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Madwomen: The "Locas mujeres" Poems of Gabriela Mistral, a Bilingual Edition Paperback – April 15, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A beautiful, hard-bound edition. . . . This volume makes it easy for the bilingual reader to jump back and forth between the original poem and the translation to elucidate the meaning of a particularly sophisticated word or to tease out the meaning of an unfamiliar phrasing in the Spanish." --Translation Journal

"Randall Couch has gathered a remarkable collection of Mujeres Locas, the Mad Women pivoting brilliantly within twenty six poems by Gabriela Mistral, taken from previously published and unpublished sources. He has accepted the challenge of setting them forth in English, and one can only respect and applaud his efforts, undertaken with painstaking scholarship and impassioned linguistic acuity." --Doreen Stock, Calque

"Randall Couch''s translation of the Locas mujeres of Gabriela Mistral recreates in English some of the most important poems of the past century. Written in the voices of women who are witnesses to war and violence of many kinds, and completed during a period when Mistral herself was such a witness, these poems are at once devastating in their emotional clarity and astonishing in their lyrical beauty and formal complexity. Couch''s readers, even those who already know the poems in Spanish, will be grateful to him for the sympathetic care he has brought to the tasks of editing, introducing, and translating this distinguished edition of Mistral''s work." --Susan Stewart, Princeton University

"Utterly remarkable--Gabriela Mistral turns out to be a great poet of modernist intensities and compactness, and darker preoccupations, as well as being that more conventional ''pastoral'' poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize. Randall Couch''s translations are sonically superb--he has an almost uncanny ability to create a rhythm in English lines that not only is very pleasing and authoritative in itself but also makes for an excellent representation of Mistral’s own rhythms." --Reginald Gibbons, Northwestern University

"This collection deploys the best of the best, revealing for the first time these poems of anguish and triumph from the winner of the 1945 Nobel Prize in Literature. Randall Couch matches her brilliance, depth and range. Here is her direct witness to war and Holocaust, dispatched from Southern France and Brazil, her revisions of Greek tragedy, written in occupied Europe, and her serene and uncompromising, Buddhist-Franciscan defense of the land and indigenous cultures. Here, in stunningly contemporary terms, is the protean complexity of one of the greatest poets of the 20th century." --Elizabeth Rosa Horan, Arizona State University

"Couch offers a succinct, comprehensive biocritical introduction to Mistral and her ''Locas mujeres'' poems, particularly exploring autobiographical issues in the poems. . . . Plentiful information on the rich cross-references . . . in Mistral''s poems and on the identities of those to whom Mistral dedicated her poems enhances this volume, which will interest Spanish and English speakers alike." --R. Ocasio, Choice

About the Author


Randall Couch edited and translated Madwomen: The Locas mujeres Poems of Gabriela Mistral (University of Chicago Press, 2008), which won Britain's biennial Popescu Prize for Poetry in Translation and was one of two finalists for the PEN Award for Poetry Translation. A frequent panelist on the podcast series PoemTalk sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, PennSound, and Kelly Writers House, his poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He has published essays and book chapters on Ezra Pound, Gabriela Mistral, Harryette Mullen, and on ethics and reception in poetry translation. In 2000 and 2008, he was awarded poetry fellowships by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He is an administrator at the University of Pennsylvania and since 2003 he has taught poetry writing and poetics at Arcadia University.
 
 
 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; Bilingual edition (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226531910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226531915
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Perez on June 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Madwomen by Gabriela Mistral is a delightful masterpiece successfully translated in English by Randall Couch. The strength and passion of Mistral's work is mirrored by the poems that Couch has translated for us. I enjoyed this book very much.

In the poem "Cross-Eyed Mother," Mistral writes,

"Era la higuera de leche
y era la Osa encrespada
y era mas ...

She was the milky fig tree
and she was the bristling She-Bear
and more ..."

These lines display the great task of the translator to discover and rediscover words that work or fit. Some of Mistral's poems seem positioned to translate themselves, yet Couch does a wonderful job guiding them.

Some of my favorite lines come from "The Storyteller:"

"They want to hear my own story
which on my living tongue is dead.
I search for someone who remembers it,
page for page, thread for thread.
I'll lend them my breath, give them my beat
to see if hearing it wakes it in me."

All the poems in Madwomen are wonderfully written. We are given perspective and the stories of some amazing women in them. We are taken to a land that could very well be our own backyard, while at the same time, we are transported to a time specific to Chile.
Couch, trained early in his career as an art conservator, exposes us to the translations of Madwomen with a precise skill in the preservation of the authentic.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Russ Spaar on November 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Randall Couch's translated edition of Mad Women: the Locas mujeres Poems of Gabriela Mistral makes essential reading, not only for students of Latin American poetries, history, and women's literature, but for anyone interested in the lyric, poetic form, the intricacies and surprises of translation (this edition is bilingual and Couch, himself a fine poet, offers a brilliant introduction to accompany his luminous translations), and the power of personae in the poetry of witness. I used the book to powerful effect in an advanced undergraduate seminar on the Poetics of Ecstasy, where Couch's versions of Mistral's oneiric, transgressive, forceful embodiment of an array of exiled and marginalized female figures--"La otra/ The Other," "La fervorosa/The Fervent Woman," "La desvelada/The Sleepless Woman"--richly extended our conversations not just about the "beside the self" condition and poetic ruses of other mendicant, peripatetic, or insomniacal ecstatic poets (sufi and bhakti poets such as Rumi, Mirabai, and Lal-ded, for instance, and western mystics including Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross), but lent as well an invaluable context for our forays into the work of Marina Tsvetaeva, Nellie Sachs, John Clare, Paul Celan, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Arthur Rimbaud, and into the ecstasies involved in the experience of translation itself.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Chilean poet not widely known of in English speaking cultures. Her work is eloquent, emotional, with poignant references to her own life, her relationships and her country. She explores and juxtaposes classical works and their meaning against perennial questions about humanity and the dilemmas encountered by our species in our relationships with each other. I will read through her poetry many times, and I imagine there will be some new encounter on each occasion. This was an insightful and most satisfying experience of poetry reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've had the book for a couple of weeks and haven't been able to read more than two poems- this is not your everyday book of poetry: it REQUIRES the reader to be engaged and to THINK about the emotions generated by Mistral's writing. And if the reading of these poems doesn't change you, think again.
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