Love Poems & God of Nothingness
Presented in partnership with the University of Wisconsin Program in Creative Writing, this edition of Wisconsin Wednesdays features UW Professor, Jesse Lee Kercheval, and UW Alumnus, Mark Wunderlich, for their newest books, Love Poems & God of Nothingness. Join the event at: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/wbf-love-poems-nothingness. Before the event begins, you will see a countdown and the event image.
About Love Poems: Eight years before Sylvia Plath published Ariel, the Uruguayan poet Idea Vilariño released Poemas de Amor, a collection of confessional, passionate poetry dedicated to the novelist Juan Carlos Onetti. Both of her own merit and as part of the Uruguayan writers group the Generation of ’45—which included Onetti, Mario Benedetti, Amanda Berenguer, and Ida Vitale—Vilariño is an essential South American poet, and part of a long tradition of Uruguayan women poets. Vilariño and Onetti’s love affair is one of the most famous in South American literature. Poemas de Amor is an intense book, full of poems about sexuality and what it means to be a woman, and stands as a testament to both the necessity and the impossibility of love. This translation brings these highly personal poems to English speaking audiences for the first time side-by-side with the original Spanish language versions.
About God of Nothingness: God of Nothingness is a book for those who have seen death up close or even quietly wished for it. In these poems, honed to a devastating edge, Mark Wunderlich asks: How is it we go on as those around us die? And why go on at all? This collection is a brilliant testament to the human ability to make something tough-minded and resilient out of despair and the inevitability of death drawing near. Some poems are moving elegies addressed to mentors, friends, and family recently gone; some contend with the unasked-for responsibilities of inheritance and the family name; others call forth the understanding of being the end of a genetic line; still others remember a rural midwestern coming-of-age and, chillingly, an encounter with the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Present all the while are the prevailing comforts and wonders found in the natural world, work, and the longing for traditions that seem to be passing from our time. Exquisite in its craft and capaciousness, God of Nothingness is an unflinching journal of solitude and survival.
Jesse Lee Kercheval is a poet, writer, and translator, specializing in Uruguayan poetry. Her poetry collections include America that island off the coast of France and Dog Angel, Her translations include Love Poems by Idea Vilariño and The Invisible Bridge: Selected Poems of Circe Maia. A bilingual Spanish-English edition of her selected poems, La crisis es el cuerpo, translated by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg, was published in Argentina by Editorial Bajo la luna and is forthcoming in Mexico.
Mark Wunderlich was born in Winona, Minnesota and grew up in rural Fountain City, Wisconsin. He attended Concordia College’s Institut für Deutsche Studien, and later the University of Wisconsin from which he received a BA in German Literature and English. Wunderlich earned a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University’s School of the Arts Writing Division where he studied poetry with J.D. McClatchy, William Matthews and Lucie Brock-Broido, among others, and translation with William Weaver and Frank MacShane.