“Searching for ‘divine narration,’ this poet drums on the heart of oblivion.”—Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, Brooklyn Rail
Intimate, intense poems forge a language for life when life is at stake
In her most recent book, Watchword—the winner of the Villaurrutia, Mexico’s most esteemed literary prize—acclaimed poet Pura López Colomé writes of life at its brink with fierce honesty and an unblinking eye. This work shares the darkness, intensity, and skeptical hope of Thomas Hardy’s great poems. Like them, López Colomé’s poems have flashes of secular mysticism, sparked from language itself, which generate unforgettable passages and give voice to a world familiar and odd, wounded and buoyant. In the energy and intensity of her work and in her exhilarating words, we discover both a line of conduct and the source for a richer life. This bilingual edition features the poems en face in Spanish and English.
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Reviews / Endorsements:
“Gander observes that López Colomé’s poetry has hermetic qualities, but he seems to want to let us in. … His careful set of choices in the act of translation complements this attitude, allowing him to heighten the warmth in English even as he retains the discipline of López Colomé’s movements.”—Kristin Dykstra, BOMBsite
"Watchword is a thought- and emotion-provoking book in that the subtext of several poems is a personal struggle with cancer whereas the texts themselves gander widely and maintain a kind of height that transcends the individual human condition." —John Taylor, Antioch Review
“Both Dante and Dickinson preside over Watchword, Pura Lopéz Colomé’s brilliant ‘notes that day by day gather / something profound and gentle, eternal, / melodious, imagined, maternal…’ She reminds us just how worldly the otherworldly is. Forrest Gander’s translation rings flawless and true.”—John Ashbery
“Widely acknowledged and celebrated as a poet of lyric intensity and concision, Pura Lopéz Colomé here attains a new level of engagement with the poetics of perception in a world marked at once by harrowing personal experience and the transformative revelations of things as they are. Truly a splendid ‘garden / of signs within signs.’”—Michael Palmer
From the Book:
And the Intrepid Anthurium
sweet and bitter
from the center
of the rose-colored petals
of a flower which is not a rose.
they thud against the picture window
again and again,
fixed on escaping
with their bounty inside them,
into the air behind them,
incognizant that the path to freedom
has been eclipsed,
that they are drawn
to an illusion.
With the blood honey
in their guts
already a part of their
PURA LÓPEZ COLOMÉ is the Villaurrutia Prize–winning author of several important books, including El sueño del cazador, Aurora, and Intemperie, as well as a volume of collected poems, Música inaudita. She is also the translator into Spanish of works by Samuel Beckett, H.D., Seamus Heaney, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, and others. In 2010, she was awarded the Linda Gaboriau Literary Translation Award. FORREST GANDER is a noted poet and translator. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Core Samples from the World. His most recent translation, Firefly Under the Tongue: Selected Poems of Coral Bracho, was a finalist for the PEN Translation Prize. He is the Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University.
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