Literature & literary studies:

Downhill and Rock & Core



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Downhill and Rock & Core by Gabriel Aresti
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Gabriel Aresti (1933-1975) was the poetic voice of both resistance and renewal for a generation and beyond of Basques in the 1960s and until his untimely death at the age of forty-one. The collections included in the present work, Maldan behera (Downhill, 1960) and Harri eta herri (Rock and Core, 1964), represent two distinct periods in his poetry: the former an epic, dreamlike, and visionary tale of descent and ascent, death and rebirth, a symbolist treatise on resurrection told through the voice of a superman, an Ego. In a complete stylistic about-turn, meanwhile, the latter is a robust, gritty, and direct tract, socially conscious poetry written in a clear, comprehensible form that plays on the metaphor of stone and rock as resistance, endurance. Amaia Gabantxo's stunning translation of these two seminal works from the original Basque--the first time they have been presented in English--brings the urgency and force of the originals to life and will take readers on an unforgettable journey deep into the rock, the core of Basque culture. It may be a bumpy ride at times, but the rewards will live long in the memory. "From symbolism to the poetry of social consciousness, Gabriel Aresti's work is considered one of the turning points in the history of Basque literature." Jon Kortazar, from the Introduction They'll say this ain't poetry and I'll tell them poetry is a hammer. Gabriel Aresti, from Rock & Core "That little poem, in many ways, shaped my thought. I took a whole day to write it in beautiful block letters on the cover of one of my school folders. It made me understand the power of the word to destroy, to alter, to undo--and to construct, to rebuild." Amaia Gabantxo, from the Translator's Preface "Gabriel Aresti was the essential poet for my Basque generation of the 1960s. "If you want to write me/You know where I am," he wrote, "In this most slippery hell/In the mouth of the devil." It was the hell of Franco's repressive regime, the endless darkness of his city, Bilbao, turned into an industrial and cultural wasteland. Aresti was the crucified Bilbao writer howling for justice and truth, the vulnerable man of eternal downfall who created a new poetics and a new subjectivity." Joseba Zulaika, from the Foreword
Release date NZ
April 6th, 2017
Introduction by Jon Kortazar Translated by Amaia Gabantxo
Illustrations, black and white
Center for Basque Studies UV of Nevada, Reno
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