"El cielo estrellado es como una ciudad de noche..."

A sequence of poems from my manuscript Caracas Notebook can be read online here. They're in this month's edition of the magazine Famous Reporter.


Reading what might be a definitive edition of Ernesto Cardenal's poetry, published in Santiago de Chile in 2002 by Editorial Andrés Bello. Beginning with "Hora 0" in 1960

"Noches tropicales de Centroamérica,
con lagunas y volcanes bajo la luna
y luces de palacios presidenciales,
cuarteles y tristes toques de queda."

through the book-length "El telescopio en la noche oscura" from 1993. Cardenal in a decades-wide view, his influence on Dalton, especially the epic effort of his two prose works, the testimonial Miguel Mármol (1972) and the posthumous novel Pobrecito poeta que era yo (1976).

I'm writing a version of the essay on Roberto Bolaño and Roque Dalton, how Pobrecito poeta que era yo influences Los detectives salvajes and 2666 (funereal masterpiece with a dim Baudelaire epigraph).

In the interview with Martha Kornblith by Rafael Arráiz Lucca I translated, she speaks of Ernesto Cardenal's influence on her writing, the Marilyn Monroe poem with the telephone image she borrows in Oraciones para un dios ausente. I don't coincide with Cardenal these days, on Venezuela for instance. But his trilogy memoir is a great read, an era's cultural history recorded and contextualized. Reading Edmund Wilson, To the Finland Station (1940), whose 1971 introduction opens: "It is all too easy to idealize a social upheaval which takes place in some other country than one's own. "

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