The leading poet of his generation, Jose Emilio Pacheco is one of Mexico's most esteemed and beloved writers. City of Memory and Other Poems presents two of his finest poetry collections, accompanied by beautifully rendered translations.
The first, "City of Memory," touches on Pacheco's major literary obsessions: the destructive effects of time; the essential egotism and cruelty of the natural world, with humankind at its violent center; and the capacity of the human spirit to achieve transcendence. The second, "I watch the Earth," is an emotional catharsis, the poet's mediation on the tragic earthquake that devastated his native Mexico City in 1985. Together, these poems paint a vivid picture of the noble beauty and uncontrollable tragedy that is Mexico-and the world-today.
"One of Mexico's foremost writers, Pacheco (b. 1939) divides his time between the University of Maryland and Mexico's National Institute of History and Anthropology. His poetic voice is straightforward and epigrammatic ("No beauty can match/ the leaf as it withers and falls to the earth") and his style spare and clean." —Book Verdict
"There is simply no kind of poem Pacheco did not write: lyrics, lyric sequences, narratives, philosophical verse, satires—all humble and humbling in their directness and lack of both theoretical jargon and political cant."—Joseph Hutchison
Jose Emilio Pacheco is the winner of the Jose Asuncion Silva Award for the best book of poetry to appear in Spanish from 1990 to 1995. Novelist, poet, essayist, and translator, he lives in Mexico City.
Cynthia Steele is the author of Politics, Gender and the Mexican Novel, 1968-1988, Beyond the Pyramid and the translator of Underground River and Other Stories by Ines Arredondo.
David Lauer is a poet and translator who lives in Chihuahua, Mexico.