January 31st, 2011 / 6:44 pm

15 random sentences from Raúl Zurita’s Song for his Disappeared Love

15. Now Zurita – he said – now that you got in here into our nightmares, through pure verse and guts: can you tell me where my son is?

14. It’s not tough not the solitude, nothing has happened and my sleep rises and falls as usual.

13. Now everyone is fallen except for us the fallen.

12. From there the wind blew across the inexistent pampas and as it settled the massacred faces became visible, Amen.

11. For his disappeared love he went form hole to hole, grave to grave, searching for the eyes that don’t find.

10. Everything dies sucking itself.

9. Tomb that changes – it reads- with the color of the eyes of the searcher.

8. When not even one was left it exploded, singing the way he sings to his love the song of the disappeared.

7. Long brown plains undulated, but it wasn’t the wind, but rather the tanks and the love-thirst that moved.

6. The countries sunk in silence but beneath the niches one heard the sound of rivers and beneath the rivers the scream of the fleeing Indians.

5. From torture to torture, disappearance to extermination, a hole was left and it was like the aforementioned countries and the night had nowhere to fall and neither did the day.

4. There was a trial and a sentence, we crossed the other niches and in front of our country’s the psalm exploded.

3. We dragged ourselves a bit between the fallen bodies to stay together one next to the other.

2. I collapsed at your side thinking that I was the one who threw myself over you.

1. Now the entire universe is you and I minus you and I.

Raúl Zurita’s Song for his Disappeared Love is available here.

These sentences are entirely inadequate in portraying the glamour, glory, and ache of Zurita’s verse. Thank you, Action Books, for publishing and translating etc.

If you are at AWP, please, go hear him read. He is a wonder.

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  1. steven

      Great book & I hope to catch his reading at AWP.

  2. deadgod

      11. “he went from hole to hole” – ??

      – though ‘from’ would be a constructive typo of ‘form’, a typo disclosing construction.

  3. Diana

      Translated by Daniel Borzutzky.

  4. Todd Colby

      I want this book.

  5. JackM

      Sorry to dissent, but it looks like pretentious crap disguised as prose to me.

  6. ryan downey

      Dissent seems like an unintentionally apt choice of words there. This book, after all, chronicles the injustices, detainment, and government sponsored murders of far too many Chileans under the regime of Pinochet (while simultaneously expressing solidarity with other victims of violence and human rights violations). Insofar as pretentiousness means putting on airs or attempting to lend more importance or dignity to one’s actions or interests, the label utterly fails here. Zurita is not a tween tweeting angsty poems in a coffee shop tweaking on the latest coffee-based-dessert drink. He is a survivor, activist, and talented poet who has had the misfortune to bear witness to much loss and grief in his life. And he persists humbly, and with dignity.

  7. Jack M

      I have no knowledge of the author or the book itself, I was merely commenting on the excerpts printed here. My opinion remains. It is either pretentious crap or it loses something in the translation.

  8. ryan downey

      I have no knowledge. I am a lazy reader. MY OPINION! Binary-Judge-Judy-ruling.

      The internet 2011.

  9. Jack M

      You’re reading and posting on the internet 2011, too, but I guess you’re more sophisticated and intelligent than I. Don’t bother to leave any more snarky comments. I won’t pollute this thread any further. It’s not the appropriate forum for our petty disagreements anyway.

  10. lily hoang

      yup. my typo! thanks for the catch, deadgod.

  11. lily hoang

      thanks for the note, diana. yes, translated beautifully by Daniel Borzutzky.

  12. lily hoang

      You’re welcome to your own opinion, Jack, keeping in mind that these are random sentences. I urge you to try out the whole book, rather than judge it based on sentences I picked and offered here without context. I can assure you that Zurita’s book is anything BUT “pretentious crap.” In fact, it is completely unpretentious. It is a book of sorrow and loss. Look him up. He is a powerful figure, and his book is a rarity that succeeds in blending politics, memoir, history, intelligence, and simultaneously tender and grotesque verse.