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BookcoverLluvia en el desierto / Rain in the Desert

by Marjorie Agosín
(Sherman Asher Publishing)

"Once again Marjorie Agosin has given the world a book of poetry that is both awesomely beautiful and painfully disturbing. A travelogue through the Atacama Desert, (the real desert as well as the desert of the human soul), where Chilean mothers searched for their disappeared children during the rein of Agosto Pinoche, this is a book to be wept over in candle lit rooms. Presented, as always, with the Spanish original alongside the English trans- lation, I am forced, as an English speaker, to rely on the accuracy of Celeste Kostopolus-Cooperman's translation, but given the sheer force and depth of the language here I can only believe that this is a just translation.

Agosin's desert is a living force, a place "...where the day was a sun in love with itself...", a place with a voice and a presence that draws people to seek out whatever horrors or hope it has contained in its memory, because Agosin's desert does have a memory a well as a soul. The characters of these poems constantly visit the desert searching, sleeping and making love amid reoccurring themes of rain and night ("She wanted to know the night when / the silence conjured the souls of the dead."). In the desert Agosin takes us through there is no separation between the personal and the political anymore than there is a difference between nature and man. The poems here are transcendent and stunning to the mind as well as the mind's eye. Agosin is able to conjure images for the reader the way most filmmakers only dream about and her work should be read with the deliberation you would give a fine bottle of wine. If you are unfamiliar with Agosin and her poetry this is a fine place to begin your acquaintance, and if you are already a fan I'm sure I don't need to say anymore."

Carlye Archibeque, Sic, Vice&Verse, Fall 1999

Marjorie Agosín is a poet, writer, critic, and human rights activist. The descendant of European Jews who escaped the Holocaust and settled in Chile, she was born in Bethesda, Maryland and raised in Santiago, Chile. She has been in exile from Chile since Pinochet's dictatorship rose to power. She obtained her Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1982 and is a Professor of Spanish at Wellesley College. In 1990 she received the Jeanneta Rankin Award for Achievement in Human Rights. In 1995 she was awarded the Letra D'Oro Prize and the Latina Literature Prize.
Read excerpts from Lluvia.

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Her recent titles include Dear Anne Frank (Brandeis University Press, 1998), Tapestries of Hope, Threads of Love: The Arpillera Movement in Chile 1974-1994 (University of New Mexico Press, 1996), Starry Night (White Pine Press, 1996), Circles of Madness : Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (White Pine Press, 1992).