This first appearance in English of Gabriel Zaid's poetry comprises forty-two poems (presented in both English and the original Spanish), translated by a variety of poets.
In his Introduction, Octavio Paz describes his appreciation of Zaid’s work:
"Zaid is a religious and metaphysical poet, but also—or rather therefore—a poet of love. In his love poems, poetry functions once again as a force with the power to transfigure reality. This transfiguration is not change or transformation but rather an unveiling, a stripping: reality is presented as it is. Nothing is stranger than seeing things as they truly are. The reality of the presence of the beloved is a reality tainted by time; the bodies we love, while not losing their reality, suddenly show us a new side."
I am not the wind or the sail
only the rudder that cuts the trail.
I am not the water or the rudder:
one who sings the song, no other.
I am not the voice or the throat
only the song sung by the boat.
Who I am and what I say I do not know
only where you go I follow.
Trans. George McWhirter
Zaid's poems are playful and serious, full of feeling and thought, alert to time's depredations and eternity's bestowals. Paul Dry Books is delighted to introduce this new poetic voice to English-speaking readers.
"The subject matters of the 42 poems in this collection vary—some are more lyric, others more spiritual, and still others satiric—but their procedure is recognizably that of a single sensibility. Here is a poet who favors both simple imagistic compression, using for his images mainly the materials of the natural order (though here and there an automobile or an elevator will appear), and the dynamic expansions and shifts of perspective made possible by inventive juxtapositions. The final effect, of the individual poems as well as of the book, is of an outward movement, at times that of slow natural growth and at other times of explosion."—Sven Birkerts, Literal, Latin American Voices
Gabriel Zaid lives in Mexico City with the artist Basia Batorska, her paintings, their three cats, and ten thousand books. His books include collections of poetry and studies on the Mexican economy. He is a member of Mexico's Colegio Nacional. Zaid's So Many Books and The Secret of Fame are also available from Paul Dry Books.