The Science of Departures

The Science of Departures

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Author: Adalber Salas Hernández

Translator: Robin Myers

Publisher: Kenning Editions (2021)

The Science of Departures is a book of goodbyes. Each poem in Adalber Salas Hernández’s collection speaks to a different kind of farewell: death, estrangement, illness, dispossession, decomposition, banishment, stories forgetfully or oppressively re-written over time, the painful discrepancy between language and experience. Some address historical figures or speak in their voices. Others explore the body (living, dead, and in transit): where it goes, the borders it traverses, what it’s forced to leave behind. Informed both by classical literature and contemporary Venezuelan politics, by twentieth-century history and high school biology class, by Twitter and the Old Testament, by the cynicism of bureaucracy and the wonder of parenthood, these poems register loss, condemn subjugation, and marvel at the music humans can make when we try to speak of it all.