The poetry of Spanish and Catalan writer Pere Gimferrer now appears in book form for the first time in English, translated by Adrian West. Alma Venus is a long unified poem that departs from and returns to the kindly goddess of love, blending the individual and the collective, the past and the present, and far-flung allusions to literature, film, and painting. Voices ranging from classical Latin poetry to those of contemporary critics like Antonio Negri and Noam Chomsky are enlisted in service of a vision of the subversive power of love in capitalist society.
Alma Venus expands on themes explored in the author’s previous work Rapsodia, which was selected as the best book of poetry of 2011 by ABC and El Mundo. In its treatment of present-day social and political circumstances, the breadth of its cultural field of reference, and the intensity of its vision, this is a poetry as timeless as it is timely, one that for English-speaking readers will bear affinities with works of great lyricism and historical consciousness like Geoffrey Hill’s The Triumph of Love.
Pere Gimferrer (b. Barcelona, 1945) is the author of numerous books of poetry, criticism, and fiction, both in Spanish and in Catalan. His body of work has been awarded the National Prize of Spanish Letters (1998), the Reina Sofia Prize for Iberoamerican Poetry (2000), and the Octavio Paz International Poetry and Essay Prize (2006). His writing is notable for its visual power, the range of its references, and its extraordinary lexical refinement, as well as its profound concern with the role of the artist in his engagement with his forebears and the historical responsibility of the intellectual.
Adrian West is a writer and translator whose work has appeared in numerous publications, such as McSweeney’s, The Brooklyn Rail, Words Without Borders, and Asymptote, where he is also a contributing editor. He currently lives between Europe and the United States with the cinema critic Beatriz Leal Riesco.