Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry

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Mónica de la Torre, Michael Wiegers
Copper Canyon Press, 2002 - Poetry - 675 pages
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Not since 1959 when Octavio Paz and Samuel Beckett publishedAn Anthology of Mexican Poetry, has there been a collection which so thoroughly examines the poetry of the country known for being "too far from God and too close to the United States." Yet, as Elliott Weinberger writes in his introduction,

"Americans know everything about God, but next to nothing about Mexico--few know that Mexico-particularly when compared to the United States-is a kind of paradise for poets."

Reversible Monuments introduces this "paradise" to American readers. It includes major international writers like Alberto Blanco, Pura Lopez Colome, and David Huerta, as well as exciting younger poets, and poets whose work, while well-known in the Spanish-speaking world has not yet seen publication in English. The twenty-five poets represented are as diverse as their American counterparts: They are urban, educated, younger, well travelled, aware of their literary heritage, and include Buddhists, feminists, Jewish poets, experimental poets, darkly brooding poets, and playfully entertaining poets.

Until the Poem Remains

by Francisco Hernandez

Strip away all the flesh
until the poem remains
with the sonorous darkness of bone.
And smooth the bone, polish it, sharpen it
until it becomes such a fine needle,
that it pierces the tongue without pain
though blood chokes the throat.

Reversible Monuments includes a healthy bilingual selection by each poet, features an introduction by Elliott Weinberger, and gathers the work of esteemed translators alongside that of younger translators. It also includes biographies of the poets, notes on the poetry, and an extensive bibliography of contemporary Mexican poetry.

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Reversible Monuments

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In Mexico, poets are so highly esteemed that they are considered their country's cultural ambassadors. Many write for daily newspapers, and most are consulted for opinions about politics and social ... Read full review


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About the author (2002)

Monica de la Torre writes about art and culture for publications in Mexico and the U.S. and is the author of the poetry books PUBLIC DOMAIN, TALK SHOWS, and Acufenos. She is co-author of the artist book Appendices, Illustrations & Notes, available on, and co-editor of the anthology REVERSIBLE MONUMENTS: CONTEMPORARY MEXICAN POETRY with Michael Wiegers. She translated the books Poems by Gerardo Deniz and MAUVE SEA-ORCHIDS by Lila Zemborain. She is senior editor at BOMB Magazine and lives in Brooklyn.

Wiegers is Managing Editor of Copper Canyon Press.

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