Please join us in celebrating A TRADITION OF RUPTURE by Alejandra Pizarnik (UDP, 2019)—the first English-language collection of the legendary Argentine poet’s critical writings.
Cole Heinowitz, editor and translator, will read from and talk about Pizarnik’s work.
Editors Barbara Epler (New Directions) & Silvina López Medin (Ugly Duckling Presse) will join Heinowitz in conversation, and for a Q&A with the audience moderated by Rachel Valinsky and Matvei Yankelevich.
A reception and book sales at a discount will follow.
Since the publication of her 1955 debut poetry collection, The Most Foreign Country, Alejandra Pizarnik has captivated the imaginations of many of Latin America’s most celebrated twentieth-century writers, from Octavio Paz and Julio Cortázar to Roberto Bolaño and Raúl Zurita. Over the last several years, the majority of Pizarnik’s poetry has been translated into English, garnering enormous acclaim in the U.S. and abroad, yet her extraordinary critical writings—including commentaries on figures such as Artaud, Borges, Breton, Michaux, and Pessoa, as well as intimate accounts of her own working methods—remain almost entirely unknown outside the Spanish-speaking world. A Tradition of Rupture makes these writings available to English-speaking readers for the first time, offering indispensable insight into the range of Pizarnik’s reading and the principle influences on her poetics. The works collected in this volume also provide a rare glimpse of the famously introverted poet in her capacity as public intellectual and critic, revealing a voracious intelligence turned outward toward the world in vital dialogue with the words of others.
Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972) was a leading voice in twentieth-century Latin American poetry. Born in the port city of Avellaneda, in the province of Buenos Aires, to Russian-Jewish immigrants, Pizarnik studied literature and painting at the University of Buenos Aires and spent most of her life in Argentina. From 1960-1964 she lived in Paris, where she was influenced by the work of the Surrealists (many of whom she translated into Spanish) and participated in a vibrant community of writers including Simone de Beauvoir and fellow expatriates Julio Cortázar and Octavio Paz. Known primarily for her poetry, Pizarnik also wrote works of criticism and journalism, experimental fiction, plays, and a literary diary. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1968 and a Fulbright Scholarship in 1971. Her complete works in Spanish have been published by Editorial Lumen. Six books of her poetry have been translated into English: Diana’s Tree, The Most Foreign Country and The Last Innocence / The Lost Adventures (Ugly Duckling Presse); and A Musical Hell, Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962-1972, and The Galloping Hour: French Poems (New Directions). A Tradition of Rupture (UDP), a collection of Pizarnik’s critical prose in English translation, was published in fall 2019. She died in Buenos Aires, of an apparent drug overdose, at the age of 36.
Cole Heinowitz is a poet, translator, and scholar based in New York. Her books of poetry include The Rubicon (The Rest), Stunning in Muscle Hospital (Detour), and Daily Chimera (Incommunicado). She is the translator of Mario Santiago Papasquiaro’s Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic (Wave Books) and Beauty Is Our Spiritual Guernica (Commune Editions), and the co-translator of The Selected Late Letters of Antonin Artaud (Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs). She is the author of the monograph, Spanish America and British Romanticism, 1777-1826: Rewriting Conquest (Edinburgh University Press, 2010), and is Associate Professor of Literature and Director of the Literature Program at Bard College. Heinowitz’s translation of Mario Santiago Papasquiaro’s Bleeding From All 5 Senses was awarded the 2019 Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation.
This event is organized in collaboration with Wendy’s Subway, as part of The Quick and the Dead—a yearlong, multi-phase project that highlights the life, work, and legacy of a deceased writer by bridging their work to that of contemporary practitioners. In its second year, the program focuses on Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik (1936–1972), situating her work within the broader context of contemporary Latin American literature and translation. Over the course of six months, Wendy’s Subway will offer a variety of public programs including a reading group focused the writing of Pizarnik and her contemporaries, and a series of workshops on literary translation. The Quick and the Dead seeks to mobilize the creative and pedagogical potential of focused engagement with a single author through sustained reflection across a variety of public events and opportunities for cross-disciplinary encounters.