The English debut of one of Uruguay's most acclaimed living poets.
Silvia Guerra is among the most influential figures in Uruguayan poetry today. This translation, a panoramic selection of poems from nine books, presents Guerra as one of Latin America’s dauntless poets of language. This tour-de-force translation engages Guerra’s stunning range of forms and tendencies—neopastoral, neobarrocoand even a fictional biography of Lautréamont—while joining the poet as she courts complexity, opacity, nothingness, and the sublime.
Poetry. Latinx Studies.
“‘Translation is an experience of encounter,’ as Jesse Lee Kercheval and Jeannine Marie Pitas write in their afterword to this luminous, often surprising translation from Silvia Guerra’s complex body of poetry. Their work—like and with Guerra’s—enacts encounters not only between languages, but between sounds and subjectivities, human and nonhuman collaborators, the many meanings contained in a single word. To read Guerra’s poetry is to dive into a shared interiority. We are lucky to have this translation that enfolds us, in the words of one of the poems, into ‘[t]he very center of things.’” —Janet Hendrickson, translator of Treasure Of The Castilian Or Spanish Language
“The poems in A SEA AT DAWN, in both the original Spanish and Pitas and Kercheval’s illuminating translation, are a profound gift for English language readers’ first encounter with Silvia Guerra’s poetry. This collection introduces the vast poetic scope, the fascinating musicality, and the often beautifully incomprehensible syntax of one of Uruguay’s significant contemporary poets. My gratitude to Pitas and Kercheval for not only providing us this generous sample of Guerra’s oeuvre but also for their insightful Afterword—read it first!—which provides an important cipher for understanding Guerra’s poetics and their translation practice, ultimately bringing us closer to an experience of ‘the final edge of those chambers/ a reverberation…the speech of a secret world.’” —Curtis Bauer, author of American Selfie
Review by Sofija Popovska @ AsymptoteInterview with Jesse Lee Kercheval @ Action Books
Silvia Guerra (Maldonado, Uruguay) is an Uruguayan poet, critic and editor whose books include Pulso (Amargord, 2011), Nada de nadie (Tsé- tseé, 2001); Replicantes Astrales (División Cultura, 2009), Idea de la aventura (Ediciones de la Feria, 1990); De la arena nace el agua and Fuera del relato (Bassarai Ediciones, 2013), a fictionalized biography of Lautréamont. In 2012 she was awarded the Morosoli Prize in Poetry for her career. She serves on the board of the Mario Benedetti Foundation. Poems from her book UN MAR EN MADRUGADO / A SEA AT DAWN (Eulalia Books, 2023), translated by Jesse Lee Kercheval and Jeannine Pitas, appeared in American Poetry Review and The Paris Review.
Jesse Lee Kercheval is a poet, writer, and translator specializing in Uruguayan poetry. Her translations include Love Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020) by Idea Vilariño and The Invisible Bridge: Selected Poems of Circe Maia (Univirsity of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). She is the co-translator (with Laura Cesarco Eglin) of NIGHT IN THE NORTH (Eulalia Books, 2020) by Fabián Severo. Her fifth poetry collection, I Want To Tell You, was published by University of Pittsburgh Press in 2023.
Jeannine Marie Pitas is the translator or co-translator of eight books of poetry and two books of prose, most recently Teobaldo Noriega's Tropical Rhapsody (Lugar Común, 2022) and Marosa di Giorgio's CARNATION AND TENEBRAE CANDLE (Cardboard House, 2020). Her own first book of poetry, Things Seen and Unseen, was published by Mosaic Press in 2019, and her second, Or/And, was published by Paraclete Press in 2023.