Carnation and Tenebrae Candle by Marosa di Giorgio / Translated by Jeannine Marie Pitas / 126-page paperback from Cardboard House Press / ISBN 9781945720215
"This new collection by Marosa di Giorgio, long considered a major figure in Latin American literature, is the work of a translator who has immersed herself, with great thoughtfulness and dedication, in the life of a writer whose poetry is foreboding, mystical, dangerous and magnificent. Everywhere in di Giorgio's oeuvre, there are wars, crimes, monsters, possessed plants and animals, ghosts, illnesses and miracles animating a world that is always on the verge of explosion. Di Giorgio's writing is as foreboding as it is tentacular, as intricate as it is unsettling. Jeannine Marie Pitas' ongoing and remarkable engagement with di Giorgio has brought us an exciting and valuable gift."—Daniel Borzutzky
"'It seemed as if everything was coming to an end,' writes Marosa di Giorgio in the first section of CARNATION AND TENEBRAE CANDLE, preparing the reader for the wondrous and terrifying world of contradictions that will follow: a lush countryside filled with enormous hares and enchanted begonias, meals of rats and apples as well as a 'wheat field of stars,' where readers must constantly renegotiate the borders between the inanimate and the living, the living and the dead. Even the most familiar relations transform until a father becomes the 'Chosen One' as well as 'an Oak Tree of Fine Understanding,' and a mother can be both savior to and the victim of her daughter. There are ghosts and 'war storms,' rapes and resurrections in a location both unmappable and as recognizable as the first prayers whispered from the mouth of a child who cannot possibly understand them. But there's nothing naïve about di Giorgio's work, and no other voice that sounds quite like hers. '[J]ust as I was walking among the eucalyptus apothecaries, at that time when the walls become filled with stars,' di Giorgio writes, 'I saw the language, and I immediately understood it, as if it had always been my own.' Jeannine Marie Pitas's English translations have helped bring this Uruguayan writer to a new audience. CARNATION AND TENEBRAE CANDLE will continue to solidify di Giorgio as a major voice from Latin America."—Susan Briante
Born in Salto, Uruguay, and raised on her family's farm, Marosa di Giorgio (1932-2004) is one of the most prominent Uruguayan poets of the twentieth century. Di Giorgio began writing in her childhood and published her first book of poems at the age of twenty-two. She then went on to publish a total of fourteen books of poetry, three collections of short stories, and one novel. While some critics have categorized her as a surrealist, she herself denied membership in any literary movement or school. Although she was relatively unknown outside the Southern Cone during her lifetime, she is now becoming more and more widely read throughout Latin America and Europe. Thanks to the efforts of various translators, she is also becoming more known in the English-speaking world.