An Inherent Tear

An Inherent Tear

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Author: Rodrigo Quijano

Translator: Judah Rubin

Publisher: Wendy's Subway (2024)

Rodrigo Quijano’s An Inherent Tear assembles a suite of poems first published in Lima in 1998 as Una procesión entera va por dentro and his 2014 essay “A Terrace in Valparaiso,” translated into English for the first time by Judah Rubin. Written during the Fujimori years of the 1990s—a period characterized by the end of the conflict between the Maoist Sendero Luminoso insurgency, the Peruvian army, and the Marxist-Leninist Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement—Quijano’s bracingly mournful and incisively wry poems insist that we not turn away from the unburied dead. Shifting between neo-baroque hermeticism and a poetics of the conversational, his work destabilizes lyric subjectivity, testing the limits of the structure of metaphor to relay the impasses of the present. Reflecting almost twenty years later from the “city of wildfires,” Quijano’s essay charts the continued landscape of state violence that carries with it the “payroll of bones” Cesar Vallejo evoked nearly a century earlier. In this new, searing collection, Quijano searches amid the smoke and the ashes for “A place to spend the night, / or a language to speak in, / walking through the desert, or drilling into our / insubstantial dreams.”