Selected Poems of Jorge Carrera Andrade

By Jorge C. Andrade
Translated by H.R. Hays

Hardcover : 9780873950671, 259 pages, June 1972

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Table of contents


La Guirnalda del Silencio 1926
Vida de la alacena / Life of the Cupboard
Mal humor / Ill Humor
Isolina / Isolina
El reloj / The Clock
La camanada de la una / The One O'Clock Bellnote
Primavera & compañía / Spring and Company!
Abril / April
Meseta / High Plateau
Canción breve del espantajo / Brief Song of the Scarecrow

Bolentines de Mar y Tierra 1928-1930
Bolentín de viaje / Traveller's Bulletin
Costas del día / Coasts of day
El desayuno del mundo / The World's Breakfast
Puerto a las ocho / Port at Eight O'Clock
Guayaquil / Guayaquil
La Habana / Havana
Nueva York de noche / New York at Night

Cuaderno de poemas indios 1928
Domingo / Sunday
Sierra / Sierra
Fiesta de San Pedro / Fiesta of San Pedro
Indiada / Indian Crowd
Levantamiento / Uprising

El Tiempo Manual 1935
Soledad de las ciudades / Solitude of Cities
Color de la Habana / The Color of Havana
Edición de la tarde / Evening Edition
Servicio / Service
Poemas de pasado mañana / Poems of the Day After Tomorrow
La alquimia vital / The Alchemy of life

Lugar de origen 1945-1947
Días impares / Displaced Days
Tributo a la noche / Tribute to Night
Aquí yace la espuma / Here Lies the Seafoam
Juan sin cielo / John Without Sky
La llave del fuego / The Key of Fire

Familia de la noche 1952-1953
Familia de la noche / Family of Night
Dictado por el agua / Dictated by the Water
Las armas de la luz / Weapons of Light

Hombre planetario 1957-1963
Invectiva contra la luna / Invective Against the Moon
Aurosia / Aurosia
Taller del tiempo / Time's Worship
El condenado / The Condemned
Hombre planetario / Planetary Man
Los terrícolas / The Terrestrians
Teoría del guacamayo / Theory of the Macaw
Ocaso de Atahualpa / Death of Atahualpa
Los antepasados / The Ancestors

Cronica de las indias 1965
El pacificador / The Peacemaker

El alba llama a la puerta 1965-1966
Jornada existencial / Existential Journey
La mina más alta / The Loftiest Mine
Descumbrimiento / Discovery
Yo soy el bosque / I am the Forest
Fantasma de las granjuas / A Dream of Farmhouses
Estación penltimūa / The last Station
No hay / Not Any
Islas niponas / Japanese Islands
Les Halles / Les Halles
Humboldt / Humboldt
Transfiguración de la lluvia / Transfiguration of the Rain
Agua germinal / Germinal Water
Invocación al aire / Invocation to the Air
Dios de alegría / God of Joy
Lenguas vivas / Living Tongues
Del "Libro del destierro" / From "The Book of Exile"
Estaciones de Stony Brook / Seasons of Stony Brook


While Latin American poets such as Pablo Neruda, Jorge Luis Borges, and Octacio Paz have been receiving most of the attention of critics, the Ecuadorian poet Jorge Carrera Andrade had quietly continued writing his "transparent" poetry. Nevertheless, Carrera Andrade's poems are undoubtedly some of the best ever written in the Spanish language, and he has often been mentioned as a likely candidate for the Nobel Prize.

In his poetic exploration of what he calls "the secret country of human existence," Carrera Andrade marvels at the beauty of the world. And this wonder is conveyed by means of dazzling, descriptive metaphors. Perhaps it could be said that the Ecuadorian poet always interprets the world visually, but his visual images constitute merely a metaphorical technique, around which he constructs his poems. In his verbal structures he expresses the transitory nature of life as well as the loneliness of man in the universe. He describes life in his native Ecuador, contemplates with compassion the plight of the Indians of his country, and denounces social injustices. More recently Carrera Andrade, concerned about the destiny of mankind, manifests his indomitable faith in humanity in the book Hombre planetario (1959), imagining a social utopia.

Carrera Andrade has stated that his poetry is the result of "the intimate union of the senses and the intellect. " And yet his poems remain "transparent. " He rejects obscurity and complexity and chooses simplicity and clarity. He considers that "one of the essential goals of poetry is communion with other men" and that if his poetry cannot communicate "its emotive and sensorial content, it fails to accomplish its mission, which is the interpretation of the world. " As to the universal meaning of his poetic work, Carrera Andrade would recall Goethe's phrase: "All my works are fragments of a great confession. " He would characterize his own work as a confession of love both for humanity and for the wonders of this world.

Carrera Andrade must be counted among the four or five best contemporary poets of Latin America. Whether he is awarded a Nobel Prize still remains to be seen, but there can be no doubt that in his poems one can detect the same literary excellence as in the work of Neruda, Paz, or Borges. Hopefully the work of this great Ecuadorian poet will soon be universally appreciated. In some of his works he can be compared to T. S. Eliot, Hölderlin, or Saint-Jean Perse.

The publication of H. R. Hayes' translations will, for the first time, make available to English-speaking readers all of the significant verse of Carrera Andrade, beginning with some of his first pieces from La guirnalda del silencio (1926) and ending with translations from Posía última (1957 –1966).

H. R. Hays is a novelist, playwright, and author of numerous works of non-fiction. His Selected Poems were published in 1968. He has translated the Selected Poems of Bertolt Brecht, the Selected Writings of Juan Ramon Jimenes, and a novel, The Stone Knife, by the Mexican, José Revueltas. His Twelve Spanish-American Poets, first published in 1943, will be reissued in 1972.