Marosa di Giorgio
translated by Jeannine Pitas
Poetry | $22 $17
"Di Giorgio is one who, like Blake, sees angels, explicitly and extravagantly." — G.C. Waldrep, Kenyon Review
Jeannine Pitas's new translation of Marosa di Giorgio, one of Uruguay's most famous poets, includes four book-length poems from the middle of her career: The History of Violets (1965); Magnolia (1968); The War of the Orchards (1971); and The Native Garden is in Flames (1975). Occupying the same childhood landscapes that may be familiar to English-language readers from the previously published volume The History of Violets (UDP, 2010), these serial prose poems explore memory, familial relationships, erotic desire, and war. Marosa di Giorgio uses the recurring setting of a garden as a stage for the ongoing encounter of nature and the supernatural.This is a bilingual edition, with cover art by Basil King.
Oh, to return to the family property, to cross the field where the evening hydrangea lifts its head of smoke and feathers, its murmuring head, its hat of glass and turquoise, where the fierce mushroom appears, the toadstool of poisonous foam, to cross the fields sleeping with my eyes wide open, with my eyes closed, without making any mistake, without tripping over the brambles, the bonfires, the other beings who cross the field dreaming, toward that citadel always visible and lost, to go inside, to eat dinner, to sin furiously.
Unnumbered years, closed off like pastures, fog.Close ˆ
Jeanine Marie Pitas does an excellent job translating di Giorgio, and she should be commended for bringing us the work of such a strange and wonderful poet.—Daniel Borzutzky, Asymptote
It is not strictly the sinister that speaks in these startling texts, but the condensation of the marvelous and the sinister, skillfully noted between dashes, like perfume in a bottle.—Lila Zemborain
There is no doubt at this point that Marosa di Giorgio is one of the greatest Latin American writers of the twentieth century. Her work, which cuts across all genres, has opened up new avenues for poetry and prose alike. Her incomparable world and style both come alive in this translation by Jeannine Marie Pitas.—Mercedes Roffé
Di Giorgio’s delicately extravagant poems loosely weave free verse and traditional Spanish meters to yield an unrestrained movement between the human and the animal, the overtly sensual and the intimately painful, the diaphanous underside of nature and the blunt cruelty of Uruguay’s military dictatorships.—Anna Deeney
There’s a lot at stake here, namely the opportunity for a new generation of American poets to take di Giorgio as a model for wresting the “poetry of witness” away from humanism’s easy faith in testimony and remembering that the imagination is the organ of compassion.—Farid Matuk
To read a poem by di Giorgio is to encounter the exquisite beauty of an exotic plant that may or may not prove lethal. [...] Di Giorgio is one who, like Blake, sees angels, explicitly and extravagantly.—G.C. Waldrep, Kenyon Review