Landscape with Yellow Birds


Translated from by

Published: June 4, 2013



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“Considered by many to be the major poet of postwar Spain– the primary heir of  Machado, Jiménez, García Lorca, and Cernuda–José Ángel Valente has taken a long time to reach English, but Thomas Christensen’s crystalline translation has made it worth the wait.”

—Eliot Weinberger

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Book Description

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.

Spain’s greatest contemporary poet.
The Independent

His work retains recurring notes of critical protest, but these are driven less by the conditions of life in postwar Spain than by general ethical and philosophical preoccupations. Valente reveals the conviction that poetry starts with the word, rather than external reality. His tendency toward metapoetry rapidly became a signal characteristic of his generation of poets.
Douglass M. Rogers, professor of Spanish literature at the University of Texas

One of the most important poets of postwar literature. Valente's work ... answers to a single commitment: with the word.
El País (Spain)

This profile at The Majalla focuses on the political resistance of Abdellatif Laâbi’s poetry.

Read an interview with Abdellatif Laâbi in the Quarterly Conversation.

In this interview with Kristen Privallet, featured on double change, the author discusses poetry and language.

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