Voices is a collection of poetic aphorisms written over several decades by Antonio Porchia and translated by W.S. Merwin. Spontaneous, succinct and wise, these aphorisms have the spiritual character of the world’s great religions—especially Buddhist and Taoist epigrams—and the subtle attention to language of our best literature.
Voices is Porchia’s only book, which he augmented and revised throughout his life. By the time of his death, it had become a classic, published in over a dozen different Spanish-language editions; today there are also translations into German, French, and Italian.
This new bilingual edition, revised and updated with an introduction by Merwin, brings back into print one of Latin America’s great literary enigmas.
It is when I assent to nothing that I assent to all.
When I come upon some idea that is not of this world, I feel as though this world had grown wider.
“Porchia’s aphorisms… seem to emerge from a rarefied mental world where behavior is orchestrated less by exigency than by pure principle.” —Foreword
“This fascinating collection of poetic aphorisms is so stylistically pure, psychologically lucid, and philosophically far-reaching that I am tempted to list quotations, instead of commenting on them… Voices is a moving and mysterious masterpiece, of which W.S. Merwin has provided a sensitive and accurate translation.” —Antioch Review
“Voices… contains 600 one-line aphorisms, or poems, that move the reader to levels of awareness that seem like a spiritual awakening.” —Home News Tribune
“Condensed, hermetic, provocative, the wisdom of Voices is the gift of one unique poet to the world.” —Santa Fe New Mexican