It is a privilege to read.

Kenyon Review

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.

cover image of the book The Galloping Hour

The Galloping Hour

The Galloping Hour: French Poems—never before rendered in English and unpublished during her lifetime—gathers for the first time all the poems that Alejandra Pizarnik (revered by Octavio Paz and Roberto Bolaño) wrote in French.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.

Drawing from personal life experiences and echoing readings of some of her beloved/accursed French authors—Charles Baudelaire, Germain Nouveau, Arthur Rimbaud, and Antonin Artaud—this collection includes prose poems that Pizarnik would later translate into Spanish. Pizarnik’s work led Raúl Zurita to note: “Her poetry—with a clarity that becomes piercing—illuminates the abysses of emotional sensitivity, desire, and absence. It presses against our lives and touches the most exposed, fragile, and numb parts of humanity."

Click here to see book notes by Patricio Ferrari, editor of The Galloping Hour

More Information
cover image of the book Extracting the Stone of Madness

Extracting the Stone of Madness

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. In her own words, she was drawn to “the suffering of Baudelaire, the suicide of Nerval, the premature silence of Rimbaud, the mysterious and fleeting presence of Lautréamont,” and to the “unparalleled intensity” of Artaud’s “physical and moral suffering.”

More Information
cover image of the book Poetry Pamphlets 5-8

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. (More information on the first set can be found here.)

Included in this set of four are:

The Beautiful Contradictions by Nathaniel Tarn

Vale Ave by H. D.

_A Musical Hell _by Alejanda Pizarnik

Eiko & Koma by Forrest Gander

More Information
cover image of the book A Musical Hell

A Musical Hell

“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.

— The flower of distance is blooming. I want you to look through the window and tell me what you see: inconclusive gestures, illusory objects, failed shapes.… Go to the window as if you’d been preparing for this your entire life.


Review of A Musical Hell in the New York Journal of Books

More Information

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
Scroll to Top of Page