LITANE – ALEJANDRO TARRAB

Translated from the Spanish by Clare Sullivan

Poetry. Paperback
ISBN 978-1-945720-06-2
Bilingual Edition

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Release date: July 25, 2017
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“From the moment I first came into contact with Alejandro’s poetry, it impressed me—something here is taken to its furthest consequences: a certain overlapping of planes of language and planes of reality that, on the one hand, depict a landscape or a physical environment, and on the other hand, sketch out the distinct nervure of mental landscapes that eventually converge into a space, into a Mexico, into a city that is in some sense derealized.”—RAÚL ZURITA 

Litane is a composite of lucidity, melancholy and raging joy. It resembles a series of teeth, bony beads dropping from the atmosphere in the wake of a large battle, after the decomposition of something important. Its sonic spectrum vibrates; it saturates. It doesn’t take on the flesh of a prayer. Rather, in a lower frequency, it embodies prayer’s underbelly—an unfurling volume. Litane doesn’t flow from hope in The Word, but instead from channels of strength, lesions and verbal anomalies. The title alludes to, and emulates, litany, but its name doesn’t fit into any Western language. It seems like a coarse, crisp break.”—DANIEL BENCOMO

“Litane is full of searches, quests: some are spiritual, looking upward, looking back, always questioning the dubious hierarchies of the sacred. Longing is usually a manifestation of reverence; here, though, the revered is rarely innocent.”—ROBIN MYERS


Alejandro Tarrab (México, 1972) can already be counted among the most provocative and fascinating of his generation. Author of Siete cantáridas (2001), Centauros (2001), Litane (2006, 2009, 3rd and final ed.), Degenerativa (2010, 2009 Gilberto Owen National Prize for Literature), Caída del búfalo sin nombre. Ensayo sobre el suicidio (2015), and Ensayos malogrados. Resabios sobre la muerte voluntaria (2016), he has received grants from Mexico’s National Fund for Literature and the Arts in the Young Artists’ category (2004-2005 and 2006-2007).

 

 

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 resulting work, The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems, was published by Phoneme Media in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award.