State of Exile
Pocket Poets Number 58
Translated by Marilyn Buck

Press Reviews

The Brooklyn Rail

"Li Po, Ovid, Dante, Tsvetaeva… what a venerated tradition the exiled Uruguayan poet, Cristina Peri Rossi shares. When her searing work was banned for criticizing government brutality, she fled the juntas of the ’70s and began a journey without a destination at the age of 31. 'Exile is a blind river winding from country to country.' The poems are so intensely personal that they remained private for thirty years.

'Rage… pain… compassion… sorrows…' are the stuff of this heartrending but gutsy collection. The sea, ships, maps and birds haunt the pages. Poverty, nostalgia and despair are painted with direct, terse strokes. Even language, a poet’s best friend, now unfamiliar, reinforces the numbing isolation.

The dream of returning, testament to a fierce love of country, offers false hope in a world where 'we lose what we win/ and what was won/ is lost in the flight.' Peri’s spirit soars in spite of the crushing anguish.

A diary of displacement, loaded with disappearances, the spare works cut as they catalog loss."

—Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

Book Digest
"Self-exiled in the early ‘70s (in response to a military coup when her work was banned and her life threatened) Uruguayan writer Peri Rossi wrote these poems during her first years in Spain—apparently they were too personally painful for publication when first written. Included are two essays on exile: one by Peri Rossi, the other by translator Buck who is serving an 80-year sentence in California for her militant political activism."
—Robert Birnbaum