Poetry. Latinx Studies. Translated by Tony Frazer. Before attaining his poetic maturity—and this would be through poems written mostly in Spanish—Huidobro wrote these two collections in French and published them in Paris in 1925, the same year that a volume of his manifestos appeared. The two books have never been republished in France and have likewise not been published in Spanish translation other than in the author's collected works. While they are in some respects a developmental dead-end for Huidobro, they do demonstrate his attempts to engage, in one volume, with the impact of Dada, and, in the other, with the influence of Surrealism. His later work transcends the more overt influences and moves onto new pastures, but these experiments were necessary in order to get him there.
The Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro (1893-1948) is one of the most important figures in 20th-century Hispanic poetry and, with César Vallejo, one of the pioneering avant- gardists in Spanish. Originally from an upper-class Santiago family, Huidobro was fortunate to have the means to support himself and his family while he found his artistic way. After an early phase writing in a quasi-symbolist style in his native city, he moved to Paris and threw himself into the local artistic milieu with a passion, quickly becoming a notable figure, publishing a large number of books in the period 1917-1925. Influenced initially by Apollinaire, Huidobro quickly befriended both forward-looking French writers such as Reverdy, Cocteau and Radiguet, and the Spanish expatriate artists, including Picasso and Juan Gris. He reached his poetic maturity in 1931 with the publication of two master-pieces: the long poem, Altazor, and the book-length prose-poem Temblor de cielo (Skyquake). Two further collections would follow during his lifetime, both published in Santiago in 1941. While he also published successful novels and plays, it is for his poetry that he is best remembered today.Author City: Santiago CHL
Tony Frazer is the publisher of Shearsman Books, founder of Shearsman magazine, and occasional translator from German and Spanish. He is engaged in a large project to bring the majority of Vicente Huidobro's poetry into English.