For José Ángel Valente, the word was foremost. He was of a generation that came of age under the Franco dictatorship. But unlike many of his contemporaries, he did not often address political or social issues directly in his poems. His influence as a poetic force proved to be much deeper. From the outset Valente’s work was bold yet disciplined, immediate yet lyrical, combining poetic precision with a knack for capturing vital moments and a keen ear for musicality. His chief concern was poetry that explored and transcended itself: poetry as knowledge. A poet of unfailing integrity, he never wavered in his pursuit of the truth of the word. Exploring questions of love, loss, and the spirit, he stripped twentieth-century Spanish poetry of its rhetorical excesses, producing contemplative, introspective, and at times mystical verses, rejecting the facile and embracing silence. This is the first major selection of Valente’s work to appear in English.