"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."
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.