Waterloo Press

Alejandra Pizarnik
Selected Poems (Available October 2010)
Translated by Cecilia Rossi

ISBN 978-1-906742-24-9

Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972) is one of the leading poets of the Argentine literary canon and a key figure in Latin American poetry of the second half of the twentieth century. Born to Russian immigrant parents in Avellaneda, a suburb of Buenos Aires, Pizarnik studied Philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires, as well as painting with Juan Batlle Planas. From 1960 to 1964 she lived in Paris where she was an active participant in Parisian literary life and became friends with other writers in exile, including Julio Cortázar. In 1962 she published her ground-breaking collection Árbol de Diana/ Diana’s Tree, which included a prologue by Octavio Paz, and was followed by five other critically acclaimed volumes of poetry and prose. Her Poesía completa, Prosa completa and Diarios have all been edited by her friend the poet Ana Becciú, and published by Lumen, Barcelona.

Cecilia Rossi was born in Buenos Aires. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Cardiff University and a PhD in Literary Translation from the University of East Anglia. She has taught literary translation at MA level at both Middlesex University and the University of East Anglia, where she still teaches. Her original poetry has appeared in various journals such as New Welsh Review and Poetry Wales, as well as anthologised in The Pterodactyl’s Wing (Parthian, 2003). Her translations of Alejandra Pizarnik’s poetry into English have won various awards, including First Prize in the John Dryden Translation Competition and a commendation in the Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry Translation, and have appeared in Comparative Criticism, Modern Poetry in Translation, and Alejandra, a volume of essays published by Syracuse University Press. She is currently on the editorial committee of In Other Words, the journal for literary translators.


Alejandra Pizarnik                 Cecilia Rossi

Alejandra Pizarnik is a hugely significant literary figure, an iconoclastic poet who carved her own sparse language of paradox and despair from the collective unconscious of Western mythology and the dreamscapes of her own multiple selves. Her work probes the legacy of major writers from Kafka to Rimbaud, Lautréamont and other poets maudits, and in its own passionate complexity resonates with the great twentieth-century artistic and intellectual movements of Surrealism, feminism, and psychoanalysis. To date, however, though relatively well-known in the English-speaking world, her poetry has not been translated comprehensively into English. This substantial volume of her Selected Poems, translated by the award-winning Cecilia Rossi, rectifies, at last, this unconscionable lack. 

Cecilia Rossi’s exemplary renderings of Pizarnik’s verse are a revelation; perfectly-balanced, incandescent, they seem like floating fragments from a far more sensual, mystical world, just out of reach. These delicate yet powerful translations will bring this important poet to the wider audience she surely deserves.
Josephine Balmer

These spare, lyrical translations of Alejandra Pizarnik finally make available to the English-speaking world some of the finest poetry to be written in Latin America.
Peter Bush

The poems of the short-lived Russian-Argentinian poet, Alejandra Pizarnik, already have a cult following, partly because she is regarded as something of a poète maudit, but chiefly because her intense, personal, surrealexpressionist lyricism has a driving honesty and ambition that not only talks of darkness but embodies it. Imagine, if you like, moving from Celan to Lorca to Plath in a kind of triangulation, but her voice is very much her own and is rendered powerfully into English by Cecilia Rossi.
George Szirtes

Work published within the framework of ‘Sur’ Translation Support Program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of the Argentine Republic.

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