I Am…


Translated from Spanish by Yvette Siegert



my wings?
two rotting petals

my reason?
shots of briny wine

my life?
a well-conceived void

my body?
a fissure in the chair

my moods?
a child’s gong

my face?
a zero in disguise

my eyes?
oh, pieces of the infinite




black and white portrait of poet Alejandra Pizarnik. Young woman with short dark hair sitting in front of tree looking off into the middle distance

Alejandra Pizarnik (1936–1972) was a leading voice in twentieth-century Latin American poetry. Born in Argentina to Russian-Jewish immigrants, Pizarnik studied at the University of Buenos Aires and the Sorbonne. Known primarily as a poet, Pizarnik also published reviews, translations, theatre, and short works of experimental prose, and left behind a literary diary that reflects her debt to Kafka, Artaud, and Michaux. She died of an apparent drug overdose at the age of thirty-six.

Yvette Siegert’s poetry and translations have appeared in Bomb, Circumference, Guernica, Chelsea, Stonecutter, and Aufgabe. She received a PEN Heim/NYSCA Grant and a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for her translations of the collected works of Alejandra Pizarnik. Yvette Siegert is a doctoral candidate at Merton College, Oxford. Her debut collection won the James Berry Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from Bloodaxe Books.


“I Am…” originally appeared in Women’s Studies (TLR, Winter 2015).


Also by Alejandra Pizarnik: “Exile”