At Night the Cats by Antonio Cisneros

At Night the Cats—Antonio Cisneros (edited and translated from the Spanish by Maureen Ahern, William Rowe and David Tipton) with an essay “Translating Cisneros” by David Tipton—a bilingual collection Hardback/199 pages/ISBN 978-87376-044-7

Antonio Cisneros is considered on 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

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. Antonio Cisneros held many teaching positions at universities all over the world. He published over 20 collections of poems and two works of prose. Antonio Cisneros was awarded the lifetime achievement Gabriela Mistral Prize in Mexico in 2000. He passed away on October 6, 2012.

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