Though universally acclaimed for his dazzling fictions, Jorge Luis Borges always considered himself first and foremost a poet. This new bilingual selection brings together some two hundred poems--the largest collection of Borges' poetry ever assembled in English, including scores of poems never previously translated. Edited by Alexander Coleman, the selection draws from a lifetime's work--from Borges' first published volume of verse, Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923), to his final work, Los Conjurados, published just a year before his death in 1986. Throughout this unique collection the brilliance of the Spanish originals is matched by luminous English versions by a remarkable cast of translators, including Robert Fitzgerald, Stephen Kessler, W. S. Merwin, Alastair Reid, Mark Strand, Charles Tomlinson, and John Updike.
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During his life, Jorge Luis Borges wore many hats. He was, variously, a poet, an essayist, a short-story writer, a librarian, and, for a short time, a poultry inspector. Born in Argentina in 1899, he lived for several years in Europe before eventually returning home to Buenos Aires in the early 1920s. It was here that Borges started his career as a writer. At the age of 24, he published his first volume of poetry, and though he would go on to garner considerable acclaim as an essayist and crafter of fiction, he always considered himself first and foremost a poet. This bilingual edition of Selected Poems, edited by Alexander Coleman, gathers together 200 poems from different periods of Borges's life, including some that will be appearing in English for the first time.
Whether he was writing fiction, essays, or poetry, there were certain themes and subjects that Borges returned to time and again. His home town became a favourite topic--in his first collection, Fervor de Buenos Aires, he wrote: "My soul is in the streets / of Buenos Aires," a sentiment that remained constant throughout his life. This collection reveals other preoccupations as well--with history in all its permutations, Borges's own ancestry, and his fascination with metaphysics, mazes, mirror images, and the blurry line between parallel realities:
The celibate white cat surveys himself in the mirror's clear-eyed glass, not suspecting that the whiteness facing him and those gold eyes that he's not seen before in ramblings through the house are his own likeness. Who is to tell him the cat observing him is only the mirror's way of dreaming?This sumptuous companion volume to Andrew Hurley's new translation of Collected Fictions boasts a stellar cast of translators, including W.S. Merwin, Mark Strand, and John Updike among others. Admirers of Borges will find Selected Poems a fitting memorial to the great man; and for those have never had the pleasure of reading him before, this book is a wonderful introduction. -- Alix Wilber About the Author:
Jorges Luis Borges was born in Buenos Aires in 1899 and educated in Europe. One of the most widely acclaimed writers of our time, he published many collections of poems, essays and short stories, before his death in Geneva in June 1986. In 1961 Borges shared the International Publishers' Prize with Samuel Beckett. The Ingram Merrill Foundation granted him its Annual Literary Award in 1966 for his 'outstanding contribution to literature'. In 1971 Columbia University awarded him the first of many degrees of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa that he was to receive from the English-speaking world. In 1971 he received the fifth biennial Jerusalem Prize and in 1973 was given the Alfonso Reyes Prize, one of Mexico's most prestigious cultural awards. In 1980 he shared the Cervantes Prize (the Spanish world's highest literary accolade) with Gerardo Diego. Borges was Director of the Argentine National Library from 1955 until 1973. In a tribute to Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa wrote: 'His is a world of clear, pure, and at the same time unusual ideas... expressed in words of great directness and restraint. [He] was a superb storyteller. One reads most of Borges' tales with the hypnotic interest usually reserved for reading detective fiction ...'Several volumes of his work are published in Penguin.
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