The English-language debut of Verónica Zondek, COLD FIRE is a book-length meditation on the wind in which—according to Eliot Weinberger—the renowned Chilean poet “demonstrates that to think about the wind is to think about everything.”
COLD FIRE is a timeless chronicle of the human facing the dread and magic of its own materiality. This book-length poem, written in a voice as piercing and tentative as the elements themselves and translated into English by Katherine Silver, is an intimate and irreducible exploration of our vulnerability, solitude, plunder, and death, and posits the wind, with its omnipresent voice and its versatile metaphoric essence, as the fundamental source of energy, renovation, and destruction.
“Like her native condors that leap from a cliff and float for hours on the upstreams, Verónica Zondek glides through a book-length meditation on the wind, here kept aloft in English by the force of Katherine Silver’s translation. And, not surprisingly in a narrow country between the wind-generating mountains and sea, Zondek beautifully demonstrates that to think about the wind is to think about everything.” —Eliot Weinberger
“With energy, gravity, and vibrant movement and rhythm, renowned Chilean poet Verónica Zondek meditates on the complex intertwinings of our bodies with the social world, the natural world, and death. Here, the trauma of anonymity, decomposition, abandonment, exile, and 'the voids of soul', are presented through a poetic narrative of poignant urgency. All of which is communicated in this brilliant new translation by Katherine Silver, one of our most important and distinguished translators of contemporary Latin American literature. This is a moving and surprising book.” —Daniel Borzutzky
“The history of the world is in the wind, to which the narrator implores us, in Cato 20, to let the silver fingers of the windgust touch you . . . for my letter on the page sleeps while it waits for the slow roar of awakening . . . for our duty is to read/ and reread/ and pay heed/ even if we are only blood/ and bone/ and dream/ in this long/ long and slow bog … A beautiful and enchanting work.” — Tom Bowden, Bookbeat
Poetry. Latinx Studies. Environmental Studies.
Excerpt @ Latin American Literature TodayExcerpt @ Circumference MagReview @ Poetry International OnlineReview @ Bookbeat
Verónica Zondek is one of Chile's most renowned and prolific poets, translators, and editors. She has published many books of poetry, and has collaborated extensively with musicians, actors, photographers, dancers, and visual and performance artists. She published a critical edition of the poetry of Nobel Prize-winning poet Gabriela Mistral. Her translations include the works of Gottfried Benn, Derek Walcott, June Jordan, Anne Carson, Emily Dickinson, Anne Sexton, and Gertrude Stein. She lives in Valdivia, Chile.