Alejandra Pizarnik

One of the most significant contributors to twentieth-century Argentine poetry, Alejandra Pizarnik made a name for herself through her dark themes and diction. Heavily influenced by Rimbaud and Artaud, Pizarnik believed that suffering was intrinsic to the creation of great poetry. This concession to misery was apparent in her work as her writing was often filled with themes of solitude, estrangement, madness, and death—yet also included moments of tenderness. During her short lifetime she wrote seven books of poetry and one book of prose, as well as numerous translations, short stories, essays, and drawings. In 1968 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and later in 1971 she received a Fulbright Scholarship. Pizarnik struggled with depression and ended her life in 1972.

The Galloping Hour

Poetry by Alejandra Pizarnik

Translated from the French by Patricio Ferrari Forrest Gander

Edited by Patricio Ferrari

The Galloping Hour: French Poems—never before rendered in English and unpublished during her lifetime—gathers for the first time all the poems that Alejandra Pizarnik (revered by Octavio Paz and Roberto Bolaño) wrote in French. Conceived during her Paris sojourn (1960–1964) and in Buenos Aires (1970–1971) near the end of her tragically short life, these poems explore many of Pizarnik’s deepest obsessions: the limitations of language, silence, the body, night, sex, and the nature of intimacy.…
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Extracting the Stone of Madness

Poetry by Alejandra Pizarnik

Translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert

Winner of the 2017 Best Translated Book Award in Poetry Revered by Octavio Paz and Roberto Bolaño, Alejandra Pizarnik is still a hidden treasure in the U.S. Extracting the Stone of Madness comprises all of her middle to late work, as well as a selection of posthumously published verse. Obsessed with themes of solitude, childhood, madness, and death, Pizarnik explored the shifting valences of the self and the border between speech and silence.…
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A Musical Hell

by Alejandra Pizarnik

Translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert

“An aura of legendary prestige surrounds the work of Alejandra Pizarnik,” writes César Aira. Her last collection to be published before her suicide in 1972, A Musical Hell is the first book of poems by Pizarnik to be published in its entirety in the U.S. Pizarnik writes at the edge of poetic impossibility, opening with a blues singer, expanding into silence, and closing into a theater of shadows and songs of the drowned.…
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Poetry Pamphlets 5-8

In March of 2013 we launched a new series of Poetry Pamphlets, a reincarnated version of the “Poet of the Month” and “Poets of the Year” series James Laughlin published in the 1940s, which brought out such eclectic hits as William Carlos Williams’s The Broken Span, Delmore Schwartz’s poetic play Shenandoah, John Donne’s Some Poems and a Devotion, and Yvor Winters’s Giant Weapon, among many others. The New Directions Poetry Pamphlets will highlight original work by writers from around the world, as well as forgotten treasures lost in the cracks of literary history.…
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It is a privilege to read.
Kenyon Review
To read Pizarnik is to inhabit her melancholic world, a world of recursive, enabling lines, where ‘my language is the priestess.’
—Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions
Each of Pizarnik’s poems is the hub of an enormous wheel.
—Julio Cortázar
To bear down on Pizarnik’s scant lines is to find their essential rigor: nothing is brittle, nothing breaks.
—Joshua Cohen, Harpers
In compressed fragments, stark monostichs, and dense prose poems, the late Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik’s oeuvre presents a rich inner world built from a litany of symbols.
Scout Poetry
On the page she carves out spaces of solitude and silence in which language is reduced to its very essence…
The Millions
I…was blown away by the thoughtful interiority—by turns delicate and brutal—of this Argentine poet, who died of an intentional drug overdose at the age of 36. The poems in this new collection, translated by Yvette Siegert and published earlier this year, show a preoccupation with the space—not so large, but also interminably vast—between the workings of the mind and those of the natural world.
—Jane Yong Kim, The Atlantic
The darkly beautiful poems of the great Argentinian writer Alejandra Pizarnik generate an immersive, Gothic atmosphere in which art is both violence and respite, contamination and antidote, hell and paradise.
The Boston Review
To the allure Pizarnik has, as a figure wrapped in mystery and an inexplicable personality, must be added the fact that, word by word, she “wrote the night,” and the reader who takes an interest in her will discover that this nocturnal writing, which had a great sense of risk, was born of the purest necessity, something seen in very few 20th-century writers: an extreme lyric and a tragedy.
—Enrique Vila-Matas
Pizarnik reveals an ecstasy in the instability of language and draws from it a mercurial, pathetic truth.
Los Angeles Review of Books
To bear down on Pizarnik’s scant lines is to find their essential rigor: nothing is brittle, nothing breaks.
—Joshua Cohen, Harper’s
This overdue bilingual edition showcases the exquisite range of her short career…Pizarnik’s brilliant, otherworldly voice will resonate for generations.
Pizarnik’s poems flare up like deep, bright flames.
Publishers Weekly
There is an aura of almost legendary prestige that surrounds the life and work of Alejandra Pizarnik.
—César Aira
Each of Pizarnik’s poems is the cube of an enormous wheel.
—Julio Cortázar
Read Alejandra Pizarnik’s poems. They’re remarkable.
The Poetry Foundation
Pizarnik made a huge impact on Spanish-language poetry, taking it down to its darkest depths and abandoning it there, leaving one of the most fascinating legacies in Argentine literature.
The Argentina Independent
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