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Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology (Texas Pan American Series) (English and Spanish Edition) Paperback – January 1, 1996

3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eschewing a "'Greatest Hits' approach to literary anthologies," Tapscott, a literature professor at MIT, focuses on lyric forms as "the most important mode of the Latin American poetic tradition" and samples the works of more than 75 poets, including such giants as Neruda, Dario, Reyes, Vallejo, Borges and Paz. With original-language versions and translations set side by side, the collection is arranged in order of the poets' dates of birth from Jose Marti, born in Cuba in 1853, to Marjorie Agosin, born in the U.S. 102 years later. Tapscott's well-conceived and lucid introduction is expanded in concise individual introductions that provide basic information and some evaluation ("Underappreciated at the time of his death, Oswald de Andrade's presence has recently been felt more strongly in Brazillian intellectual life because of the influence of the Concretists, neo-Concretists, and semioticians"). Poems range from Neruda's well-known "The Heights of Macchu Picchu" to the lesser-known visual poems of Concretists such as Pedro Xisto. Particularly notable is the attention given to translations, many of which are done by other writers, e.g., W.S. Merwin, William Carlos Williams and John Updike. Tapscott's collection sets a standard likely to last well into the next century.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Despite the title, this collection starts with two poets (the Cuban Jose Marti and the Brazilian da Cruz e Sousa) who were born and died before the century began. Yet an impressive array of 20th-century Latin American poets is finally presented. Rather than assigning new translations, anthologist Tapscott (a poet and professor of humanities) favors time-honored ones, such as Ruben Dario by Lysander Kemp (1965) and Gabriela Mistral by Doris Dana (1971). Others, such as Neruda, Borges, and Cabral de Melo Neto, are represented by multiple translators "to point the reader to different possibilities." Each poet's biography is insightful and relevant (e.g., the Cuban Nancy Morejon is described as one rare black woman "at peace with her country"). In his introduction, Tapscott rightly characterizes Latin America as simultaneously partisan and popular, verbally dense, and emotionally accessible. This belongs in all poetry collections but will necessarily duplicate some poets already in the collection.?Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Texas Pan American Series
  • Paperback: 444 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • ISBN-10: 0292781407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292781405
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 1 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This book is not for the faint-hearted. It might be a text in a poetry or Latin American literature course, and it will be a good text. It covers a wide range of voices of the 20th century, in the original and decent translations. It would also be a good overview for someone truly interested in modern poetry and the trends that occurred over that century. I believe it could have included other more recent writers, but any such anthology is limited in scope bu its editor. The introductions to each poet are also informative.
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This anthology does a great job of presenting Latin American poetry from the twentieth century. It is ideal as a jumping board to a more detailed study of these poets. However, this anthology gets a low rating for its poor translations. The poems I have studied carefully are all marred by bad translations. Translators make grievous errors in choosing the synonyms, as well as missing the overall context of the poems.

Here are a few examples. (1) from the poem Deseos by Carlos Pellicer: pasare con mis ruidos de vidrio tornasol, translated as 'move like a great noisy sunflower made of glass' (2) from the poem Dibujo de la mujer que llega (translated as 'Sketch of a Frontier Woman') by Claudia Lars: The imagery that runs through the poem is that of Virgin Mary, though not explicitly spelled out. The translator completely misses this point and therefore uses words that do not reflect the grandeur of the original. (3) from A la Poesia by Carlos Pellicer: 'reflejo de cien espejos, tu cuerpo' is translated as 'Like a hundred mirrors I reflect your body.

These are just a few examples. Each poem is riddled with so many of these errors that bilingual readers would be very annoyed reading this collection.
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This book introduced me to a number of different poets and their work. I'll agree that there are poor translations in this, but unfortunately that is the case with too many language translations and isn't necessary the fault of this particular author or assemblage of poems- though they make no attempt to correct such. It is an interesting book just for that reason and if you want to try your hand at translating poetry, not too tough to beat most of the translations in this book using some logic and a couple internet translators and you will undoubtedly learn more Spanish by doing so!
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I am not a huge fan of poetry, but I am a huge fan of Latin America and have been learning Spanish for the past several years. I use this book to compare the original to the translation (which are conveniently side by side on the same page) and it's interesting having some insight into what is lost in translation. It's also good for expanding vocabulary and getting a grasp of how to communicate more effectively in Spanish. As for a general poetry volume it's fairly comprehensive and features a lot of famous works; Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, Juan Luis Borges, Ramon Dario, Che Guevara. It also has brief, informative biography info that is helpful and gives a good context for understanding the lives and works of the artists. Useful as a learning tool, comprehensive as a volume. A good buy.
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