Poetry. Latinx Studies. Translated by Thomas Rothe and Rodrigo Olavarría. "The true heir of Nicanor Parra and Enrique Lihn's protégé, Rodrigo Lira is still considered a cult author in Chile. Halfway between the figure of the madman and the genius, halfway between the myth and the legend, Lira wrote poems that were authentic, weird and precious gems. Owner of a unique style, combining irony, intertextuality, and a sharp sense of humor, Lira was an absolute underground poet, whose work was circulated by hand in thousands of Xerox copies that flooded the most notorious university campuses in Santiago de Chile during Pinochet's dictatorship. Now, for the very first time, his poems are available in English thanks to the bold, delicate and meticulous translation of Rodrigo Olavarría (the only authorized voice of Allen Ginsberg in Spanish) and Thomas Rothe (translator of Jaime Huenún's Fanon City Meu). I don't think there is a way to fully understand contemporary Chilean poetry without having read Rodrigo Lira's exquisite and extravagant poems."—Carlos Soto-Román
"Rodrigo Lira's elegance, his disdain, make him off limits for any publisher. The cowardly don't publish the brave."—Roberto Bolaño
"Rodrigo Lira's TESTIMONY OF CIRCUMSTANCES is vicious. In it, Lira mocks the literary establishment, depicts life under Pinochet's regime, and narrates his experiences with mental illness. This tour de force poem is densely allusive, parodic, and endlessly playful."—Aditi Machado
Excerpt @ AsymptoteFeature @ Jacket 2Garrett Phelps @ AsymptoteReview @ The Arkansas InternationalJohn Venegas @ Angel City Review
Thomas Rothe is a scholar and translator. He is currently finishing a PhD in Latin American Literature at the Universidad de Chile and teaches part-time at the Universidad Católica de Chile. His translations have appeared in The Arkansas International, MAKE Magazine, Asymptote, InTranslation, Jacket2, and Lunch Ticket, among other journals. He has translated several volumes of poetry, including Jaime Huenún's FANON CITY MEU, Rodrigo Lira's TESTIMONY OF CIRCUMSTANCES, Julieta Marchant's The Birth of Thread, and Emma Villazón's Expendables. With Lucía Stecher, he recently translated into Spanish Edwidge Danticat's Create Dangerously.
Rodrigo Lira was born in Santiago in 1949. He gained notoriety during the seventies for his dramatic public readings and eccentric parodies of many established Chilean poets. Tormented by a diagnosis of schizophrenia as well as social marginalization, he committed suicide in 1981, on his thirty-second birthday. After his death and the posthumous publication of his first collection of poems, Proyecto de obras completas, interest in Lira's poetry and life grew exponentially into a cult following that has influenced many younger generations of Chilean poets and writers. Combining erudite literary knowledge, intense language, and dark burlesque humor, Lira's work is often compared to contemporaries Nicanor Parra and Enrique Lihn. Roberto Bolaño described him as "one of the last poets of Latin America."Author City: SANTIAGO CHL