Songs of Life and Hope/Cantos de vida y esperanza

Songs of Life and Hope/Cantos de vida y esperanza

Book Pages: 272 Illustrations: Published: March 2004

Latin American Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Poetry

Renowned for its depth of feeling and musicality, the poetry of Rubén Darío (1867–1916) has been revered by writers including Federico García Lorca, Pablo Neruda, and Octavio Paz. A leading figure in the movement known as modernismo, Darío created the modern Spanish lyric and permanently altered the course of Spanish poetry. Yet while his output has inspired a great deal of critical analysis and a scattering of translations, there has been, until now, no complete English translation of any of his books of poetry. This bilingual edition of Darío’s 1905 masterpiece, Cantos de vida y esperanza, fills a crucial gap in Hispanic and world literature studies. Will Derusha and Alberto Acereda have provided not only an elegant English translation of Darío’s work but also an authoritative version of the original Spanish text.

Written over the course of seven years and in many locales in Latin America and Europe, the poems in Cantos de vida y esperanza reflect both Darío’s anguished sense of modern life and his ecstatic visions of transcendence, freedom, and the transformative power of art. They reveal Darío’s familiarity with Spanish, French, and English literature and the wide range of his concerns—existential, religious, erotic, and socio-political. Derusha and Acereda’s translation renders Darío’s themes with meticulous clarity and captures the structural and acoustic dimensions of the poet’s language in all its rhythmic sonority. Their introduction places this singular poet—arguably the greatest to emerge from Latin America in modern literature—and his best and most widely known work in historical and literary context. An extensive glossary offers additional information, explaining terms related to modernismo, Hispanic history, mythological allusions, and artists and writers prominent at the turn of the last century.


“[T]he value of Derusha and Acereda’s excellent work lies in bringing to life in English the artistry of a spirit far removed from contemporary cynicism. Darío conceived his poetry as a gift, and Derusha and Acereda have insured that that gift can now be extended to a generation of readers in English.” — Todd S. Garth , Intertexts

"[A] treasure trove. . . . [A] splendid edition. . . . Establishing an authoritative text of benefit to scholars working in Spanish as well as English, the editors provide an impressive and user-friendly glossary that sheds light on the sometimes bewildering allusions in this encyclopedic poetry; an exhaustive bibliography rounds out the c."ontribution. The translations themselves are painstakingly accurate. . . . Their superb edition brings Darío closer to the reader than previously possible in his anthologized appearances, giving a much broader sense of his startling range of reference, but also preserves the strangeness of the poetry, of the uncanny reach of his writing — Michelle Clayton , The Americas

"[T]he translators provide work that is unerringly faithful and illuminating. . . . [T]he English translation is elegant and accurate. This book is a true piece de résistance and will be eminently helpful and accessible to both the research scholar and the Spanish student. . . . [T]his book stands as a testament to what is possible with skills and commitment." — Naomi Millán, Foreword Reviews

"[With its] excellent introduction . . . Cantos de vida y esperanza will be of special value to scholars in literature and the liberal arts but will also appeal to general readers who are interested in great poetry. It should be welcome to everyone who appreciates the search for beauty, life's meaning and self-expression through art." — Charles Kargleder , The Latin Americanist

"Not enough praise can be heaped on this impressively clean bilingual edition. . . . Lovers of good literature are indebted to the editors and translators and to Duke for making available a reliable Spanish text of the key work of Hispanic literary modernism's most celebrated poet, and along with it a faithful, felicitous, sonorous translation that rings with the vision and rhythms of the originals." — R.M. Fedorchek, Choice

"This bilingual collection surely will fill an overdue gap in Hispanic literature. Beyond that, Dario's work is multifaceted and thought provoking. It should appeal to those who admire Lorca, Vallejo, and Neruda. . . . Translators Derusha and Acerda have clearly worked hard to present the real Dario, an innovative writer worthy of further examination." — Janet St. John , Booklist

“Rubén Darío is one of the world’s most splendid poets and one of the least known, partly because his revolutionary and hybrid style is almost untranslatable. Delighted readers will finally have a chance to plunge into the great Nicaraguan poet’s masterpiece and sing with him of life and hope.” — Ariel Dorfman, author of In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land: New and Collected Poems from Two Languages

“Will Derusha and Alberto Acereda give us a Rubén Darío that will be of immense interest to aficionados of poetry in Spanish, as well as to lay readers who have discovered the joys and pleasures of the likes of Federico García Lorca, Pablo Neruda, and Cesar Vallejo.” — Rafael Campo, author of Landscape with Human Figure


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Rubén Darío was a leading modernist poet, renowned for his innovations in Spanish poetry. Born in Nicaragua, he lived in Chile, Argentina, and Spain.
Will Derusha is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Alberto Acereda is Associate Professor of Spanish at Arizona State University. They are the coeditors and translators of Selected Poems of Ruben Darío: A Bilingual Anthology.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction 1

Prefacio | Preface

Cantos de vida y esperanza | Songs of Life and Hope

I. Yo soy aquel... | I am the one... 54

II. Salutacion del optimista | The Optimist’s Salutation 62

III. Al Rey Oscar | To King Oscar 66

IV. Los tres Reyes Magos | The Three Wise Men

V. Cyrano en Espana | Cyrano in Spain 72

VI. Salutacion a Leonardo | A Saluation to Leonardo 76

VII. Pegaso | Pegasus 82

VIII. A Roosevelt | To Roosevelt 84

IX. Torres de Dios!... | Towers of God!... 88

X. Canto de esperanza | Song of Hope 90

XI. Mientras tenelis, oh negros corazones... | While you hold, O black hearts... 92

XII. Helios | Helios 94

XIII. Spes | Spes 100

XIV. Marcha triunfal | Triumphal March 102

Los cisnes/ The Swans

I. Que signo haces...? | What sign do you give...? 108

II. En la muerte de Rafael Nunez | On the Death of Rafael Nunez 112

III. Por un momento... | For one moment... 114

IV. Antes de todo, gloria a ti, Leda!... | First of all, glory to you, Leda!... 116

Otros poemas / Other Poems

I. Retratos | Portraits 122

II. Por el influjo de la primavera | Because of the Influence of Spring 126

III. La dulzura del angelus... | The sweetness of the Angelus... 130

IV. Tarde del tropico | Evening in the Tropics 132

V. Nocturno |Nocturne 134

VI. Canciion de otono en primavera | Song of Autumn in Springtime 136

VII. Trebol | Clover 142

VIII. Charitas | Charitas 146

IX. Oh, terremoto mental!... | Oh, a mental earthquake!... 150

X. El verso sutil que pasa o se posa... | The subtle verse that passes or pauses... 152

XI. Filosofia | Philosophy 154

XII. Leda | Leda 156

XIII. Divina Psiquis, dulce Mariposa invisible... | Divine Psyche, sweet invisible Butterfly... 158

XIV. El soneto de trece versos | The Thirteen-Verse Sonnet 162

XV. Oh, miseria de toda lucha por lo finito!... | O misery of every struggle for the finite!... 164

XVI. A Phocas el campesino | To Phocas the Peasant 166

XVII. Carne, celeste carne de la mujer!... | Flesh, a woman’s heavenly flesh!..., 168

XVIII. Un soneto a Cervantes | A Sonnet for Cervantes 172

XIX. Madrigal exaltado | Exalted Madrigal 174

XX. Marina | Seascape 176

XXI. Cleopompo y Heliodemo | Cleopompus and Heliodemos 180

XXII. Ay, triste del que un dia... | Pity the sad soul who one day... 182

XXIII. En el pais de las Alegorias... | In the Land of Allegories... 184

XXIV. Augurios | Omens 186

XXV. Melancolia | Melancholy 190

XXVI. Aleluya! | Halleujah! 192

XXVII. De ontono | In Autumn 194

XXVIII. A Goya | To Goya 196

XXIX. Caracol | Seashell 200

XXX. Amo, amas | I Love, You Love 202

XXXI. Soneto autumnal al Marques de Bradomin | Autumnal Sonnet to the Marquis de Bradomin 204

XXXII. Nocturno | Nocturne 206

XXXIII. Urna votiva |Votive Urn 208

XXXIV. Programa matinal | Morning Plan 210

XXXV. Ibis | Ibis 212

XXXVI. Thanatos | Thanatos 214

XXXVII. Ofrenda | Offerning 216

XXXVIII. Proposito primaveral | Springtime Purpose 220

XXXIX. Letania de Nuestro Senor Don Quijote | Litany of Our Lord Don Quixote 222

XL. Alla lejos | Way Far Away 228

XLI. Lo fatal | What Gets You 230

Glossary and Annotations 233

Bibliography 249
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3271-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3282-4
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