Byobu by Ida Vitale, translated by Sean Manning / ISBN 9781913867027 / 85-page paperback with flaps from Charco Press (Edinburgh) / brand new copies with tiny bit of shelfwear
"a story’s existence, even if not well defined or well assigned, even if only in its formative stage, just barely latent, emits vague but urgent emanations."
Byobu's every interaction trembles with possibility and faint menace. A crack in the walls of his house, marring it forever, means he must burn it down. A stoplight asks what the value of obedience is, what hopefulness it contains, and what insensible anarchy it defies. In brief episodes, aphorisms, and moments of spiritual turbulence and gentle scrutiny, reside a wealth of habits, worries, curiosities, pleasures, peculiarities, and efforts to understand.
Representative of the modesty and complexity of Ida Vitale’s poetic universe, Byobu flushes the world with meaning and playfully offers another way of inhabiting the every day.
Ida Vitale (Uruguay, 1923) is a poet, translator, essayist, and literary critic. In 2018, she was just the fifth woman to receive the prestigious Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the highest recognition for literature in Spanish. In addition to the Cervantes Prize, she has also received the FIL Literature Prize (2018), Max Jacob Prize (2017), Federico García Lorca Poetry Prize (2016), Reina Sofía Poetry Prize (2015), Alfonse Reyes Prize (2014), and Octavio Paz Prize (2009), as well as many other honours, including being named by the BBC as one of the 100 most influential women of 2019.
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