Peruvian poet and novelist Antonio Cisneros began his distinguished writing career while still a student. Early in his career, Cisneros was influenced by American beat literature and inspired by its ironic gestures and everyday sound. Later, he focused on political issues to counteract his experiences in an increasing repressive Latin-American society. He held many teaching positions at universities all over the world. He published over 20 collections of poems and two works of prose. He was awarded the lifetime achievement Gabriela Mistral Prize in Mexico in 2000. He passed away on October 6, 2012.

Books by Antonio Cisneros

At Night the Cats

Antonio Cisneros was considered one of the foremost poets in Latin America. His first collection of poetry Royal Commentaries was published in 1964 when he was 22. This book contains work from Royal Commentaries and five following collections.

“The strength of these terse and laconic poems lay in their irony and precise language.  Through them Cisneros explored Peru’s historical past, exploding certain popular myths, satirizing the official textbook version of history and attacking the Conquerors, the Church and Vice-royalty; bureaucracy and patriotic clichés alike.”
from Translating Cisneros by David Tipton

From A Soldier

 

After the battle

there was nowhere to pile up

the dead,

so dirty and hollow-eyed, scattered

over the grass like leavings

from this tough fight,

the swollen and yellowed heroes

are littered among the stones

and disemboweled horses

stretched out beneath the dawn.

 

I mean that dead comrades

are the same

as any other edible things

after a battle, and soon

a hundred brown birds

will flock upon their corpses

until the grass is clean.

 

from At Night the Cats

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