Poetry Bilingual edition
124 pages ISBN 978-1-945720-25-3
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Contra Natura is supported in part by the
Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry.
The work of Rodolfo Hinostroza carries us
into a world of physical & spiritual poetry at its limits & beyond: a
further gift from the Southern continent in line with the likes of Vallejo,
Huidobro & Neruda, & no less powerful for all its late emergence. For those of us who want & need the
fullness of a poetry unfettered, Contra Natura takes its place as one of our
new essentials—a ripeness & overabundance for which I’m truly grateful.
Kinetic, defiant, exuberant, furious,
libidinous, and thunderously alive, Contra Natura is an interdisciplinary tour
de force: a restorative, transformative riot in which world history, current
events, languages, literature, astrology, and mathematics are radiantly fused
in Rodolfo Hinostroza’s kaleidoscopic lens. Anthony Seidman’s translation is a
marvel: attentive, inventive, agleam.
The publication of Contra Natura, by the Peruvian poet Rodolfo Hinostroza in
1971—after having obtained the prestigious Maldoror Prize (1970), awarded by
Barral editions, and judged by Octavio Paz—signified a major transformation in
Latin American poetry, and in Spanish-language poetry at large. The book
arrived with major expectations, garlanded with the same enthusiasm for other
works within the great Western tradition ad
portas of the XXI century. And indeed, Contra Natura—now in its first-ever presentation for the Anglophonic world, as
translated by Anthony Seidman—proves to be the most influential book of poetry
written in Spanish, on both sides of the Atlantic.
"And by then Reality was/ an impetuous phantasmagoria” writes Rodolfo Hinostroza in “King’s Gambit.” The reference is to chess, but the speaker might as well be referring to the way in which the works in this unique collection render the real and the symbolic as inextricably embroiled. The poet of the hitchhiking, Acapulco Gold, “make love not war” generation partakes of the era’s vernacular as much as of the neo-baroque aesthetic. No learned reference is too learned; Karl Marx and astrology happily cohabitate in the same poem. Anthony Seidman’s translations ride the poems’ narrative momentum and are finely attuned to their living dialects. Here, when meeting its crystalline obverse, opacity dazzles.
—Mónica de la Torre
“You know what, Hinostroza? That book is going to change your life. Believe me. Be patient, as that book is going to change your life.”
Opacity’s rhythms dance on the horizon in
Rodolfo Hinostroza’s Contra Natura. An essential work of the poetics of
the Americas, a gift to English.
This lupine councilor, this Scorpio anti
nature, this voluntary exile fomenting his crystalline humors in green fire:
Hinostroza reminds us that “[a]nother world is ours.” Seidman’s new
translucinations of this Peruvian troubadour are vital and explosive. If you
don’t believe that “Life = More Life,” then Hinostroza is certainly not the
poet for you. But if you give stones the benefit of the blood-pour, if you want
to be immersed in androgynous abracadabras, if you understand Beauty as
“[m]ediation / between the visible world and the possible world,” then by all
means, here, kick these horse skulls across the beach with him. Contra Natura:
every nameless thing in History has gathered for the “dialogue of the hundred
veils and what they keep hidden.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rodolfo Hinostroza (Peru, 1941-2016) is one of Latin America’s most celebrated poets from the 20th century. His poetry is noted for its vast sweep which includes astronomy, history, counterculture, alchemy, politics, all rendered in erudite, yet lyrical open sequences. He is recognized as a bridge between Vallejo and contemporary poets from Peru. His most acclaimed collection of poetry, Contra natura (1971), made an impression as indelible as Vallejo’s Trilce, and it won the Maldoror prize in 1970 with none other than Octavio Paz as presiding judge. Other publications by Hinostroza include Consejero del lobo (1964), the novel Fata morgana (1994), and the play Apocalipsis de una noche de verano (1988). He was awarded a Guggenheim in 2009 and Peru’s Premio Nacional de Cultura in 2013 for his life’s work. At the time of his death in 2016, he was revered by younger poets and was a central figure in the literary life of Lima.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Anthony Seidman is a poet and translator from Los Angeles. His translations include the novel For Love of the Dollar by J.M. Servin, and A Stab in the Dark by Facundo Bernal. Seidman’s most recent collections of poetry are Cosmic Weather and A Sleepless Man Sits Up In Bed. His poetry, translations, reviews, and short fiction have appeared in such journals and anthologies as New American Writing, Poetry International, World Literature Today, The Bitter Oleander, Modern Poetry in Translation, Ambit, and The Ecopoetry Anthology. Some of his poetry has been translated into French and Spanish, with versions appearing in literary magazines from Mexico, Chile, France, and Argentina.