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Selected Poems: Volume 2
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About the Author

Jorges Luis Borges was born in Buenos Aires in 1899 and educated in Europe. One of the most widely acclaimed writers of our time, he published many collections of poems, essays and short stories, before his death in Geneva in June 1986. In 1961 Borges shared the International Publishers' Prize with Samuel Beckett. The Ingram Merrill Foundation granted him its Annual Literary Award in 1966 for his "outstanding contribution to literature." In 1971 Columbia University awarded him the first of many degrees of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa that he was to receive from the English-speaking world. In 1971 he received the fifth biennial Jerusalem Prize and in 1973 was given the Alfonso Reyes Prize, one of Mexico's most prestigious cultural awards. In 1980 he shared the Cervantes Prize (the Spanish world's highest literary accolade) with Gerardo Diego. Borges was Director of the Argentine National Library from 1955 until 1973. In a tribute to Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa wrote: "His is a world of clear, pure, and at the same time unusual ideas...expressed in words of great directness and restraint. [He] was a superb storyteller. One reads most of Borges' tales with the hypnotic interest usually reserved for reading detective fiction..."

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After a few decades devoted to the luminously precise prose for which he is known in the States, Borges (1899-1986), who began his career writing poetry, returned to it with fervor. This edition makes available for the first time in English an overview of every phase of his poetic oeuvre. Although his earliest book (1923's Fervor de Buenos Aires) represents a youthful Borges more directly concerned with the specific, local and vernacular, he develops his mature themesÄtime, imagination, and identityÄthroughout. Taken together, the poems distill those concerns, which famously preoccupy him in the brief ficciones. And, like the fictions, they are almost disturbingly comprehensible. One peak of the collection is 1960's The Maker, showing Borges at his most defined and refined, presenting sophisticated riffs on Arisosto, Luke and "The Other Tiger" with elegance and gusto. The poems of 1969's In Praise of Darkness confront encroaching blindness, old age and the possibility of ethics, reaching beyond the expectations created by Borges's mastery of the fantastic and the metaphysical. The result is poems at times as moving as Stevens's "The Rock." The translations, edited by New York Univ. professor emeritus Coleman, and realized by varying hands as accomplished as W.S. Merwin, Mark Strand and Charles Tomlinson, are for the most part fluid, although the occasional infelicity, revealed by the original en face, does rankle. Still, gratitude is the only proper response to this invaluable volume, the second of three planned releases. First serial to Harper's and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. (Apr.)

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