Save Twilight: Selected Poems
Pocket Poets Number 53
Preface by Stephen Kessler
Translated by Stephen Kessler
"Stephen Kessler discusses Save Twilight and more on KTEP's Words on a Wire"
Mar 19, 2017
KTEP Radio - Words on a Wire
"Argentine writer and translator Cortázar (1914–1984), best known for his inventive fiction, beguiles in this expanded bilingual second edition of his poems. Cortázar, espousing the notion that 'poetry and prose reciprocally empower each other,' constructs hybrid 'prosems' or 'peoms' that contend with love and loss, nationalistic ambivalence, literary theory, and memory. Something of a lovable crank, he declares listening to headphones 'stupid and alienating' and a 'psychological prison' in a lyrical essay ostensibly in favor of them, and heaps inexplicable scorn on knitters and Notre Dame Cathedral. Cortázar pithily laments his own squareness—'I accept this destiny of ironed shirts'—and the aging process, during which time is 'a truckload of rocks/ dumped on your back, puking/ its insufferable weight.' A political expatriate to Paris, Cortázar footnotes one poem praising Argentina with an ominous implication of state-sanctioned murder, while elsewhere he fondly recalls 'wisps of smoke/ gracefully streaming from the peanut vendors' carts' in the Plaza de Mayo. Cortázar's verse is more traditional than his fiction, but his style and themes are in harmony across genres: eccentric, mystical, full of animals but deeply human. Cortázar is a people's poet, accessible from every angle, and his position as a titan of the Latin American boom is indisputable."
Literal: Latin American Voices
"Many poems and writings in this collection make it essential for any fans of Cortázar's fiction, and a few, such as 'To Be Read in the Interrogative,' the most instantly arresting poem here, make it equally accessible to first-time Cortázar readers."––Greg Walklin
"City Lights Books keeps current for reasons that could fill a book, including the fact that its editors have always had a special instinct for what needs to stay in print, what needs a hiatus, what should be reissued and when, and what should be acquired because it is irresistible and as good as its elders. Save Twilight: Selected Poems by Julio Cortázar is a collection of old and new translations by Stephen Kessler, and it fits right into the City Lights ethos. Kessler is a distinguished translator, and this bi-lingual edition does justice to the masterful Cortázar . . . In praising Save Twilight, qualifiers like 'seem' are unnecessary, because what the book provides is enriching in the way it faces the past and illuminates the human interior."––Barbara Berman
"For me, a particular essay was the highlight of Julio Cortazar's Save Twilight. It’s observant; intelligent; for the receptive reader, educational; and for the receptive poet-reader a guide for how one might live and write as a poet. . . . Still, pleasure can be found in the verse."––Eileen Tabios
The Paris Review
"When City Lights was preparing to publish the first edition of Julio Cortázar's poetry in English in 1997 (it’s number fifty-three in the Pocket Poets series), Ferlinghetti wanted to produce a lean volume. In doing so, he cut the essay 'For Listening Through Headphones,' which Cortázar begins by mourning the 'pre-echo' on some records that mars 'the brief night of the ears as they get ready for the fresh irruption of sound.' It’s funny that an essay that more than once uses the play of light and darkness to illuminate sound would be omitted from a book titled Save Twilight. But this month, City Lights is reissuing the volume, now heftier, thanks in part to the restoration of 'For Listening' (and other poems that were left out from the original). In addition to being mesmerizing and utterly gorgeous ('now the needle / runs through the former silence and focuses it / in a black plush … a phosphene silence'), the essay links the experience of hearing music through headphones to poetry’s innate intimacy: 'How not to think, then, that somehow poetry is a word heard through invisible headphones as soon as the poem begins to work its spell.'"—Nicole Rudick
"In Translation: August Fiction and Poetry"
Aug 2, 2016
Save Twilight: Selected Poems featured alongside more literature in translation in a round-up of August releases.
"I'm a big fan of City Lights’ Pocket Poets Series so clearly Save Twilight was going to make this list. Known mostly for his fiction, Cortázar was a talented poet who explored ideas about things both political and personal through a variety of forms. This latest edition includes almost one hundred new pages of poems, prose pieces, and illustrations."
"Fall 2016 Adult Announcements: Poetry"
Jun 17, 2016
Save Twilight: Selected Poems selected as a highlight for Fall 2016 by Publishers Weekly.
The Massachusetts Review
"These faithful old (and new) translations bring the poetic playfulness of this vitally important writer into engaging English life, and they promise to keep us looking into the vitrines of his poems so intently that we might well find ourselves looking back out from them, at blank faces, once familiarly our own and now estranged, looking quizzically back at us."––Michael Thurston