The Azure Cloister
This selection of poems by internationally renowned Peruvian poet Carlos Germán Belli tempers a dark, ironic vision of worldly injustice with the “red midnight sun” of hope. Belli’s contemplative verses express faith in language, in bodily joy, and in artistic form. These thirty-five poems explore public and domestic spaces of confinement and freedom, from paralysis to the ease of a bird in its “azure cloister.”
Translations by Karl Maurer retain Belli’s original meter, follow his complex syntax, and meet the challenges of his poetic language, which ranges from colloquial Peruvian slang to the ironic use of seventeenth-century Spanish. This bilingual edition also includes notes and reflections on Belli and on the art of translation. Beyond introducing American readers to a major presence in world poetry, The Azure Cloister offers a fresh approach to the translation of contemporary verse in Spanish.
Praise For The Azure Cloister: Thirty-Five Poems…
— Raúl Zurita, Chilean National Prize for Literature and Reina Sofia Prize for Ibero-American Poetry
"Belli attends to the emotional hues and ironies of contemporary life with the refined textures of the Spanish Baroque. His poems create dreams and landscapes of past and present where language and experience bear the traces of technological change. In this remarkable translation, as in Belli's originals, a range of linguistic registers, times and places are woven into a seamless tapestry, and every rhythm and accent matters. Maurer has managed to invent an English idiom that captures the subtleties of a poet who—along with César Vallejo and Blanca Varela—is one of Peru's very greatest."
— Efraín Kristal, distinguished professor of Spanish, Latin American, and Comparative Literature, UCLA
Swan Isle Press, 9780997228793, 140pp.
Publication Date: October 15, 2021
About the Author
Karl Maurer (1948–2005) was professor of classics at the University of Dallas. He is the author of Interpolation in Thucydides and has translated works by Borges, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Jacob Balde, and Virgil, among others.
Christopher Maurer is professor of Spanish at Boston University. He is editor and translator of Sebastian’s Arrows: Letters and Mementos of Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca, New Letters to a Young Poet by Joan Margarit, and The Complete Perfectionist by Juan Ramón Jiménez, all published by Swan Isle Press.