Poemas Militantes by Raul Zurita, translated by Mariela Griffor

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Poemas Militantes by Raul Zurita, translated by Mariela Griffor

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Raúl Zurita, winner of the Chilean National Poetry Prize, is arguably the most powerful poetic voice in Latin America today. His compelling rhythms combine epic and lyric tones, public and the most intimate themes of grief and joy. Despite having been arrested and tortured under the Pinochet dictatorship, Zurita’s prevailing attitude in his Dantesque trilogy Purgatorio (Purgatory), Anteparaíso (Anteparadise), and La Vida Nueva (The New Life) is a deep love for everything and everyone in the world. His work is part of a revolution in poetic language that began in the 1970s and sought to find new forms of expression, radically different from those of Pablo Neruda. The challenge was to confront the contemporary epoch, with its particular forms of violence, including violence done to language. His book, INRI (Marick Press, 2009, translated by William Rowe), is distinctive in that it does not speak out of individual sorrow—though this is not missing—but seeks, rather a new space, out of which love might be asserted as prime human reality, a space which might give birth to a different type of society.

 

Mariela Griffor was born in the city of Concepcion in southern Chile. She is the author of Exiliana (2007) and House (2007) and founder of Marick Press. Her work has appeared in Passages North, Cerise Press, Washington Square Review, Poetry International and others. Mariela holds a B.A in Journalism from Wayne State University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New England College. Her forthcoming publications include the translations: Canto General by Pablo Neruda (Tupelo Press), and  Bye, have a good time! by Kristina Lugn.