In Fernando Valverde’s América, “sorrow is ancient.” Mournfully lyrical, politically sharp, with a sweeping view of American roots, dysfunctions, and ideals―as if from above, and yet also from within―this is a book that deconstructs the legacy of empire. From the Mississippi River to Fulton Avenue, from slavery to “lone wolf” shooters, Valverde grieves but does not wince away from all that is lost to greed and a culture of violence, painting an urgent portrait of “the thirst of America / a smile satisfied to death.” Valverde is widely regarded as one of the most important younger Spanish-language poets. Here his vibrant voice and convictions are translated and introduced by Carolyn Forché, herself a world-renowned poet of witness. Bilingual, with Spanish originals and English translations.

ISBN: 9781556596223

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Fernando Valverde has been voted the most relevant Spanish-language poet born since 1970 by nearly two hundred critics and researchers from more than one hundred international universities (Harvard, Oxford, Columbia, Princeton, Bologna, Salamanca and the Sorbonne). His books have been published in different countries in Europe and America and translated into several languages. He has received some of the most significant awards for poetry in Spanish, among them the Federico García Lorca, the Emilio Alarcos del Principado de Asturias, and the …

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About the Translator

Carolyn Forché’s first book of poetry, Gathering the Tribes, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, and was followed by The Country Between Us, The Angel of History, and Blue Hour. In March, 2020, Penguin Press published her fifth collection of poems, In the Lateness of the World. She is also the author of the memoir What You Have Heard Is True (Penguin Press, 2019), a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Juan E. Mendez …

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America is a look at America from the perspective of a poet whose first language is Spanish (but who is bilingual). Diving into the history of the nation, these poems are not afraid to describe the darker shades of the past and of reality nowadays. Valverde also ties in his own ideas about learning another language and what language, in general, can do for society, how it can open perspectives up and open a dialogue between two people who, at first, seemed different. Though the history of America is fraught with difficulties and accomplishments, Valverde handles the hurdles with ease and honesty. It is this honesty and insight into life that makes the reading rewarding.”—Virginia Living

“Valverde’s sharp meditation on the state of mind of a nation reeling from its historical contradictions and moral failings is startling. …what we miss, Valverde captures, re-energizing our perception of what becomes commonplace, no matter how horrific.” —Booklist

“Valverde with the gait and melodies of Lorca, with the brush of Dalí, where we blur between death skulls and majestic singers simultaneously, he goes, with his coat pockets stitched with murmurs of ancient prophets, and his lips parched with the thirsts of Whitman — relentless, he witnesses, he notes and measures somehow, the vast ruptures across our paradox called “America.” Forché’s incredible harmony with Valverde’s voices, space-time perception, affinities and depth is miraculous.  This collection is the face that rises before us, a smoldering rage that builds from the distance into our being of the Now. It’s a big crushing book you cannot put down.”Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, Emeritus

“Carolyn Forché is, of course, the perfect translator of the lyricism, moral responsibility, and expansive intelligence of Fernando Valverde’s America, an artistic record of one man’s sojourn down “the road that leads to fear, / that which is inevitable, /  the agony that drags itself along like a reptile.” These are powerful poems of international importance!”—  Jericho Brown
“Fernando Valverde is the most international poet of his generation. His poetry draws from the best sources of lyricism and is an example of modernity and tradition, of wisdom and emotion.” — Luis García Montero 
“Fernando Valverde is one of the most dazzling poets writing in Spanish today. In America, he shows the vivifying power of language, its deep sound and rhythm, its mysterious resonances, without forgetting the real, raising a fresco of a quality that honors his readers. No one can deny this triumph of poetry.” — Raúl Zurita
“Between Valverde and Forché there is an alignment of sound, sense, and sensibility. Both are poets of witness that work with long lines. Throughout most of the book, Forché follows Valverde’s syntax. This lets us see both Valverde’s absorption of American poetry, his search, as he notes in the introduction, to develop a more American phrasing, and the care taken by Forché in her translations. . . . If expat poetry looks homeward, Valverde in America, through a deep dive into the history and psyche of the US, tries to build a house in which to dwell while far from home.” Good River Review