From Trilce, by Cesar Vallejo, translated by Clayton Eshleman
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CESAR VALLEJO was born in Peru in 1892. In 1921 he spent three months in prison, where he wrote some of the poems in Trilce. In 1923 he left for Paris, where he co-founded a cell of the Peruvian Communist Party. He traveled to Russia, then to Spain during the Spanish Civil War, and died in Paris in 1938, in absolute poverty, devastated by the fall of the Spanish Republic. Published in the same year as Eliot’s Waste Land, Trilce is also a masterpiece of early modernism, a ground-breaking work that has had an indelible effort on all subsequent poetry in its language. The volume of 77 poems is considered to be Vallejo’s most complex and radical work.
CLAYTON ESHLEMAN is one of America’s most distinguished poets, translators, and editors. His 1978 co-translation of Vallejo’s Complete Posthumous Poetry received the National Book Award.