Poemas y ensays de Pierre Joris

Introducción por Ernesto Livón Grosman, traducción y notas por Mario Domínguez Parra y Joseph Mulligan

La Otra, Available here

mawqif-200x310Pierre Joris dejó Luxemburgo a los diecinueve años y desde entonces vivió en Gran Bretaña, África del Norte, Francia y en los Estados Unidos. Desde 1992 enseña cursos de poética en la universidad del estado de Nueva York (SUNY at Albany). Ha publicado numerosos libros de poesía, entre ellos Poasis: Selected Poems 1986-1999, y varias antologías (entre las más recientes Poems for the Millennium, volumen 1 y 2, A University of California Book of Modern & Postmodern Poetry), que realizó en colaboración con Jerome Rothenberg.

Joris también cuenta con una vasta obra como traductor, la cual incluye traducciones de libros de Abdelwahab Meddeb, Paul Celan, Maurice Blanchot, Edmond Jabès, Habib Tengour, Tchicaya U’Tamsi y Kurt Schwitters, entre otros. Joris posee la rara cualidad de poner en diálogo por lo menos cuatro culturas y otras tantas lenguas, no sólo a partir de sus traducciones del francés y del alemán al inglés, sino también de lo que él ha dado en llamar una poética de lo nómade.

The Antiquarian

A novel by Gustavo Faverón Patriau

Translated from the Spanish by Joseph Mulligan

Grove / Atlantic, Available here


Three years have passed since Gustavo, a renowned psycholinguist, last spoke to his closest friend Daniel, who’s been interned in a mental institution for murdering his fiance. When Daniel unexpectedly calls to confess what really happened, Gustavo’s long-buried loyalty resurfaces and draws him into the center of a quixotic, unconventional investigation. As Daniel reveals his story through fragments of fables, novels, and historical allusions, Gustavo begins to retrace the past: from their early college days exploring dust-filled libraries and exotic brothels, to Daniel’s intimate attachment to his sickly younger sister and his dealings as an antiquarian book collector. As the clues grow more macabre and more intricate with every turn, an increasingly skeptical Gustavo is forced to deduce a complex series of events from allegories that are more real than police reports, and metaphors more revealing than evidence.

With sumptuous prose and haunting imagery, Gustavo Faverón Patriau has crafted an unforgettable labyrinthine tale about the reality of human suffering, the healing power of stories, and the strength of fraternal bonds. The Antiquarian is a masterfully conceived, engrossing novel of murder, madness, and passion that is as entertaining as it is erudite, dark as it is illuminating.

Poems for the Milenium Volume Four: The University of California Book of North African Poetry

Edited by Pierre Joris and Habib Tengour

(“Western Sahara,”Trans. and comments,  Joseph Mulligan, pp. 453-466)

University of California Press, Available here

poemsformillIn this fourth volume of the landmark Poems for the Millennium series, Pierre Joris and Habib Tengour present a comprehensive anthology of the written and oral literatures of the Maghreb, the region of North Africa that spans the modern nation states of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania, and including a section on the influential Arabo-Berber and Jewish literary culture of Al-Andalus, which flourished in Spain between the ninth and fifteenth centuries. Beginning with the earliest pictograms and rock drawings and ending with the work of the current generation of post-independence and diasporic writers, this volume takes in a range of cultures and voices, including Berber, Phoenician, Jewish, Roman, Vandal, Arab, Ottoman, and French. Though concentrating on oral and written poetry and narratives, the book also draws on historical and geographical treatises, philosophical and esoteric traditions, song lyrics, and current prose experiments. These selections are arranged in five chronological “diwans” or chapters, which are interrupted by a series of “books” that supply extra detail, giving context or covering specific cultural areas in concentrated fashion. The selections are contextualized by a general introduction that situates the importance of this little-known culture area and individual commentaries for nearly each author.

Against Professional Secrets

by César Vallejo, translated by Joseph Mulligan

Roof Books, New York, 2011 (100 pp.). Available here.

César Vallejo is indispensable to the Latin American experimental tradition and one of the first Peruvian poets to become a reference point for American writers. Vallejo’s Poemas humanos and Trilce opened up a dialogue between North and South American poets. In Against Professional Secrets Vallejo cannibalizes the European tradition and transforms it into an American experience. Joseph Mulligan’s exceptional translation opens up that dialogue to English, to a new readership, and to the Present.

—Ernesto Livon Grosman

These small (by word-count only) proses by the great Peruvian avant-gardista César Vallejo carry the master’s unmistakable meandering complexity of language and thought, of language in thought. These meditations are “answers without questions which are the spirit of art and the dialectic consciousness of things.” Into these not very Borgesian fictions, Vallejo is able to insert a rocky, rollicking, mestizoed “r”  — thus making for abrasive thinking, for to cleanse your moral palate you need fricative pumice stone, not soft soap-opera-ted fictive ablations. Vallejo is wont to upend familiar expectations, so let us take him at his word and suggest (as he does in relation to Baudelaire) that his writing pounces not like a cat, because the cat “has malice in all its paws,” but moves, thinks and writes like a bat, the animal that, he says, brings “wisdom in shadows.” This is so because the bat, like Vallejo’s writing, is “able to perform upward falls.”

—Pierre Joris

The prose pieces in Against Professional Secrets offer an oblique explanation for Vallejo’s eschewing the radical poetic experimentation of Trilce (1922) in favor of the limpidness of the work he wrote in Europe. A rebuke of the codes of confidentiality that certain professions, poetry included, require of its practitioners, Vallejo’s politic and poetic stance articulates itself throughout the volume: poetry cannot be for initiates. Motifs running through Trilce appear here reworked and accessible. Language’s insufficiencies: “Might it not be that the words supposed to help me express myself in this case were spread throughout all the languages of the land and not only in one of them?” The autochthonous vs. the so-called universal: “Lorca is Andalucian. Why don’t I have the right to be Peruvian?” This is an essential, if overlooked, book in Vallejo’s corpus.

—Mónica de la Torre

Lo: Poems and Translations

by Joseph Mulligan

Hrire Grafel, Lima, 2005 (123p). Available here.


Mulligan’s first full length book of poetry, Lo represents a rigorous inquiry into meaning, how it is derived (in language), or rather, a study of the languages that meaning speaks. The final section of the book contains 15 translations from César Vallejo’s Trilce. Like the moment when land is espied after days out at sea, Lo is the poetic expression of not only viewing the image on the horizon, but seizing it, manipulating it, smelting it down and molding it anew.

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