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ISBN 978-0-9567359-8-0
First published September 2012; 100 pp
paperback with endpapers; 198 x 129 mm

£8.99
click here to read a pdf excerpt.
Richard Gwyn, Giannuzzi's translator, has published several collections of poetry, two novels and a memoir, The Vagabond’s Breakfast (2011; Wales Book of the Year, Creative Non-Fiction, 2012), as well as books on illness, language and the body. He is Director of the MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff University.
 
Joaquín O. Giannuzzi,  A Complicated Mammal
translated by Richard Gwyn
 
      So here am I with my sprawling backside
      in some chamber adequate to my social class.
      Gentle things put in a safe place,
      shut away from the general tumult.
      But at times a bomb explodes on the ground floor
      and the police show up to find out who is who in this world.


Joaquín Giannuzzi was b
orn in 1924 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and died in 2004. His ten collections of poetry, written while working as a professional journalist, established his reputation as one of the most admired Spanish-language poets of his time. With quiet intensity, his work attends to the objects of the world – apples arranged in a bowl, a blue cup, the hand of a grandmother – with a mind attuned to their immanence, to the disturbance as well as the apparent finality of their otherness.

Introducing Giannuzzi to British readers for the first time in this bilingual Spanish/English selection, his translator Richard Gwyn writes that he ‘cast a powerful influence over two subsequent generations of Argentinian writers, for many of whom Giannuzzi represents a kind of model, his understated, pessimistic, yet always humane poetry contemplating the tumultuous and, for Argentina, often ruinous second half of the twentieth century’.


‘Do not let the eloquence of Joaquín O. Giannuzzi’s poetry put you off discovering in full his singular, destabilising and pessimistic, but humane take on the world. Or his “pacing the no-man’s-land between the speaking subject and the things of this world”, as Richard Gwyn – his translator and prefacer in this book of selected work – aptly puts it . . . Several times we sit  with Giannuzzi peacefully at a window or a table only to be led quietly towards something bizarre, disastrous or shocking. I found these still-lives poised on precipices very powerful. When Gianuzzi speaks of the “constant homicide of creation” this is no empty gesture; it feels very real, placed as it is in Giannuzzi’s calm contemplations. His poetry is always aware of the presence of violence behind a wall, of politics and the turbulent South American twentieth century, without losing its universal qualities.’
     – Nia Davies,
Poetry Wales


‘The contemporary Buenos Aires poetry scene has its own particular fervour, featuring live readings accompanied by music. But here I will unapologetically recommend a classic, Joaquín Giannuzzi (1924–2004) … there’s something about Giannuzzi’s objectivist poetry of ideas that finds kinship with poems by Eugenio Montale, W.H. Auden, Edgar Lee Masters, Césare Pavese and T. S. Eliot. A musical rhythm also runs through his collections, and it’s unsurprising to learn that Giannuzzi venerated Bach, Handel and Beethoven, as well as Chopin’s Preludes and Schumann’s Kinderszenen … Giannuzzi worked as a journalist, lived out a bourgeois life coloured by historical events at the side of his wife Libertad Demitrópulos (a talented novelist in her own right) and died in the province of Salta, in the north of Argentina.
   Readers of English have the option of Richard Gwyn’s A Complicated Mammal: Selected Poems (CB Editions, 2010), while readers of Spanish are recommended to seek out the excellent collection of secondary sources compiled by Jorge Fondebrider, Giannuzzi: Reseñas, artículos y trabajos académicos sobre su obra (Ediciones del Dock, 2010). That volume features essays by writers such as Daniel Freidemberg (“each poem is an unfolded thought, generally jumping off from a concrete image”), Fabián Casas (who notes the “Borgean importance of adjectives” in Giannuzzi’s work and explains his attention to objects is natural as “these are constructed by men and contain at their centre a reason and use”) and Fondebrider (whom Giannuzzi told, in an interview, that “objects are one of my obsessions. They are like secret substances, one of many enigmas … metaphorical language is the only one capable of revealing the world’s meaning”).’

     – Jessica Sequeira, Glasgow Review of Books (‘Reads of the Year 2014’)

‘These are great poems, short, modern, dark lyrics by a poet compared by Jessica Sequeira to Montale, Auden, Pavese and T. S. Eliot. Richard Gwyn has done a magnificent job in translating them for us.’
     – Martyn Crucefix