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1st Edition

240 x 160 mm. 328pp ... [In stock in Australia, for immediate delivery]

Chilean poet Tomas Harris' Cipango, first published in 1992, employs the metaphor of a journey. The poems allude to the voyage of Columbus, who believed that he had reached the Far East, not the Americas.

Building on that mistaken historical premise, Cipango comments on the oppressive legacy of colonialism in Latin America - manifested in 20th century Chile through the 1973 military coup by Augusto Pinochet and the brutal dictatorship there - and on the violence and degradation of contemporary urban society. The author's vision is of a decadent, apocalyptic world that nonetheless contains the possibility for regeneration.

Cipango is characterised by strange and obsessive imagery - strips of mud, will-o'-the-wisps, vacant lots, blue rats - juxtapositions of contemporary and archaic diction and of incongruous settings that range over time and place; the use of an understated irony; and a dark, incantatory voice. The speakers in various poems address personages such as Columbus, Marco Polo, and the Great Khan, and refer to a breadth of sources including Columbus's diaries, Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Nerval's Aurelia, the Holocaust, Billie Holiday, and the film Goldfinger. The book's content and formal elements combine to produce a work of almost epic scope, one with universal appeal.

Tomas Harris' oeuvre, and in particular, Cipango, grows out of the Chilean poetic tradition - one that has produced such greats as Vicente Huibobro, Gabriela Mistral Pablo Neruda, and Nicanor Parra, all of whose poetry has been published to greater or lesser degree in translation in the United States. Harris' poetry, on the other hand, while celebrated in his native Chile and throughout Latin America, has been under-recognised in North America and elsewhere.

This bilingual, en-face edition of Cipango, deftly translated by Daniel Shapiro, remedies that situation by bringing the lyricism and power of one of Chile's, and Latin America's, major poetic voices to an English-language readership. The copious end-notes following the poetry in the edition explain the book's numerous literary, historical, and other references.

Given Cipango's outstanding literary merit as well as the timeliness of its themes and the specific tradition it belongs to, it will be a valuable resource and source of pleasure for instructors and students of Latin American and comparative literatures as well as for poets, translators, and general readers.

Tomas Harris is considered one of Chile's most important contemporary poets. Daniel Shapiro is Director of Literature and Editor of Review magazine at the Americas Society in New York.
^ Poetry ^


SKU 9780838757345
Barcode # 9780838757345
Brand AUP
Artist / Author Tomas HARRIS

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