Translated from the Spanish by Robin Myers
Drawings by Carmen Amengual
October 17, 2018
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and with turbulent energy, Ezequiel Zaidenwerg takes on contemporary history
and its uneasy relation to and representation by lyric poetry. Wary of old
mythologies, Zaidenwerg nevertheless draws from them and from the bank of
international literature to make this downpayment on a ferocious,
self-conscious, and activist poetics for the 21st century.
Zaidenwerg has a prosody that is both brutal and fragile. Every stroke of his syntax, in fertile tension with the images that accompany his poems, opens up the spectrum of possibility for observing and documenting the fleeting, disjointed, fucked-up world around us.
Ironic, lucid, fierce, contradictory—in short, fascinating, Lyric Poetry Is Dead by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg is one of a kind, a poem that takes the form of a historical chronicle and relays in whisper tones the end of the journey that began with the death of the suitors in the Odyssey and concludes with another death—the death of poetry. This extraordinary and singular book raises up a new language that confirms Ezequiel Zaidenwerg as one of the most unique and captivating poets to have emerged from Latin America in recent times. His poetry is the first to refute the claim laid out in his title: Lyric Poetry Is Dead. And that refutation is something not all poets are in a position to make.
Wicked and wise, Zaidenwerg's poems turn a commonplace into an incantation that Robin Myers makes sing—and scream, and spit—in English. The lyric is dead; long live the lyric.
was born in 1981, in Buenos Aires. He has published the books of poems Doxa (Vox, 2007); La lírica está muerta (Vox, 2011; Cástor y Pólux, 2017); Sinsentidos comunes, illustrated by Raquel Cané (Bajo la luna, 2015); and 50 estados: 13 poetas contemporáneos de Estados Unidos (Bajo la luna, 2018). He is also the coauthor, with Mirta Rosenberg, of Bichos: Sonetos y comentarios, illustrated by Valentina Rebasa and Miguel Balaguer (Bajo la luna, 2017).
Zaidenwerg has translated work by Mark Strand, Ben Lerner, Anne Carson, Weldon Kees, Robin Myers, Joseph Brodsky, Mary Ruefle, Denise Levertov and Kay Ryan, among others. He compiled and wrote the prologue to Penúltimos (UNAM, 2014), an anthology of Argentine poetry. Since 2005, he has maintained the website zaidenwerg.com, dedicated to poetry in translation.
Robin Myers is the author of several poetry
collections published as bilingual editions in Mexico, Argentina, and Spain: Amalgama (Ediciones Antílope, 2016), Lo demás (Kriller71 Ediciones, 2016; Zindo y
Gafuri, 2016), and Tener (audisea, 2017). Her translations have appeared
in Anomaly, Beloit Poetry Journal, Asymptote, the Los Angeles Review of
Books, Waxwing, Inventory, and elsewhere. She has been a fellow of the
American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) and a resident translator at
the Banff Literary Translation Centre (BILTC). She recently translated Alguien
vivió aquí / Someone Lived Here by Mexican poet Aurelia Cortés Peyrón
Carmen Amengual grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has lived in Los Angeles since 2012. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Buenos Aires and an M.F.A from the California Institute of the Arts. Carmen’s work has been exhibited in different artspaces in Los Angeles, such as Dread Lounge, Human Resources, E.D.Freeman Gallery, Mint Gallery at CalArts (Valencia, California), and in Buenos Aires. More at: amengualcarmen.com