Ugly Duckling Presse

Language Is a Pistol for Two

Mario Montalbetti

translated by Clare Sullivan

Fall 2018
Forthcoming"The foremost maître à penser in recent Latin American poetry."
Language Is a Pistol for Two revolves around the premise that within an economy of supply and demand (such as language) the supply never affects love. Thus, coins and tramways, imaginary Inca poets, and black olives are examined in order to intervene in such a framework and, ultimately, to find something outside of it.

About the Author

Mario Montalbetti
Photo credit: Javier Narváez Estrada
Mario Montalbetti (Lima, Peru, 1953). PhD in Linguistics from MIT. He has taught linguistics at Cornell, UCLA and The University of Arizona. Currently, he is Professor of Linguistics at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. He has published 9 books of poems, the first one Perro Negro (Arybalo) in 1978, the last one Simio meditando (Mangos de hacha) in 2016. His poetry has been published in Mexico (by Aldus) and Spain (Liliputienses). Excerpts of his work have been published in Ecuador (Ruido Blanco) and Argentina (Mansalva). He has also published an essay on language and sense (Cajas, Fondo Editorial PUCP), a collection of essays on language and culture (Cualquier hombre es una isla, Fondo de Cultura Económica) and a study on a poem by Blanca Varela (El más crudo invierno, Fondo de Cultura Económica). He is a member of the Editing Committee of Hueso Húmero, a journal of arts and letters published in Lima, Perú.

About the Translator

Clare Sullivan
Photo credit: Jim Beatty
Clare Sullivan is an Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Louisville. She received an NEA Translation Grant in 2010 to work with Natalia Toledo's poetry. The translation that resulted, The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems (Phoneme 2015), was shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award. Her translation of Alejandro Tarrab's Litane just came out with Cardboard House Press.

Advance Praise

His texts are a constant invitation to leave language behind & discover there is nothing to replace it. What takes the place of that vacuum? Basically lessons on life we call poetry. But he is not so sure. Mario Montalbetti is the foremost maître à penser in recent Latin American poetry, and his proposal about poetry as a form of knowledge is becoming increasingly popular worldwide.—Mirko Lauer, Hueso Húmero Magazine