"In order to talk with the dead
you have to know how to wait:
they are fearful
like the first steps of a child.
But if we are patient
one day they will answer us
with a poplar leaf trapped in a broken mirror,
with a flame that suddenly revives in the fireplace,
with a dark return of birds
before the glance of a girl
who waits motionless on the threshold."
—from "In Order to Talk with the Dead"
Reared in the rainy forests of Chile's "La Frontera" region which had nurtured Pablo Neruda a generation earlier, Jorge Teillier has become one of Chile's leading contemporary poets, whose work is widely read in Latin America and Europe along with the poetry of his well-known contemporaries Nicanor Parra and Enrique Lihn. This English-Spanish bilingual anthology now introduces English-speaking readers to Teillier, with a representative selection of his best work from all phases of his career.
Carolyne Wright has translated poems from the volumes Muertes y maravillas (1971), Para un pueblo fantasma (1978), and Cartas para reinas de otras primaveras (1985). Avoiding the bravura effects of some of his contemporaries, Teillier writes from a life lived directly and simply, returning time and again in his poetry to the timeless and mythic South of his boyhood, the "Land of Nevermore."