César Vallejo’s Against Professional Secrets

Just in: César Vallejo’s Against Professional Secrets from Roof Books, translated by Joseph Mulligan. A lovely book, indeed. Details, more blurbs, here. What I wrote for the back cover:

These small (by word-count only) proses by the great Peruvian avant-gardista César Vallejo carry the master’s unmistakable meandering complexity of language and thought, of language in thought. These meditations are “answers without questions which are the spirit of art and the dialectic consciousness of things.” Into these not very Borgesian fictions, Vallejo is able to insert a rocky, rollicking, mestizoed “r”  — thus making for abrasive thinking, for to cleanse your moral palate you need fricative pumice stone, not soft soap-opera-ted fictive ablations. Vallejo is wont to upend familiar expectations, so let us take him at his word and suggest (as he does in relation to Baudelaire) that his writing pounces not like a cat, because the cat “has malice in all its paws,” but moves, thinks and writes like a bat, the animal that, he says, brings “wisdom in shadows.” This is so because the bat, like Vallejo’s writing, is “able to perform upward falls.”

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