Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Kessler’

Sonnets From a Vague Suburb

Monday, November 14th, 2011

The Sonnets
by Jorge Luis Borges
edited by Stephen Kessler
Penguin Books, 2010
336 pages / $18  Buy from Penguin Books, Buy from Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although justly famous in this country for his short fiction, Borges the poet remains largely unknown¬† to American readers. This dual-language collection of his sonnets can go a long way towards remedying that deficiency. From his early atmospheric verse in Fervor de Buenos Aires, to his late poems of aging, nostalgia and death, written in the penumbra of near total blindness, Borges left behind a remarkable body of poetic work. We are still waiting for the complete works of Borges to be translated into English, but meanwhile, translator and editor, Stephen Kessler, has collected all of Borges’ sonnets into a single volume. Most of these were written when Borges was on his way to total blindness. The sonnet as a form called out to him in its succinctness and melody. Like oral poets of old, he found formal devices aided his memory, and so he composed sonnets in his head. The content of the poems is eminently recognizable to readers of his prose: the evocativeness of run-down suburbs, dusk, the gaucho, the warrior, the labyrinths of reason, the mysteries of time, identity, and mirrors.

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