The Roof of the Whale Poems (Wisconsin Poetry Series) (Paperback)

The Roof of the Whale Poems (Wisconsin Poetry Series) By Juan Calzadilla, Katherine M. Hedeen (Translated by), Olivia Lott (Translated by) Cover Image

The Roof of the Whale Poems (Wisconsin Poetry Series) (Paperback)

By Juan Calzadilla, Katherine M. Hedeen (Translated by), Olivia Lott (Translated by)


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Venezuelan poet Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931), past recipient of the National Prize in the Visual Arts and the National Prize in Literature, is considered one of the most influential poets of the Spanish language. But while his books have appeared in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, and Spain, his work has not been widely available in English until now.

In 1961 Calzadilla was a founding member of El Techo de la Ballena (The Roof of the Whale), an avant-garde collective that sought to fuse politics and aesthetics. He published three books of poetry under its umbrella—Dictated by the Pack (1962), Bad Manners (1965), and The SupernaturalContradictions (1967)—which are all presented here in an omnibus edition, masterfully translated by Katherine M. Hedeen and Olivia Lott. Decades later, these poems still resonate, profoundly illustrating a sense of entrapment, of societal pressures on the individual, and of steadfast refusal to give in. Suffused with surrealist imagery, exuberant, exciting, and unexpected, The Roof of the Whale Poems is a breathtaking collection.
  The main occupation we have given this prisoner is to force him to restlessly pace around what on closer inspection turns out to be a labyrinth whose inside space exactly matches the convulsions of his brain
A convicted man we have put to death . . .
—Excerpt from “The Prisoner of His Conscience”
Juan Calzadilla is one of Venezuela’s most celebrated poets, painters, and art critics. He is the author of more than twenty books of poetry and a recipient of Venezuela’s National Prize for the Visual Arts. His work, across both mediums, is characterized by political consciousness and formal innovation.

Katherine M. Hedeen has translated some of the most respected Latin American poets into English and has been a finalist for both the Best Translated Book Award and the National Translation Award. She serves as managing editor for Action Books and is a professor of Spanish at Kenyon College.

Olivia Lott’s translations have received recognitions from the Academy of American Poets, PEN America, and Words Without Borders. She is a postdoctoral research associate in the Program in Latin American Studies at Princeton University.
Product Details ISBN: 9780299346645
ISBN-10: 0299346641
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication Date: November 14th, 2023
Pages: 246
Language: English
Series: Wisconsin Poetry Series
“Calzadilla addressed his poems to a specific audience during a momentous time; and yet his poems feel as though they were written last week precisely for us. Unvarnished, unimproved, shamanistic, his poems exude a raw, tumultuous energy that legendary translator Katherine Hedeen and her savvy co-translator Olivia Lott catch every drop of. But be careful, reader. Don’t start this book at night; you not only won’t sleep a wink, but you may find yourself far from home—as far as the Caracas of your imagination—rushing through ill-lit streets in a frenzy.”—Forrest Gander