Extracting the Stone of Madness

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Extracting the Stone of Madness

2016 Staff Favorite

Pizarnik's poetry is reminiscent of, if not transcendent of, many of South America's greats. A little known talent in English, she was revered by Calvino, Cortazar, and others. Her use of language and dire meditation on our fleeting joys and unavoidable fate cut deeply into a beauty that only poetry can unearth. As she says in "Memory Loss:" "I recall with all my lives / my reasons for forgetting."
- Kevin

Revered by the likes of Octavio Paz and Roberto Bolano, Alejandra Pizarnik is still a hidden treasure in the U.S. Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962-1972 comprises all of her middle to late work, as well as a selection of posthumously published verse. Obsessed with themes of solitude, childhood, madness and death, Pizarnik explored the shifting valences of the self and the border between speech and silence. In her own words, she was drawn to "the suffering of Baudelaire, the suicide of Nerval, the premature silence of Rimbaud, the mysterious and fleeting presence of Lautréamont," as well as to the "unparalleled intensity" of Artaud's "physical and moral suffering."
Publication Date: 
April 7, 2015