Translated from Spanish by Yvette Siegert
two rotting petals
shots of briny wine
a well-conceived void
a fissure in the chair
a child’s gong
a zero in disguise
oh, pieces of the infinite
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”