Eugenio Montejo was one of the most significant Latin American poets and essayists of the past half century. Montejo (who died in 2008) was awarded both the National Prize for Literature in his native Venezuela and the prestigious Octavio Paz International Poetry and Essay Prize. This long-overdue volume offers selections from all ten of Montejo’s books of poetry, as well as a handful of exemplary prose works. All of the selections are presented here in the original Spanish, with translations in English by Kirk Nesset, a prize-winning American writer and poet.
Alphabet of the World reveals Montejo’s themes and stylistic range as it charts his formal and emotional trajectory. The poems offer meditations on the subject of time, on the immutability of spirit, on eros and birth, and on the role of language in all things human. The book also includes excerpts from Montejo’s Notebook of Blas Coll and Guitar of the Horizon, and three complete essays selected specifically for the insight and depth they lend to his work in both genres.
The book’s introduction situates and appraises Montejo’s achievement, exploring the corpus comprehensively. Alphabet of the World marks a major stride toward winning Montejo the English-speaking recognition he deserves.