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In Order to Talk with the Dead

In Order to Talk with the Dead
Selected Poems of 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.

Series: Clásicos/Clássicos Latin American Masterpieces in English

January 1993
This is a print-on-demand title. Expedited shipping is not available.
167 pages | 6 x 9 |

"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."



Outstanding Translation of the Year, 1993

  • 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.


“Teillier was fortunate that Carolyne Wright... discovered his work, for she has brought to his moving, delicately modulated poems a sympathy and a sureness of touch that have resulted in highly readable, faithful translations.”
Texas Books In Review