by Cecilia Vicuña
Published in 1997 by Wesleyan Poetry Series
Internationally acclaimed as a poet and visual artist, Cecilia Vicuna is also a political activist and founding member of Artists for Democracy. Since the mid-60s, she has worked with abandoned materials and rubbish to create works of art she calls “precarios”–fragile constructions of string, bark, pebbles: small boats left floating in city puddles, handwoven nets strung across rivers. In her poetry, Vicuna combines Andean vernacular with other languages to form highly condensed metaphors, puns, and anagrams, thus inventing language looms on which meaning is woven. Indeed, in the ancient language of the Inkas, “weaving” and “language” are the same word. The book’s unique design incorporates an elaborately illustrated artist’s book by Vicuna and a collection of critical essays that consider her work in its Latin American and global context.