Ramón López Velarde (1888-1921) was one of the most Mexican of Mexican poets, whose sense of history found expression in many poems, including his best-known "La suave Patria" ("Sweet Land"). This bilingual collection, drawn primarily from Poesías completas y el minutero, offers English-language readers our first book-length introduction to his poetry.
Often called a "poet of the provinces," López Velarde gives us a glimpse into a slower and more gentle way of life. His poems present the contrast between city and hometown and between urban and pastoral landscapes. Through these contrasts runs the thread of religious faith, while urgency of language informs the entire body of his poetic production.
Original, specially commissioned drawings by noted contemporary Mexican artist Juan Soriano complement the poems. This combination of poetry and art speaks to universal emotions; indeed the poetry of López Velarde belongs to everyone who sings the Song of the Heart.
Corecipient of the first Gregory Kolovakos Award in 1992, Margaret Sayers Peden is a distinguished critic and translator of Latin American literature.
"This posthumous, bilingual collection of the works of Velarde (1888-1921), one of Mexico's most cherished poets who remains relatively unrecognized in the U.S., is a celebration of passion, that "song of the heart," in all its beautiful, tortured, contemplative, urgent glory. Peden's faithful translation allows the passionate perfection of Velarde's work, which consistently couples extravagant, consuming emotion with cool, formal precision, to shine through. Although there is much pain and anguish in these poems, sounded most consistently is the joyful music of simply being alive.... Soriano's sensual line drawings, created for this edition, are a deceptively simple visual complement of Velarde's streamlined, powerfully moving verse.
"...López Velarde left us a few poems in verse and prose—fewer than thirty—so perfect that it is foolish to lament those that death prevented him from writing."