cover image Song of the Heart: Selected Poems by Ramon Lopez Velarde

Song of the Heart: Selected Poems by Ramon Lopez Velarde

Ramon Lopez Velarde. University of Texas Press, $19.95 (114pp) ISBN 978-0-292-74685-5

This posthumous, bilingual collection of the works of Velarde (1888-1921), one of Mexico's most cherished poets who remains relatively unrecognized in the U.S., is a celebration of passion, that ``song of the heart,'' in all its beautiful, tortured, contemplative, urgent glory. Peden's faithful translation allows the passionate perfection of Velarde's work, which consistently couples extravagant, consuming emotion with cool, formal precision, to shine through. Although there is much pain and anguish in these poems, sounded most consistently is the joyful music of simply being alive. In the the last lines of the title poem, the last piece of the book, Velarde cries, ``O Psyche, o my soul, sound the start/ of a modern, a jungle, an orgiastic song:/ the song of Mary, the song of the heart!'' Soriano's sensual line drawings, created for this edition, are a deceptively simple visual complement of Velarde's streamlined, powerfully moving verse. (June)