide as they should.”—John Timpane Philadelphia Inquirer
“Decades in the making, this faithful and forceful complete text from poet and essayist Eshleman deserves as much notice as any poetic translation can get.”—Publishers Weekly
“Eshleman has long been considered Vallejo’s definitive translator—and without question, Eshleman’s Vallejo simply rings truer.”—John Bradley Rain Taxi
“Eshleman . . . has made a lifework of this project & done so faithfully, even brilliantly.”—Ron Silliman Silliman’s Blog
“This book is a landmark in the history of modern poetry. To have the complete poems of Peruvian Cesar Vallejo—one of the three most important Spanish-language poets of the past century (Pablo Neruda and Frederico Garcia Lorca being the others)—in one volume changes the course of poetic translation. . . . This huge volume records layers of visionary experiences that defy interpretation, and the result is some of the darkest yet most moving poetry of the 20th century.”—The Bloomsbury Review
"César Vallejo is the greatest Catholic poet since Dante—and by Catholic I mean universal."—Thomas Merton, author of The Seven Storey Mountain

"An astonishing accomplishment. Eshleman's translation is writhing with energy."—Forrest Gander, author of Eye Against Eye

"Vallejo has emerged for us as the greatest of the great South American poets—a crucial figure in the making of the total body of twentieth-century world poetry. In Clayton Eshleman's spectacular translation, now complete, this most tangled and most rewarding of poets comes at us full blast and no holds barred. A tribute to the power of the imagination as it manifests through language in a world where meaning has always to be fought for and, as here, retrieved against the odds."—Jerome Rothenberg, co-editor of Poems for the Millennium

"Every great poet should be so lucky as to have a translator as gifted and heroic as Clayton Eshleman, who seems to have gotten inside Vallejo's poems and translated them from the inside out. The result is spectacular, or as one poem says, 'green and happy and dangerous.'"—Ron Padgett, translator of Complete Poems by Blaise Cendrars

"César Vallejo was one of the essential poets of the twentieth century, a heartbreaking and groundbreaking writer, and this gathering of the many years of imaginative work by Clayton Eshleman is one of Vallejo's essential locations in the English tongue."—Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States

"This is a crucially important translation of one of the poetic geniuses of the twentieth century." —William Rowe, author of Poets of Contemporary Latin America: History and the Inner Life

"Only the dauntless perseverance and the love with which the translator has dedicated so many years of his life to this task can explain why the English version conveys, in all its boldness and vigor, the unmistakable voice of César Vallejo."—Mario Vargas Llosa

Shortlist, Griffin Poetry Prize, Griffin Trust

The Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, Academy of American Poets

2008 Canadian and International Shortlist, Griffin Poetry Prize

2007 Book Sense Poetry Top Ten, Book Sense

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