It’s always sad to find out that one of your authors has passed away, especially someone as nice as Juan Gelman.
As Kaija pointed out upon hearing about his death, the one really great thing is that he was able to finally—after post office issues, bad addresses, and a host of other nineteenth century problems—able to get copies of his collection Dark Times Filled with Light before he passed on.
Below you’ll find more information about his life, but if you want to check out his poetry (in Hardie St. Martin’s wonderful translation), you can get 50% off the list price on our site by entering the code “darktimes” when you check out.
Here’s a bit from the BBC obituary:
Argentine poet Juan Gelman has died aged 83 in Mexico City. He is considered to be one of the greatest authors in Spanish and was awarded the prestigious Cervantes Prize in 2007.
Mr Gelman, a left-wing activist and a guerrilla in Argentina in the 1960s and 1970s, lived in Mexico for 20 years.
He wrote more than 20 books and regular columns for newspapers.
His son and his pregnant daughter-in-law died after being abducted by the military government in the 1970s. [. . .]
But in 2000, he was also able to trace his granddaughter, born before Maria Claudia’s presumed murder. The child had been handed over to a pro-government family in Uruguay.
The reunion was one of the most high profile involving disappeared people in Argentina’s history – fewer than 600 victims of the 1976-83 “dirty war” have been found.
To celebrate the upcoming release (Nov. 20) of Juan Gelman’s Dark Times Filled with Light, we’re giving away 10 copies via the GoodReads giveaway program. All you have to do to enter (if you’re a member of GoodReads) is click on the box below. The giveaway went live this morning, and will close on November 15th, so if you want a chance to win, do it soon!
To give you a sense of Gelman’s importance and poetry, here’s a bit from Paul Pines’s introduction:
Juan Gelman was born in Buenos Aires in 1930 to a father who had participated in the 1905 Russian revolution before immigrating to Argentina. Juan was a political activist until the 1976 Argentine coup d’état brought a reign of terror to Buenos Aires. Gelman’s son, Marcelo, and daughter-in-law, Claudia, pregnant with the poet’s grandchild, were “disappeared.” The poet spent the next thirty years as an exile in Mexico and Europe. In 2000, after decades of searching, he located his granddaughter, born before her mother’s murder and given to a pro-government family in Uruguay.
The Argentina that nurtured the tango, and then “disappeared” its people, became the crucible for a poet. Steeped in the authority of his wound, Gelman’s poems transform the unspeakable into an affirmation that locates light even in the darkest of times:
dark times / filled with light / the sun
spreads sunlight over the city split
by sudden sirens / the police hunt goes on / night falls and we’ll
make love under this roof
Enter below, and if you’d rather just buy the book, you can order it directly from us for $11.95.
Argentine poet Juan Gelman has received the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world’s highest literary honour.
Gelman, who receives 90,000 euros with the award, is considered Argentina’s poet laureate. His prolific work addresses among other issues the pain of loss under military juntas that ruled his country in the 1970s and 80s.
Argentine poet Juan Gelman, who wrote about the pain of loss under his country’s military juntas, has won the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world’s top literary award.
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