Reading Room

The Azure Cloister Has Arrived!

We’re delighted to announce today that, at long last, THE AZURE CLOISTER has arrived at The University of Chicago Press Distribution Center. Now is a great time to pre-order — it won’t be long until the order is fulfilled. You can order directly from The University of Chicago Press, from Amazon, IndieBound, and other booksellers. As always, we encourage shopping local and frequenting your community library, too.

THE AZURE CLOISTER is a truly remarkable and inspiring volume of poetry by the distinguished Peruvian poet Carlos Germán Belli, exquisitely and sensitively translated by the late Professor Karl Maurer (1948-2015), and edited posthumously by his brother Professor Christopher Maurer (Boston University). This is the first major English translation of Carlos Germán Belli’s work.

Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize for Literature, says about these poems: “I began reading Belli when he published his first poems, back in the fifties, in a magazine called Mercurio Peruano, and I needed only to read those half dozen texts to feel that this was a new voice, of powerful lyrical worth and great imaginative audacity, capable — as only great poets are — of transforming ugliness into beauty, sadness into stimulation, and turning to gold — that is to poetry — whatever he touches. All that Carlos Germán Belli has written since then has only confirmed and enriched his extraordinary gift of poetry.”

THE AZURE CLOISTER is published in a bilingual edition. Learn more about Carlos Germán Belli from The Poetry Foundation.

Memories of Jewish Chile

Marjorie Agosín is speaking tonight (August 19, 2021) at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. This will be an exploration of Jewish life in Chile. But you don’t have to be in Maryland to enjoy it — the program will stream live on Facebook. More information can be found on the Jewish Museum of Maryland website.

Swan Isle Press has published two of Marjorie Agosín’s books, The Light of Desire | La Luz Del Deseo and The White Islands | Las Islas Blancas.

#OTD…Federico García Lorca

“It is thought that García Lorca was shot and killed by Nationalist militia on 19 August 1936. The author Ian Gibson in his book, The Assassination of García Lorca, argues that he was shot with three others (Joaquín Arcollas Cabezas, Francisco Galadí Melgar and Dióscoro Galindo González) at a place known as the Fuente Grande (‘Great Spring’) which is on the road between Víznar and Alfacar.”

“In my ‘Saint Sebastian’ I remember you,” Salvador Dali replied to Garcia Lorca, referring to the essay on aesthetics that Dali had just written, “. . . and sometimes I think he is you. Let’s see whether Saint Sebastian turns out to be you.’”

Sebastian’s Arrows: Letters and Mementos of Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca.

Edited, Translated, Annotated, & Prologue by Christopher Maurer (Boston University) 24 color plates.

This exchange is but a glimpse into the complex relationship between two renowned and highly influential twentieth-century artists. Written between 1925 and 1936, the letters and lectures bring to life a passionate friendship marked by a thoughtful dialogue on aesthetics and the constant interaction between poetry and painting. From their student days in Madrid’s Residencia de Estudiantes, where the two waged war against cultural “putrefaction” and mocked the sacred cows of Spanish art, Dali and Garcia Lorca exchanged thoughts on the act of creation, modernity, and the meaning of their art. The volume chronicles how in their poetic skirmishes they sharpened and shaped each other’s work—Garcia Lorca defending his verses of absence and elegy and his love of tradition while Dali argued for his theories of “Clarity” and “Holy Objectivity” and the unsettling logic of Surrealism. Christopher Maurer’s masterful prologue and selection of letters, texts, and images (many generously provided and with the support of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí and Fundación Federico García Lorca), offer compelling and intimate insights into the lives and work of two iconic artists. The two men had a “tragic, passionate relationship,” Dali once wrote—a friendship pierced by the arrows of Saint Sebastian.

Learn more.