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Cesar Vallejo is one the greatest Spanish-language poets of the 20th century, his monument being the book-length sequence 'Trilce' (a translation of which is published simultaneously with this volume). After the publication of 'Trilce' he published numerous essays and a didactic novel, but did not collect any of his subsequent poems for book publication. Since his death, these poems have usually been referred to as the Posthumous Poems, or. collectively as the 'Poemas humanos' after the title of one of the posthumous volumes. This volume brings together all of the post-'Trilce' work that has been identified by the latest scholarship and included in the most recent Peruvian edition of the author's works. The Spanish texts have benefitted from a number of corrections, as compared to previous publications. The poems are presented chronologically -- as far as the chronology can be ascertained -- and the book offers the most complete version yet of this magnificent body of work. The translations are by the Irish poet, and award-winning translator, Michael Smith, and the Peruvian scholar Valentino Gianuzzi.
Cesar Vallejo was born in 1892 in the small town of Santiago de Chuco in northern Peru. He was able to attend Trujillo University and the University of San Marcos in Lima, although his parents were poor. In 1920 he was arrested while in his home town and accused of being involved in some political disturbances. Although he appears to have been innocent, he was imprisoned for several months and many of the poems in 'Trilce', his second book (1922), refer to this period, which was to have a decisive impact upon both his life and his poetry. In 1923 Vallejo went to Paris and in 1928 and 1929 he made two short trips to the USSR, which were to have a profound effect upon him. In the 1930s he became a militant communist, and was expelled from France, whereupon he moved to Spain. In 1933 he returned to Paris but again left for Spain at the outbreak of the Civil War, first to visit Republican territory and later to attend the International Writers' Congress. He died in 1938. His poetry written after "Trilce" only appeared in book form after his death. Vallejo is regarded as the most important poet of Peru, one of the great figures of Latin American literature, and one of the titans of the pre-war international avant-garde