roberto bolano’s poetry


bolano poems in the latest issue of POETRY. good examples of a novelist’s poems (which seem less, in general, to me, than a poet’s novels) (which begs the question of the difference between the two practitioners) (beg beg) (“all a compact a words,” the poet and novelist robert creeley said about the difference, which he said didn’t exist)… in any case, the poems are somewhat soggily romantic, maybe not as successfully rid of sentimentality as his prose. here’s a taste:

and Dario whispers that he loves the French poets.

Poets that only he and Mario and I know of.

Boys from the then unimaginable city of Paris with eyes bloodshot from suicide.

He loves them so much!

In the way I loved the streets of Mexico in 1968.

I was fifteen years old and then I’d just arrived.

I was a fifteen-year-old emigrant but the first thing they tell me, the streets of Mexico

is that, there, we’re all emigrants, emigrants of the Spirit.

Ah, the beautiful, the never over-considered, the terrible

Mexican streets hanging in the abyss

while the rest of the world’s cities

are drowning in uniformity and silence…

from “Visit to the Convalescent,” translated by Laura Healy


…it does make you wonder if maybe it was less a matter of aesthetic principle and more a kind of pragmatic resignation that there’s not a single line of poetry in THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES. hmmm…


and/but: in a related, much-broken story, let’s hope 2666 live up to its hype and its admittedly good looks.


…i’m now 66th in line at NYPL for 2666. I wonder which version i’ll get.

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