Winner of the 2023 PEN America Award for Poetry in Translation. Award-winning Chilean poet Paula Ilabaca Núñez makes her English-language debut in an edgy, fearless collection of poetry translated by Daniel Borzutzky.
Brimming with fury and ferocity, THE LOOSE PEARL by award-winning Chilean poet Paula Ilabaca Núñez, translated by Daniel Borzutzky, interrogates the ineffable complexities of interiority in the wake of rupture, of trauma. Through the screen of the speaker's archipelago of internal identities--the loose one, the pearl, the mare--readers are drawn into an intense and ongoing prose-poetry monologue of self-struggle, as the speaker attempts to avoid shattering completely while facing total collapse amid the relentless combine the patriarchy continually hefts--body and soul--upon women. Borzutzky's translation deftly handles the visceral and pent-up style of these prose poems, gifting readers with pages to be pored over breathlessly, out loud, and often. Ilabaca Núñez's English-language debut weaves an allegory of apathy, anger, and sexual politics, where her speaker's cherished identities get shaped and reshaped at the hands of masculine archetypes--the master, the eunuch, the king, the jeweler--until something new emerges, a polished and pointed rage that spills over and dares, at last, to voice what once was unutterable.
"The Loose Pearl is a waterfall of words that wells up and demands to be read out loud, loudly. The loose one, the pearl, the mare--a woman seeking wholeness and a total identity in a world that tends to carve women up and discard the unseemly. Daniel Borzutzky's is the fearless translation of a poet capable of reading between lines and capturing the visceral xxx of the 'basic territory.' From a Chile roiling with discontent and a refusal to submit comes this dispatch that relates the contradiction and complication/ complexity/ of inhabiting a female body--that 'porous carriage'--in a city that refuses and dismisses her. Uncomfortable, subversive, and joyful." --Megan McDowell
"Paula Ilabaca Núñez's The Loose Pearl is an intense, bawdy, bodily fairytale about sexuality, and it is an 'eruption' of poetry. It's the kind of eruption that takes place in writing when you move beyond expectations and conventions and good taste into a realm where anything can come into play as long as the poet has the skills and daring to make it so. In The Loose Pearl, fucking is fucking (it has to be, it's how the text writes the body), but it is also the act of engaging in and attending to this act or moment of eruption. This is the most important truth about writing. This is both the first lesson and the last lesson of how to write poetry."--Johannes G...ransson
Poetry. Latinx Studies.
About the Author
Paula Ilabaca Núñez (Santiago de Chile, 1979) is a writer, editor and teacher. She received the 2015 Pablo Neruda Prize, the 2014 Juegos Florales Prize for her novel La regla de los nueve and the Premio de la Critica de Prensa Literaria en Chile (The Chilean Literary Critics Prize) in 2010 for La perla suelta. Her other books include: Completa (2003); la ciudad lucida (2006); Estados de mi corazón: cuadernos de viaje (2010); (in) complete (2010); Paula dice (2011); Y la sangre circulaba en su carne como un río de leche (2013).
Daniel Borzutzky is the author of Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018; Lake Michigan, finalist for the 2019 Griffin International Poetry Prize; THE PERFORMANCE OF BECOMING HUMAN, which received the 2016 National Book Award. His other books include IN THE MURMURS OF THE ROTTEN CARCASS ECONOMY (2015); Memories of my Overdevelopment (2015); and The Book of Interfering Bodies (2011). His translation of Galo Ghigliotto's VALDIVIA received the 2017 ALTA National Translation Award for Poetry. He has translated Raul Zurita's The Country of Planks and Song for his Disappeared Love; and Jaime Luis Huenún's Port Trakl. He teaches in the English and Latin American and Latino Studies Departments at the University of Illinois at Chicago.