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For a selection of poetry from Migrations

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Migraciones/Migrations
By Gloria Gervitz
Translated by Mark Schafer
San Diego: Junction Press, 2004
ISBN: 1-881523-14-4 161
161 pp.
$18

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To order: Email
By mail:
Junction Press,
PO Box F
New York, N.Y. 10034.

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Photo of Gloria Gervitz by Garciela Iturbide

Photo of Mark Schafer by Marjorie Attignol Salvodon






By Gloria Gervitz
Translated by Mark Schafer
San Diego: Junction Press, 2004
ISBN: 1-881523-14-4 161
161 pp.
$18


“Poetry is nothing but a mouthful of air, nothing but words. But these words transform the human heart and open you to the immensity of life.” These sentences, spoken by Mexican poet Gloria Gervitz to her exceedingly able translator Mark Schafer, could well serve as the talisman by which to enter the poetic universe Gervitz reveals in her extraordinary sequence of poems, Migraciones/Migrations. This book, 27 years in the making, is one of the more important poetic texts to emerge from Mexico, or just about anywhere, in recent decades. Lyrical and mystical, a song of the self and of exile and ancestry and tradition, of paradox and ambiguity, in which the reality of existence collides with the imagination of that existence, Migrations is truly an epic undertaking so immense that it defies, like all great poems, easy categorizing.
—Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno in Talisman


To say that this is a book of the immigrant experience—which in some sense it is—is to underrate the range of form and feeling that Gervitz brings to it, creating thereby an epic of the migratory self. Like Pound's Cantos or Zukofsky's A, hers is the work of a lifetime; a life's work including not only autobiograpy and familiar memories as a kind of history but rife with religious and mystical imagery from Jewish kabbala to Mexican folk Catholicism and beyond, Migrations takes its place with theirs as a long and difficult poem which is the achievement of a great poetic talent: a complex tribute to the complex world from which it comes.
—Jerome Rothenberg


Migrations presents the unmistable, majestic voice of Gloria Gervitz, one of the most powerful and original voices of contemporary Jewish Latin American literature, in all its fullness, and Mark Schafer's translation does it justice. Mystical, at times wrenching, it is a poem of ancestral as well as modern voices, a poem that should be read slowly as if reading a prayer.
—Marjorie Agosín


Migraciones is an extraordinary and deeply moving poem. Gloria Gervitz looks out all the world's windows and Mark Schafer throws them open to gather in the most soaring and luminous of words. Migraciones is a journey to the depths, to the heights, and across the range of our most profound emotions. This is poetry that rains inside us, leading us back to primordial waters.
—Elena Poniatowksa



The sorrowful voice of Gloria Gervitz resounds within a terrifying vastness. Her words—prayer, oracle, litany—soar and plunge into the abyss, tempered by a breath that transcends meaning. They cross to the other side, to what precedes them, where submerged words breath. Born of dark silence, her poetry rescues memory; it returns to the origin of its own pale dreams. Her poetry enthralls and overwhelms.
—Saúl Yurkievich.




Gloria
GervitzGloria Gervitz is a lifelong resident of Mexico City, where she was born in 1943. A recipient of fellowships in poetry from the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes for 1993 and 1997 to 2002, she has been publishing her poetry since 1979, when “Shaharit”, the first part of Migraciones, appeared as a separate volume. It has been followed by Fragmento de ventana (1986), Yiskor (1987), Pythia (1993), Treno (2003), and Septiembre (2003), and, between 1991 and 2002, a series of editions of Migraciones, each incorporating the new sections. The present volume includes numerous revisions and is the definitive edition. She has published studies of the work of Clarice Lispector and Osip and Nadezhda Mandelstam and translations of poems by Samuel Beckette, Anna Akhmatova, Kenneth Rexroth, Susan Howe, Rita Dove, and, under a grant from the Fund for Culture Mexico-USA, Lorine Niedecker. Her own work has been translated into French, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian. A German edition of Migraciones appeared in 2002.


Mark Schafer
Gervitz Mark Schafer was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1962 and lives in Cambridge. He has published numerous translations of Latin American poetry and prose including Virgilio Piñera, Cold Tales (1988) and René's Flesh (1989); Eduard Galeano, The Book of Embraces, with Cedric Belfrage (1990); Alberto Ruy Sánchez, Mogador (1992); and Jesús Gardea, Stripping Away the Sorrows of This World (1998). He has received two NEA Translation Fellowships (1994, 2005), a grant from the Fund for Culture Mexico-USA, and the Robert Fitzgerald Translation Prize.


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Migraciones/Migrations
Translated by Mark Schafer
San Diego: Junction Press, 2004
ISBN: 1-881523-14-4 161
161 pp.
$18

To order: Email
By mail:
Junction Press,
PO Box F
New York, N.Y. 10034.

For more information on Mark Schafer's new translation of the work of David Huerta Before Saying Any of the Great Words: Selected Poetry of David Huerta, go to www.beforesaying.com.