Raúl Zurita’s Purgatory, a landmark in contemporary Latin American poetry, records the physical, cultural, and spiritual violence perpetrated against the Chilean people under Pinochet’s military dictatorship (1973 1990) in the fiercely inventive voice of a postmodern master. This beautiful en face edition, superbly translated by Anna Deeny, brings to English-language readers an indispensable volume written by one of the most important living poets writing in Spanish today. Zurita was a 24-year-old student in Valparaíso when, on the morning of the coup, he was arrested, detained, and tortured. Conceived as the first text of a Dantean trilogy that includes Anteparaíso (Anteparadise) and La Vida Nueva (The New Life), Purgatory is his anguished response to Chile’s violent recent history.
From the Inside Flap:
As citizens of the United States of 'America,' we have most recently in our national election responded to an horrific chapter in our nation's history. But there remain other wicked events for which we have yet to answer. Certainly U.S. complicity in the evil that befell Chile on September 11 (1973) is one of them. In Purgatory, Zurita's bleak but searching poem, the poet shares with us his struggles to reconnect to his humanity. We should be grateful for Anna Deeny's translation and afterword, and for bringing Zurita to us.” David Bonior, Chair, American Rights at Work
[praise for Anteparadise, translated by Jack Schmitt]
Chile's tragic recent history provides the fire in which this young poet's Dantean visions have been forged. The poetry that emerges is by turns cold, molten, scathing, and ultimately liberating a remarkable thing.” John Ashbery
Zurita's sequence of poems and they must be read as a sequence creates as it explores a geography of earth, body, and soul, a syntax of pain and topology, an imagery of flesh and land painfully entwined, ultimately freed in joyful pastoral. . . . This is ground-breaking, mind-breaking, bone-breaking style; the miracle is that Zurita heals all by the end, wringing triumph out of anguish.” Ronald Christ
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