César Vallejo – Trilce LV


One of the more daring poems of the collection, Trilce LV has aroused considerable dispute as to whether its form is that of a “prose poem”, which would mean that the lines get wrapped at the ends without consideration to the line-breaks, or whether it is not a prose poem, which would mean that those line-breaks are important & essential to the poetic therein.

Several critics, including González Vigil & Ortega have pointed out that the “enjambments”–line-breaks in the middle of a word –result in significant polysemies, polysemies than cannot be overlooked in the poetry of Vallejo, who is always so keen to double & triple meanings, to slight swaps of letters which result in homophones, etc.

I’m inclined to believe that the enjambments were deliberate & my translation reflects this. The way I see, the enjambments appeared as such in the first edition (1922), & since this is the edition my translation is based on, to a certain extent it doesn’t matter if they were intended or not, because that is how the text was printed. Clearly, this raises a question of authorship, but, with the time I have spent on Trilce, I have increasingly become more loyal to the reader of Trilce– in Spanish &/or in English –than I have been to its author. Below, you’ll find the Spanish version of the poem:

Trilce LV

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