Reviews - April 2012

A language bent to its own unique use

A review of 'Between Words: Juan Gelman's Public Letter'

Juan Gelman is an Argentine poet, born in 1930. Although he began writing and publishing at an early age, he seems to have received major recognition only rather late in life. In 1997 he won the Argentine National Poetry Prize, followed by several other prestigious awards, culminating with what’s considered the highest Spanish language literary award, the Cervantes Prize, in 2007.

On equal footing

A review of recent works by Urayoán Noel

T. Urayoán Noel performs at Illinois State, February 2011. University Galleries. Photo by Brian D. Collier.

The author of several books of poetry and translation, Urayoán Noel brings a satirical voice and a contemporary urban consciousness to the traditional notion that the poet will entertain and enlighten. The results, in his hands, are a well-done weird. Inevitably, they’re also compelling, and then a penny drops, and they provoke.

Seen from one perspective, his 2010 collection Hi-Density Politics (Buffalo: BlazeVOX) represents a shift from Noel’s earlier work. Its greater emphasis on process and constraint yields a new experience on the formal level, particularly where Noel has used new technologies to produce his teeming metropolis on the page. Yet Hi-Density Politics offers all the more when considered as an extension of his previous books, published in 2005 and 2008.