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Cover for Alliance and Condemnation / Alianza y Condena

Alliance and Condemnation / Alianza y Condena

Claudio Rodríguez, Philip W. Silver (Translated by)


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A splash of sea foam. A sly sparrow. A man dodging the rain. From such mundane, unexpected moments, Spanish poet Claudio Rodríguez crafted his 1965 Alliance and Condemnation, a collection of poems that temper the joy of existence—the “bounty that turns my flawed breath into prayer”—with a questioning of empirical reality. In these pages are poems of love and hate, contrition and forgiveness, and the joys of sorrow and existence. Many of the poems are essentially parables that seem to address the immediacy of the world yet point beyond it toward philosophical and eternal values. The result is a conjoining of the real and the ideal, a frequent theme in Spanish literature. Many of these poems bridge the distance between the Spanish mystics, among them Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa, and the nature poetry of romanticism.

Of all his creations, the radiant poems in Alliance and Condemnation offer the best imaginable introduction to his extraordinary life and work.

Praise For Alliance and Condemnation / Alianza y Condena

“Abstract yet colloquial, Claudio Rodríguez’s poetry is not easily rendered into English. Philip W. Silver’s splendid translations, as precise as they are idiomatic, not only do full justice to the originals but demonstrate why Rodríguez is one of modern Spain’s greatest poets."—Gustavo Pérez-Firmat, Columbia University
— Gustavo Pérez-Firmat, Columbia University

“Ever since I first read Rain and Grace in Philip W. Silver’s deft translation, I have valued the humanity, vision, and quirky expression of Claudio Rodríguez, a poet who leads us, again and again, to moments of clarity and delight. How wonderful to know that this poet’s work, in these brilliant translations, will now reach a wider audience.”
— David Young, Oberlin College, editor of FIELD

“Philip W. Silver is the right English translator for Claudio Rodríguez. . . . Read this remarkable poet in Spanish or English and you will be equally moved and illumined."

— Willis Barnstone, translator of The Poems of St. John of the Cross, author of Stickball on 88th Street

“Both emotionally intimate and universal, tender and filled with religious and political inferences that never feels affected. . . .  There will never be enough of this kind of poetry, and it is rewarding to read aloud and memorize, so that it enters brain and body promising the almost speech rewards that come with the intake of such music.”
— The Rumpus

Winner, 2020
— Queen Sofia Spanish Institute (QSSI) Translation Prize

Swan Isle Press, 9780983322023, 180pp.

Publication Date: December 15, 2014

About the Author

Claudio Rodríguez (1934–99) was a critically acclaimed Spanish poet of the latter half of the twentieth century.

Philip W. Silver is distinguished professor emeritus at Columbia University and the author of several books, including Ruin and Restitution: Reinterpreting Romanticism in Spain.