The Exile Notebooks

Rafael Cadenas wrote his book Los Cuadernos del destierro while he was living in Trinidad in the 1950s, as an exile from the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez.

His collected poems and prose were recently published in Mexico as Obra entera: Poesía y prosa (1958-1995) (México D.F. : Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2000). I'd like to post translations of several poems from Los cuadernos del destierro later this week.

Cadenas' prose poems in this book evoke Rimbaud's Une saison en enfer, to a degree. Cadenas always remains lucid, however, in this crystalline collection. After a prolific period in the 1960s, Cadenas refrained from publishing for several years and emerged with a pared down style, which he continues to develop today. While he has recently been disparaged by members of the current administration for his vocal opposition to the Venezuelan government, Cadenas is one of our living masters. His poetry requires an extended silence, and in return it grants us wider vision.

I also intend to post translations of excerpts from an interview with Rafael Cadenas: María Ramírez Ribes, Conversaciones con Rafael Cadenas (Caracas: Editorial Pequeña Venecia, 1997).

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