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Selected Poems (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 7 Sep 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Bilingual Ed edition (7 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • ISBN-10: 0141181117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141181110
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

During his life, Jorge Luis Borges wore many hats. He was, variously, a poet, an essayist, a short-story writer, a librarian, and, for a short time, a poultry inspector. Born in Argentina in 1899, he lived for several years in Europe before eventually returning home to Buenos Aires in the early 1920s. It was here that Borges started his career as a writer. At the age of 24, he published his first volume of poetry, and though he would go on to garner considerable acclaim as an essayist and crafter of fiction, he always considered himself first and foremost a poet. This bilingual edition of Selected Poems, edited by Alexander Coleman, gathers together 200 poems from different periods of Borges's life, including some that will be appearing in English for the first time.

Whether he was writing fiction, essays, or poetry, there were certain themes and subjects that Borges returned to time and again. His home town became a favourite topic--in his first collection, Fervor de Buenos Aires, he wrote: "My soul is in the streets / of Buenos Aires," a sentiment that remained constant throughout his life. This collection reveals other preoccupations as well--with history in all its permutations, Borges's own ancestry, and his fascination with metaphysics, mazes, mirror images, and the blurry line between parallel realities:

The celibate white cat surveys himself in the mirror's clear-eyed glass, not suspecting that the whiteness facing him and those gold eyes that he's not seen before in ramblings through the house are his own likeness. Who is to tell him the cat observing him is only the mirror's way of dreaming?
This sumptuous companion volume to Andrew Hurley's new translation of Collected Fictions boasts a stellar cast of translators, including W.S. Merwin, Mark Strand, and John Updike among others. Admirers of Borges will find Selected Poems a fitting memorial to the great man; and for those have never had the pleasure of reading him before, this book is a wonderful introduction. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Though universally acclaimed for his dazzling fictions, Jorge Luis Borges always considered himself first and foremost a poet. A decade before writing his earliest stories, Borges published his first book of poems. And even in that precocious debut, the twenty-four-year-old poet claimed for himself the principal themes that would preoccupy him for the next half century: the cult of his ancestors and his "mysterious habit called Buenos Aires"; the enigma of time and the many yesterdays of history; the metaphysics of Schopenhauer and Berkeley; the now-familiar mirrors, mazes, and swords.

This new bilingual selection brings together some two hundred poems -- the largest collection of Borges' poetry ever assembled in English, including scores of poems never previously translated. Edited by Alexander Coleman, the selection draws from a lifetime's work -- from Borges's first published volume of verse, Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923), to his final work, Los conjurados, published just a year before his death in 1986. Throughout this unique collection the brilliance of the Spanish originals is matched by luminous English versions rendered by a remarkable cast of translators: Willis Barnstone, Alexander Coleman, Robert Fitzgerald, Stephen Kessler, Kenneth Krabbenhoft, Eric McHenry, W. S. Merwin, Alastair Reid, Hoyt Rogers, Mark Strand, Charles Tomlinson, Alan S. Trueblood, and John Updike.

When Penguin published Andrew Hurley's new translation of Borges' Collected Fictions last year, the book was hailed in The New York Times as "an event, a cause for celebration". Now, the celebration continues with Selected Poems, the second installment in Penguin's three-volume edition of Borges' collectedworks in English. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Throughout the numerous biographical volumes I have read relating to Borges, his poetry was mentioned to varying degrees; some emphasizing his self-conception as a poet first and foremost, others making nothing more than brief reference to his poetry. At last I have found an excellent volume compiling- I think- nearly all his poetic works, and as any fan of the master would expect, they are magical. His use of original imagery, the clarity with which he constructs his world, are, as always, a joy to observe. The fact that the book includes the original Spanish versions adds to the value of the compilation; although I cannot understand Spanish, the sense of how Borges constructed each piece is made transparent to the reader and adds, if not to their comprehension, to their satisfaction at watching Borges at work. Nothing more needs to be said of this superlative collection of an often-ignored facet of one of the greatest writers of his time.
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