Resistencia: Poems of Protest and Revolution

Tin House. Sept. 2020. 260p. ed. by ed. by Mark Eisner. ISBN 9781951142070. pap. $18.95. poetry ;.
Representing every country in Latin America and the Caribbean, most more than once, this impressive body of work of socially committed and politically charged poetry anthologizes one poem each from more than 50 poets arranged chronologically, from Chilean Gabriela Mistral, her continent’s first Nobel Prize winner, to 30-year-old Salvadoran Javier Zamora. Some of the contributors are among the giants of Latin American literature (Neruda, Vallejo, Césaire), but many who are lesser known are first being introduced to an English-language audience. Prefaced by an essay by the noted Dominican American author Julia Alvarez that provides context, the text offers English renditions alongside those in their original language, be it Spanish, Portuguese, French, or an Indigenous tongue and are generally faithful to the original work, mostly not in traditional verse forms. Those looking for guidance into the deeper meaning of the poems, however, will be shortchanged owing to the lack of commentary, annotations, or interpretation; they stand simply on their own merits as cries of social protest and as works of activism.
VERDICT With their overriding theme of the search for justice and equality in an age of global unrest, these poems may never be more timely.
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