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Immanent Visitor

Immanent Visitor: Selected Poems of Jaime Saenz, A Bilingual Edition

Kent Johnson
Forrest Gander
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Pages: 167
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  • Book Info
    Immanent Visitor
    Book Description:

    Immanent Visitoris the first English-language translation of the work of Bolivia's greatest and most visionary twentieth-century poet. Apoète maudit,Jaime Saenz rejected the conventions of polite society and became a monk in service of his own imagination. Apocalyptic and occult in his politics, a denizen of slum taverns, unashamedly bisexual, insistently nocturnal in his artistic affairs, and secretive in his leadership of a select group of writers, Saenz mixed the mystical and baroque with the fantastic, the psychological, and the symbolic. In masterly translations by two poet-translators, Kent Johnson and Forrest Gander, Saenz's strange, innovative, and wildly lyrical poems reveal a literary legacy of fierce compassion and solidarity with indigenous Bolivian cultures and with the destitute, the desperate, and the disenfranchised of that unreal city, La Paz. In long lines, in odes that name desire, with Whitmanesque anaphora, in exclamations and repetitions, Saenz addresses the reader, the beloved, and death in one extended lyrical gesture. The poems are brazenly affecting. Their semantic innovation is notable in the odd heterogeneity of formal and tonal structures that careen unabashedly between modes and moods; now archly lyrical, now arcanely symbolic, now colloquial, now trancelike. As Saenz's reputation continues to grow throughout the world, these inspired translations and the accompanying Spanish texts faithfully convey the poet's unique vision and voice to English-speaking readers.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93602-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. By Way of Introduction
    (pp. xi-xviii)

    Poet and novelist Jaime Saenz (1921—1986) lived his whole life in La Paz, Bolivia, seldom venturing beyond that thin-aired and scarcely believable city. His life was defined by an intense experience of alcoholism, a struggle, eventually lost, that was wedded to what Leonardo García-Pabón, one of the leading scholars on Saenz’s work, has called a “monastic” dedication to writing.¹ There was in his persona a near-total rejection of the social niceties and conventions of polite society. Quite to the letter, in fact, Saenz embodied, for much of his adult life, the late-Romantic idea of thepoète maudit—apocalyptic and...

  5. A Note on This Translation
    (pp. xix-xxii)

    • Anniversary of a Vision (1960)
      (pp. 3-14)
    • From As the Comet Passes (1970–1972)
      (pp. 15-24)
    • From The Scalpel (1955)
      (pp. 25-36)
    • To Cross This Distance (1973)
      (pp. 37-54)
    • From Immanent Visitor (1964)
      (pp. 55-69)

    • Aniversario de una visión (1960)
      (pp. 73-84)
    • De Al pasar un cometa (1970–1972)
      (pp. 85-94)
    • De El escalpelo (1955)
      (pp. 95-106)
    • Recorrer esta distancia (1973)
      (pp. 107-124)
    • De Visitante profundo (1964)
      (pp. 125-140)
  8. The Saenz Effect: An Afterword
    (pp. 141-145)
    Leonardo García-Pabón

    On the night of Jaime Saenz’s wake in August 1986, three friends, those closest and most loyal to his work, and a drunk acquaintance of Jaime’s who had fallen asleep in a chair, stayed late to keep his body (and perhaps his soul) company. As we bid farewell, we imagined that he had finally arrived at the “state of death” that he always heralded as a path to true knowledge. To ease our loss, we spent the night reading aloud fragments of his writings. I bring up this moment because it seems to have presaged the way many people currently...

  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 146-146)