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The Romantic Dogs Paperback – 4 Mar 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (4 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • ISBN-10: 0330510673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330510677
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 600,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'[there is] a defiant, seductive confidence to his poetic voice.' --Financial Times

'Bolaño, the phantom mega-star of global fiction since his death in 2003, thought of himself as a poet first and a novelist second. Yet his bilingual edition of 44 poems from the Eighties will lead fans to some familiar terrain. In verse, as in prose, Bolaño leads us on journeys through a surreal landscape of exile, longing and nostalgia.' --Independent

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‘Wonderfully unreserved’ New York Review of Books

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Format: Paperback
If you've read Bolano's novels you'll know he's a poet. Recent folklore suggests he only started writing novels because he became a father and mortality started knocking at his door - he died from cancer aged just 50. But, and here's the rub, his novels are poems - elongated albeit, poet-centric definitely, but sprawling poems nevertheless. So why am I seemingly the first reviewer of these shiny gem-seeds?

A reviewer on the back cover states their attraction appears in an 'unfinished' state - not so. You should buy this brilliant slim bi-lingual edition for the pure vagabond nature of their composition. This is not European poetry re-formatted for exam success, it's an articulation of a voice who believes in shifting and can convert this essential kinetic energy into something both shudderingly knowable and, at the same time, transient.

I'm a middle aged bloke who, rather sadly, boasts a poetry collection of maybe some 200 volumes but this is the ONE. Get it for so many reasons; a truly South (not North) American perspective; a real excuse not to buy the many biographies that shall surely follow ([[ASIN:0330509527 The Savage Detectives]does this admirably} but also, maybe just maybe, you know a dislocated potential reader of poetry, someone who wants to kick against the pricks of establishment literature, someone who wants to savour the salacious underbelly of an unsettled lifestyle. Maybe it's you?

The good news is there's more to come. Savour an unheralded masterpiece.
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Format: Paperback
This poetry is very advanced, with layers and layers of meaning, but at the same time it has the potential to enchant people that aren't normally into poetry. Take some time, imagine the scenes and truly enjoy this wonderful collection from the novelist who always wanted to be a poet if it wasn't for the fact that he had children to provide for.
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Format: Paperback
The book I purchased was lost in the mail somehow... I contacted the company after it did not arrive on the last due date and they contacted me that same day. They gave me whatever option I wanted to deal with the missing of my book and the delay. They re-sent the book. I am dissappointed that there were so many complications with my purchase, but give the company and overall experience a 4 because they responded so quickly and had great customer service.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.6 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Savage Consistency 6 Feb. 2009
By Keith W. Harvey - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With "2666," Roberto Bolano is now a sensation in the United States. "2666" is a remarkable book, full of engrossing narratives; however, I find "The Romantic Dogs" in some respects more satisfying.

It is common knowledge that Bolano considered himself first and foremost a poet and I believe he is right, although his fame here in America will derive from his fiction.

Many reviewers have spent all their time talking about Bolano and Chile, as if "The Romantic Dogs" is only a political book. However, I wonder if the reviewers made it past the first poem. Yes, there are poems that make reference to political events but how can a Latin American not be political. However, politics are only a part of the soup of existence. Bolano writes about being in the sense that a philosopher writes about being.

"The Romantic Dogs" is an amazingly cohesive work. This is not a collection of poems written as one-offs. Instead, the poems hold together through various rhetorical devices: repetition of images, symbols, and themes.

The overall theme of the work is the shortness of life, the cruelty of illness, the fragility of existence, and the the beauty of poetry.

Unifying images are dreams, blackness, white worms, snow, cars, motorcycles, burros, films, detectives.

Bolano announces in the first poem of the collection that the dream of poetry opened up the void of his spirit and accompanied him through his life.

The first poem of the collection, "The Romantic Dogs," announces this theme. "I'd lost a country/but won a dream." He adumbrates the importance of poetry in the penultimate poem of the collection "Muse:" "she's the guardian angel/ of our prayers./ She's the dream that recurs."

"The Romantic Dogs" presents a brave story--because ultimately Bolano is a dramatic poet--of a dying poet fighting to remain here in being "with the romantic dogs."
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 6 Jun. 2016
By paulo prudencio - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing book!
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I Admire the Poet's Prose ... 6 July 2010
By Gio - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In fact, I regard several of Roberto Bolaño's highly original prose works as major masterpieces of our times. There are passages in "Distant Star" and "By Night in Chile" that could be clipped and recast as 'found poems', and that would resonate more poetically than any of the pieces in this collection. Bolaño's prose, I have to say, is more musical than his poetry, and a lot more "thought-provoking," yet Bolaño himself is supposed to have declared more satisfaction with his poems than with his novels. Of course, writers aren't always the best judges of their own works.

This is a bi-lingual edition, by the way. If you are able to read Spanish, you'll find that "much is lost" in the translations of his complex prose to English. Hardly anything is lost in the translation of these poems. For sure, there are lines that sound better in Spanish, but curiously there are also lines that sound better in English. Bolaño eschews any and all forms of beautification of language in his verse. His style is remarkably close to that of the Beat poets of the American '50s, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, Peter Orlovsky, and others, though Bolaño is even grimmer and deliberately coarser and never approaches the 'fireworks' of language that Allen Ginsburg achieved in 'Howl' and other poems. I'd say he's a second-tier Beat poet at best. Of course he had "other fish to fry" and other traditions to defy. Whereas Kerouac as a poet had Robert Lowell to try to dethrone, Bolaño had Pablo Neruda as his poetic antithesis, and it's clear that a love/hate obsession drove Bolaño to attempt above all to besmirch and scarify the Apollonian beauty of Neruda's lyricism.

Obviously I don't much favor Bolaño's poetic intentions, but I could overcome that prejudice and admire his craft, as I admire the craft of Cavafy, for instance, without much enjoying the poems, but for one large problem: I don't find much craft in these 'canine' yelps. Bolaño's defiantly 'rough' poetry seems pathetically juvenile and petty to me.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you think Bolano's fiction is good... 26 Jan. 2009
By J. D. Willis - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Roberto Bolano the novelist/fiction writer is often wordy, ambiguous, lengthy (in the cases of The Savage Detetives and 2666), obscene, and utterly lacking resolution. He also wrote some of the best fiction of the past twenty years and is fantastic in his portrayal of the human condition.

Bolano took to writing to writing fiction as a means to support his family, but his greatest love was always poetry. He died considering himself a poet. In one interview he said, "I blush less when I reread my poetry."

After reading this collection, I understand why he always preferred poetry as an art form. Bolano as novelist is good, but Bolano as poet is everything good about his fiction plus his raw, emotive poet voice.

In short, this is some of the best poetry I've ever read. Get this. Although short, only 77+ pages (the side of the page is in Spanish, for the bilingual people), each poem in this volume stands up to repeated readings.

Highly recommended.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bolano Bolano Bolano 21 Nov. 2012
By Christopher J. H. Lambert - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The coolest part to me about Bolano's poetry, imagery aside, is how characters and ideas and themes that spill from one poem into the next. You can see how he was already creating narratives. This serves as a stepping stone to "Antwerp" which is the beginning of Bolano's fiction-verse.

I don't know how much I like this translation, though. One, I'm a poet. Two, I've studied Spanish. I'm no expert, but I know the basic grammar rules. I just don't agree with a lot of the translator's line breaks. And I think some of the words are too...on the nose? But you get the essence of Bolano, which is enough. This makes me want to study Spanish more and release my own translation.
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