City of Memory and Other Poems

Jose Emilio Pacheco, Author, Josc) Emilio Pacheco, Author, Jos Emilio Pacheco, Author City Lights Books $10.95 (194p) ISBN 978-0-87286-324-8
This noble volume brings two of this celebrated Mexican poet's most respected collections of poetry into English translation for the first time. The first, ""City of Memory,"" provides pithy poems while the second, ""I Watch the Earth,"" is a long lamentation of the devastating 1985 Mexico City earthquake. Using common language and informal structure, Pacheco employs graceful internal rhymes that are so subtle they may go unnoticed in the original Spanish and are completely eliminated in the English. In any language, however, Pacheco's passionate voice can be heard as he turns his attention to the infinite wonders and horrors of tumultuous Mexico City or tries to find some sort of solace in--or respite from humanity's predations--the grandeur of the natural world: ""The island garden: here the roses/ do not bloom: they burst into flames.// ...Tomorrow/ there will be no more roses/ but our gaze/ will hold their fire."" Pacheco's directness of statement universalizes his private emotion and enables him to take history personally without being grandiose. His poems strain mightily to reconcile the forces of creation and destruction, to understand how beauty and death can coexist in history and the natural world. (June)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/2001
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