Before Saying Any of the Great Words

David Huerta, Mark Schafer, trans.

This volume selects poems from across Huerta’s career and includes excerpts from the first-ever English translation of his monumental book-length poem, “Incurable,” which one critic called “a masterpiece of poetry in Spanish in the twentieth century.” Huerta has been a central figure in two of the most influential poetic movements in late-twentieth-century Latin America—the neobaroque movement and that of postmodern language poetry. His imagery, intertextuality, and dense lyricism remain unparalleled in Mexican letters. In 2005 he was awarded the prestigious Xavier Villaurrutia Prize for his lifelong contributions to Mexican literature.

ISBN: 9781556592874

Format: Paperback

About the Author

David Huerta was born and lived in Mexico City. He was a poet, journalist, critic, essayist, translator, professor, and activist. In 2006, Huerta was awarded the Xavier Villarrutia Prize, Mexico’s most prestigious literary award, for his book Version (1978, 2005). Among his other honors are the Diana Moreno Toscano Prize for Literary Promise (1971), one Guggenheim Fellowship (1978), and the Carlos Pellicer Prize (1990). In 2015 he received the National Prize of Literature and became Poet Emeritus. The author of …

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About the Translator

Mark Schafer is an award-winning translator and visual artist and a Senior Lecturer in Spanish at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He has translated the work of authors from around the Spanish-speaking world, including Belén Gopegui (Spain), Gloria Gervitz, David Huerta, and Alberto Ruy Sánchez (Mexico), and Virgilio Piñera (Cuba). Before Saying Any of the Great Words, his translation of poetry by David Huerta, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2009. His translations of poetry by Gloria Gervitz and Jaime Sabines, …

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“David Huerta’s verses… are ornate, cerebral, bookish, apocalyptic to the point of abstraction.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Schafer makes Huerta, who might be seen as ‘difficult,’ accessible to readers without sacrificing any of the startling images, leaps of meaning, and emotional resonance the poet uses to great effect… Copper Canyon Press continues its highly regarded and important task of providing English-language readers with the best of poetry from Mexico, as well as many other parts of the world… Those who are interested in the poetry of our close neighbor to the south, or simply good poetry, will find David Huerta’s latest collection a remarkable and satisfying read.” —Foreword

“For the first time, American readers will discover that Mexican poetry has continued in the tradition of greats like Octavio Paz and Jose Emilio Pacheco, but also that writers like Huerta have transported Mexico’s poetic legacy onto a whole new plane of the imagination.” —Bloomsbury Review