Translated from the Spanish by Clare Sullivan
Release date: July 21, 2017
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“From the moment I first came into contact with Alejandro’s poetry, it impressed me—something here that’s taken to its furthest consequences: a certain overlapping of planes of language and planes of reality that, on the one hand, depict a landscape, 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 like this; it saturates like this. It doesn’t take on the flesh of a prayer. Rather, in a lower frequency, it embodies prayer’s underbelly—an unfurling volume. Running contrary to the lineage it defines through confrontation, Litane doesn’t flow from hope in The Word, but instead from channels of strength, lesions, 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
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.