In Order to Talk with the Dead

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In Order to Talk with the Dead

Selected Poems of Jorge Teillier

By Jorge Teillier

Translated by Carolyne Wright

This English-Spanish bilingual anthology introduces English-speaking readers to Teillier, with a representative selection of his best work from all phases of his career.

1993

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Paperback

6 x 9 | 167 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-78123-8

"In order to talk with the dead
you have to know how to wait:
they are fearful
like the first steps of a child.
But if we are patient
one day they will answer us
with a poplar leaf trapped in a broken mirror,
with a flame that suddenly revives in the fireplace,
with a dark return of birds
before the glance of a girl
who waits motionless on the threshold."
—from "In Order to Talk with the Dead"

Reared in the rainy forests of Chile's "La Frontera" region which had nurtured Pablo Neruda a generation earlier, Jorge Teillier has become one of Chile's leading contemporary poets, whose work is widely read in Latin America and Europe along with the poetry of his well-known contemporaries Nicanor Parra and Enrique Lihn. This English-Spanish bilingual anthology now introduces English-speaking readers to Teillier, with a representative selection of his best work from all phases of his career.

Carolyne Wright has translated poems from the volumes Muertes y maravillas (1971), Para un pueblo fantasma (1978), and Cartas para reinas de otras primaveras (1985). Avoiding the bravura effects of some of his contemporaries, Teillier writes from a life lived directly and simply, returning time and again in his poetry to the timeless and mythic South of his boyhood, the "Land of Nevermore."

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: "From the Land of Nevermore: On the Poetry of Jorge Teillier" by Carolyne Wright
  • Translator's Note
  • PART ONE. Poems from Muertes y maravillas (Deaths and Wonders) (1953-1971)
    • From A los habitantes del País de Nunca Jamás (To the Inhabitants of the Land of Nevermore) (1953-1970)
      • Ontoño secreto / Secret Autumn
      • Alegría / Joy
      • La última isla / The Last Island
      • Imagen para un estanque / Image for a Pond
      • He confiado en la noche / I Have Trusted in the Night
      • Relatos / Narratives
      • Tarde / Afternoon
      • Poema de invierno / Winter Poem
      • La llave / The Key
      • Carta de lluvia / Letter of Rain
      • Puente en el sur / Bridge in the South
      • Tarjeta postal / Postcard
      • Sentados frente al fuego / Sitting in Front of the Fire
      • Letra de tango / Tango Lyric
      • Cuento de la tarde / Afternoon Story
      • Para hablar con los muertos / In Order to Talk with the Dead
      • Un año, otro año / One Year, Another Year
      • Atardecer en automóvil / Afternoon in Automobile
      • Cuando todos se vayan / When Everyone Goes Away
      • Fin del mundo / End of the World
      • Historia de un hijo pródigo / Story of a Prodigal Son
      • Otro cantar / Another Song
      • Señales / Signs
      • Los conjuros / The Exorcisms
      • Linterna sorda / Dark Lantern
      • Molino de madera / Wooden Mill
      • La tierra de la noche / The Land of Night
      • En memoria de una casa cerrada / In Memory of a Closed House
      • Juegos / Games
      • Imagen / Image
      • A un niño en un árbol / To a Child in a Tree
      • Frutos del verano / Fruits of Summer
      • Edad de oro / Golden Age
    • Los trenes de la noche (Night Trains) (1964, 1971)
      • Los trenes de la noche / Night Trains
  • PART TWO. Poems from Para un pueblo fantasma (For a Town of Ghosts) (1978)
    • From Nadie ha muerto aún en esta casa (Nobody's Died Yet in This House) (1978)
      • Nadie ha muerto aún en esta casa / Nobody's Died Yet in This House
      • Aperitivo / Aperitif
      • Siete paia un secieto / Seven for a Secret
      • Bajo el cielo nacido tras la lluvia / Under the Sky Born after the Rain
      • Lluvia inmóvil / Immobile Rain
      • Ultimo día de vacaciones / Last Day of Vacation
      • En el mes de los zorros / In the Month of Foxes
    • From Pequeña confesión (Small Confession) (1978)
      • Paisaje de Clínica / Clinical Landscape
      • Mi amor por ti / My Love for You
    • Notas sobre el último viaje del autor a su pueblo natal (Notes on the Author's Last Journey to the Town of His Birth) (1978)
      • Notas sobre el último viaje del autor a su pueblo natal / Notes on the Author's Last Journey to the Town of His Birth
    • From "Las ciudades que he conocido vivían como locas" ("The Cities I have Known Were Living Like Mad") (1978)
      • Un día en Madrid / A Day in Madrid
    • From Libro de homenajes (Book of Homages) (1971, 1978)
      • Los dominios perdidos / The Lost Domain
      • El retorno de Orfeo / The Return of Orpheus
      • Retrato de mi padre, militante comunista / Portrait of My Father, Militant Communist
      • Despedida / So Long
  • PART THREE. Poems from Cartas para reinas de otras primaveras (Letters to Queens of Other Springs) (1985)
    • Todo está en bianco / Everything's Gone White
    • Ahora que de nuevo / Now That Once Again
    • Sin señal de vida / No Sign of Life
  • Notes
  • About the Poet
  • About the Translator

Winner of several prestigious awards, including the Gabriela Mistral Prize, Jorge Teillier (1935–1996) spent much of his adult life working as a reviewer and journalist for many of Chile’s leading magazines and newspapers. Translator Carolyne Wright is also an award-winning poet.

Outstanding Translation of the Year, 1993
AMERICAN LITERARY TRANSLATORS ASSOCIATION