César Vallejo was born in Peru in 1892. In 1921 he spent three months in prison where he wrote some of the poems in Trilce. In 1923 he left for Paris, where he co-founded a cell of the Peruvian Communist Party. He traveled to Russia, and to Spain during the Spanish Civil War. He died in Paris in 1938, in absolute poverty, devastated by the fall of the Spanish Republic.
Trilce, published the same year as Eliot's Waste Land and also masterpiece of early modernism, is a ground-breaking work that has had an indelible effect on all subsequent poetry in its language. It contains 77 poems considered to be Vallejo's most complex and radical work.
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"This is a poet's translation: rhythmical, with words often chosen for their sounds as well as their meanings . . . [It] also presents 'a newly established Spanish text,' and is destined to become a classic."—Publishers Weekly
"When Vallejo disarticulates Spanish he does so not out of complacency with his own strangeness, but because he has certain moral and aesthetic truths to express and must utter them in an idion of his own making . . . Vallejo's deepest political impact lies here, in his re-creation of linguistic, and therefore social, order . . . Trilce abounds in neologisms, and Eshleman ushers a number of funky new verbs into English."—The New Republic
"Blake's Milton, Pope's Homer: for the poet the possessive is neither descriptive nor evaluative, but copulative, possessive. Clayton Eshleman earns his apostrophe."—Voice Literary Supplement
"[Eshleman's] versions are hard-earned and thoroughly tested . . . Struggling to read [Vallejo] in both Spanish and English is an invitation to learn [his] strange and disturbingly intimate idiolect. Clayton Eshleman's translation is an excellent point of departure."—Times Literary Supplement
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