Translated from the Spanish by Elsa Costa
Poetry / Art Book / Cartonera Series
“The neobaroque poetics of Roger Santiváñez is a poetry of health rooted in the difficulty of composition, like a great shell curved epigraph from Ezra Pound’s Canto XVII that begins his trancelike Roberts Pool Twilights, in which we perceive the vital forces of the poetic word unfold in twilight worlds of contemplative ecstasy and compositional struggle.
When we read the sensation of the pulsing summer sky swirling in the river at twilight, & the glitter of the river’s shimmer or witness the sheer joy of perceiving the natural world unfurl into a poem writing itself into sheer immanence: The bushes are perfect they dance (…) Farewell that’s my funeral dirge we learn a lesson of what Santiváñez calls mental delight in his Roberts Pool Twilights that hinges on the monumentality yet incandescence to which art aspires.” ─ADAM J. SHELLHORSE
“The extreme radicalization of his language coincides with the need to give coherence to his project, to the time he ignites with his own fuel. It’s not about any paradox; it’s enough to read a poem by Santiváñez to understand that his painful coherence is rooted in his permanent and forever unconsumed combustion.” ─EDUARDO CHIRINOS
”Only the ingenuity of Roger Santiváñez could achieve what follows in these pages—making us doubt whether we’re reading something calm or tense, whether it’s satori or melancholy; situating us simultaneously in Lima and New Jersey, in literature’s finest tradition and in its vanguard. Roberts Pool Twilights does, through contemporary poetry, what in their day, Rubén Dario, César Vallejo and Lezama Lima once did—it opens up new literary horizons.” ─BENITO DEL PLIEGO
Roger Santiváñez is a founder of the Kloaka movement. Among his most important books of poetry are El chico que se declaraba con la mirada (Asalto al Cielo/Editores, Lima, 1988), Symbol (Asalto al Cielo/Editores, Princeton, 1991), Cor Cordium (Asalto al Cielo/Editores, Amherst, 1995), Santa María (Hipocampo & Asalto al Cielo/Editores, Lima, 2001), Eucaristía (Tse-tse, Buenos Aires, 2004), Labranda (Hipocampo Editores & Asaltoalcielo, 2008), Amaranth precedido de Amastris (Amargord, Madrid, 2010), Roberts Pool Crepúsculos (Hipocampo Editores, 2011), Virtú (Hipocampo, Lima. Amargord, Madrid. Fondo de animal, Guayaquil. Universidad de Puebla, México. 2013), and Sagrado. Poesía reunida, 2004-2016 (Peisa, Lima, 2016). He teaches Spanish at Temple University, Philadelphia, where he earned a Ph.D. in 2008 in Latin American Literature.
Elsa Costa was born in Chicago. She studied Latin American poetry at Bennington College. Her translations have been published in the journals Hiedra and Hostos Review, and in Asymmetries: Anthology of Peruvian Poetry (Cardboard House Press, 2014).