Ugly Duckling Presse

The Most Foreign Country
The Most Foreign Country

Alejandra Pizarnik

translated by Yvette Siegert

Poetry | $14 $10
Spring 2017
Buy"One of the most fascinating legacies in Argentine literature."
First published in 1955 and now translated for the first time into English, The Most Foreign Country is Alejandra Pizarnik's debut collection. Here, the nineteen-year-old poet begins to explore the themes that will shape and define her vision: the solitude of the poetic self, the longing for artistic depth, and the tenuous nearness of death. By turns probing and playful, bold and difficult, Pizarnik's earliest poems teem with an exuberant desire "to grab hold of everything"  and to create a language that tests the limits of origin, paradox, and death.Excerpt ˇ


Engaging with the Red Shadow

her solitude is mewing
zeros upon zeros
that flow with ingenuous values
a retina before the unknown
the sounding breezes
gather back to prick
her being with smiling
and open teeth
to laugh in the night full of sun
from vigorous participlesClose ˆ

About the Author

Alejandra Pizarnik

Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972) was a leading voice in twentieth-century Latin American poetry. Born in Avellaneda to Russian-Jewish immigrants, Pizarnik studied literature and painting at the University of Buenos Aires and spent most of her life in Argentina. In 1960, she moved to Paris, where she was influenced by the work of the Surrealists and participated in a vibrant expatriate community of writers that included Julio Cortázar and Octavio Paz. Known primarily for her poetry, Pizarnik also wrote experimental fiction, plays, a literary diary, and works of criticism. She died in Buenos Aires, of an apparent drug overdose, at the age of thirty-six.

About the Translator

Yvette Siegert
Yvette Siegert is a poet and translator based in New York. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in 6x6, Aufgabe, Chelsea, Guernica, Stonecutter, St. Petersburg Review, The New Yorker and elsewhere. Recent translation projects include work by Alejandra Pizarnik, Alaíde Foppa, Andrés Pachón Arbeláez, Efraín Huerta and Ana Gorría. For her translations of Alejandra Pizarnik, published by New Directions and Ugly Duckling Presse, she has received recognition from the PEN American Center, the New York State Council for the Arts, the Ubersetzerhaus Looren, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has edited for The New Yorker and currently teaches comparative literature and translation at Baruch College of the City University of New York.

Other Contributors

Cole Heinowitz
Cole Heinowitz is the author of Daily Chimera (Incommunicado, 1995), Stunning in Muscle Hospital (Detour, 2002), The Rubicon (The Rest, 2008), and the critical study Spanish America and British Romanticism, 1777-1826: Rewriting Conquest (Edinburgh University Press, 2010). She is the translator of Mario Santiago Papasquiaro’s Advice from 1 disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger fanatic (Wave, 2010) and Beauty is our spiritual Guernica (Commune Editions, 2015), and Selected Letters of Antonin Artaud (Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs, 2014). Heinowitz is Associate Professor of Literature at Bard College.

Advance Praise

Estranged, helpless and anguished, Pizarnik’s haunting words have garnered a 40-year following, earning her a reputation as perhaps Argentina’s most important female poet.The Argentina Independent