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Distributed for Swan Isle Press

The School of Solitude

Collected Poems

Bilingual edition

Translated and with an Introduction by Anthony Geist
Peruvian poet Luis Hernández is legendary in his native country. Haunted by addiction and spending periodic reclusion in rehabilitation centers, Hernández was exceptionally gifted in his youth, publishing three books of poetry by the time he was twenty-four. He did not publish another book before his untimely death at thirty-six, but he was not silent—he filled notebooks with poems, musical notations, quotes, translations, musings, newspaper clippings, and drawings.
Derived from these notebooks, The School of Solitude is the first book of Hernández’s poetry in English. The haunting voice of Hernández evokes an irrevocably distant past, with the poems contemplating happiness and joy, love and fulfillment, yet always with a sense of sadness, solitude, and dream. Including rare images from Hernández’s notebooks, as well as several poems never before published in any language, The School of Solitude will be read not only for its powerful poetry and imagery, but also as a means to learn more about this enigmatic Latin American poet and the mystery of his life and work.

167 pages | 9 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8


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“In this collection of poems by Luis Hernández, prepared specifically for this edition, the poet’s offhanded wit of everyday melancholy flashes out often. Some of the poems create the tone and language of work written out of the immediate moment, to protect some part of it for a moment longer, since ‘living is made out of glass.’ Others shift to the tone of elegy not only for persons but as if for the world. In only a few years, neglectful of self, perhaps, but burning with creativity, Hernández seems to have spanned the poetic development of a much longer lifetime. What a great gesture of faith not only in this poet but also in poetry itself that the work of this poet, ‘former welterweight champion’ of poetry, has been kept alive for readers in Spanish and is now offered to readers in English.”

Reginald Gibbons, Northwestern University, author of Slow Trains Overhead

“A deep humanity and seductive, bluesy rhythms pervade these poems of Luis Hernández, as does a mindful quality and emotional symmetry that rise from the ceaseless interaction between the natural order and disorder of experience. In taut, spare lines, the pursuit of love and even the moments of apparent randomness turn on precise, simply stated observation and paradoxical memories, flashes of humor, and beautiful, enduring loss. ‘I don’t remember your eyes / Only what they saw.’ Anthony Geist provides skillful, honest translations—poems in English—which in their courage and conviction recreate the integrity of the originals.”

William O’Daly, poet and translator of Pablo Neruda

"Distributed throughout The School of Solitude are photocopies of Hernández’s handwritten poems and drawings, all done on lined school notebooks. They provide a sense of the physical form of the poem’s original renderings, as well as Hernández’s free, unconventional spirit. Luis Hernández believed not only in challenging and complicating poetic conventions within his work; he conducted his entire life as an expression of this belief. With this publication of Anthony Geist’s excellent translation of The School of Solitude, Swan Isle Press has presented a great gift to English reading public. We should receive these poems with the same warmth and joy as did those friends, family members, poets, and strangers to whom they were originally given."

Mike Puican | Make Magazine

"Anthony Geist renders the poetry-reading world an immense service in plucking the mercurial Peruvian writer Luis Hernández (1941–77) from English-language obscurity with the publication of The School of Solitude."

Gregary J. Racz | Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas

"The School of Solitude: Collected Poems. . .[is] a refreshing experience for Spanish readers and now made available to English readers, thanks to Anthony Geist’s clever translations. The collection, placed in side-by-side bilingual format and with notebook illustrations included, allows a new generation of English and Spanish readers to relish in this impressive poetic and translation endeavor. . . The notebook pages spatially shape the discontinuities in Hernández’s writing, and Geist’s translations also invite the reader to play with the whiteness of the page that the English translation hinges on for a more enriching reading experience. . . Through Hernández’s poetry and Geist’s translation, English and Spanish become a much more fluid and playful duet of linguistic, musical, and cultural exchange between North America, Western Europe, and South America. This translated work offers a notable contribution of re-writing and re-configuring the 1960s generation of counterculture writers and artists, which irrevocably is provoked, played with, and challenged by the work of the Peruvian poet, Luis (Lucho) Hernández."


[Is] finely translated by Anthony Geist. . .merit[s] enthusiastic acclaim. . .will not only provide ample access to Luis Hernández’ poetry, but also open the door to original and versatile lyricism worthy of greater critical attention.”

Latin American Literature Today

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