Nicaraguan Peasant Poetry from Solentiname

David Gullette, Editor, David Gullette, Translator West End Press $11.95 (221p) ISBN 978-0-931122-48-4
In 1977, a series of writing pk workshops taught by a priest and a poet gave rise to a budding group of poets and political activists among the peasants of Solentiname, Nicaragua. Most participated in the struggle to overthrow the dictator Somoza; some died, others went into exile, continuing to write. First published in Managua in 1980, this valuable, moving, albeit polemical anthology presents a sampling of the work of 22 men, women and children, charting their evolving political and stylistic sophistication. The early poems focus primarily on romance and nature, depicting wildlife and domestic experience in beautiful and haunting imagery. The later works enter the political arena, describing the rebellion and the deaths of friends, and chronicling a growing awareness of inadequate education, poverty, injustice and oppression. Seven-year-old Juan Agudelo writes: ``Poetry is born in a sacuanjoche blossom / in which red butterflies suck nectar. / Poetry is what two lovers / say to one another. / Poetry is more delicate than the reflection of the moon in the lake. / A perfect poem is like the Revolution.'' Gullette's skillful translations face the original poems, and his insightful introduction provides history of the area and brief biographies of the contributors. (September)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 12/01/1988
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