A feature by Jennifer Croft
When away from Buenos Aires, I miss its sounds: the shrieks and yelps of kids on playgrounds, squawks and car horns, carts with giant wheels that scrape against the cobblestones, shouts, yips, chirps, steps. The dazzling, dizzying southern sun. The boisterous vegetation in the city’s parks—the gnarled roots of hundred-year-old rubber trees; the palo borracho with its creamy pink flowers and its spike-lined trunk . . . This constellation of incongruous and overwhelming forces is depicted differently over the course of Argentina’s rich artistic and literary tradition. An especially arresting perspective is taken by the poet Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972), whose mature works, published and unpublished, are being nimbly translated into English by Yvette Siegert in a beautiful volume entitled Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962-1972. In many of these poems we find ourselves cloistered against the frenzy of the outside world . . .