Dark Times Filled with Light


by Juan Gelman

November 20, 2012
poems | pb | 100 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"

“Perhaps the most admirable element of Gelman’s poetry is the unthinkable tenderness he shows . . . calling upon so many shadows for one voice to lull and comfort, a permanent caress of words on unknown tombs.”
—Julio Cortázar

As Juan Gelman’s name begins appearing with regularity on lists predicting Noble-Laureate-deserving poets, his work has also begun to appear in English. But only now are the most stunning translations of Gelman’s poetry being published, and in one substantial volume. Dark Times Filled with Light traces the evolution of a gifted lyrical poet’s encounter with the political, when the poet’s son and daughter-in-law become “disappeared” by the Argentinian government, and the poet must write from both a literal and metaphysical exile.

In this posthumously realized labor of love by the legendary translator Hardie St. Martin, Gelman’s staggering biography, and the poetics he developed to articulate and survive it, are unforgettably translated into beautiful and accessible poems that, taken together, weave a fragile but healing transformation. “There are losses,” says Gelman in a moving understatement. “The important thing is how returning to them transforms them into something new.”

Translated from the Spanish by Hardie St. Martin

Introduction by Paul Pines


About the Author: Juan Gelman (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1930) is one of the most read and influential poets in the Spanish language, as well as a noted political activist and critical journalist. Among his most recent awards are the Juan Rulfo Prize in Latin American and Caribbean Literature (Mexico, 2000), the Pablo Neruda Prize (Chile, 2005), and the Cervantes Prize (Spain, 2007).

About the Translator: Hardie St. Martin was a master translator. In his long and distinguished career as an editor and translator, he translated work by Pablo Neruda, Vincente Aleixandre, Enrique Lihn, and Luisa Valenzuela, among others. His anthology of Spanish poetry, Roots and Wings (1975), is still considered a literary landmark. St. Martin died in Barcelona in 2007.


“Gelman’s poetry is epic in its scope—no corner of life goes unnoticed in this work. . . . Rendered in a breathless style, this is the diary of a human heart in a rough world where artistry is the first salvation.” 
—Oscar Hijuelos