Poetry. Latinx Studies. Translated by Jeannine Pitas, WE DO NOT LIVE IN VAIN is the sixth book of Uruguayan poet Selva Casal. Drawing upon her academic training in sociology and her experiences as a penal lawyer, Casal lays bare the stark realities of the human condition: our capacity for violence and cruelty as well as our profound ability to love and care for one another. With keen observation, deep pathos, and imaginative playfulness, these poems of witness are ultimately an affirmation of human life and dignity even in the face of humanity's worst tendencies. Originally published as No vivimos en vano in 1975 during Uruguay's military dictatorship, this book solidified Casal's reputation as a political dissident and led to her losing her job as a sociology professor at the Universidad de la República, Uruguay's most well-known university.
Jeannine Marie Pitas has translated four other books by Marosa di Giorgio, which were published together by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2017, under the title I REMEMBER NIGHTFALL. She is the author of the poetry collection Things Seen and Unseen (Mosaic Press, 2019), and her most recent translations are of Uruguayan poet Selva Casal's WE DO NOT LIVE IN VAIN (Veliz Books, 2020) and Romina Freschi's Echo of the Park (Eulalia Books, 2019). She lives in Iowa and teaches English and Spanish at the University of Dubuque.
Author City: SALTO URU
Selva Casal (Uruguay) is the award-winning author of sixteen books of poetry, most recently Abro las puertas de un jardín de plata (I Open the Doors of a Silver Garden) (Trópico Sur Editor, 2014). A former penal lawyer, Casal is inspired by her experiences working with people who have faced injustice. Her 1975 publication of No vivimos en vano (WE DO NOT LIVE IN VAIN (Veliz Books, 2020)) during the military dictatorship in Uruguay resulted in her losing her position as a university professor of sociology. Her work has received prizes in Uruguay, Argentina, and Mexico, such as the 2010 Premio Morosoli de Poesía and the Premio Nacional del Ministerio de Educacirón y Cultura.
Author City: MONTEVIDEO URU