As Juan Gelman’s name begins appearing with regularity on lists predicting Noble-Laureate-deserving poets, his work has also begun to appear in English. But only now are the most stunning translations of Gelman’s poetry being published, and in one substantial volume. Dark Times Filled with Light traces the evolution of a gifted lyrical poet’s encounter with the political, when the poet’s son and daughter-in-law become ‘disappeared’ by the Argentinian government, and the poet must write from both a literal and metaphysical exile.
In this posthumously realized labor of love by the legendary translator Hardie St. Martin, Gelman’s staggering biography, and the poetics he developed to articulate and survive it, are unforgettably translated into beautiful and accessible poems that, taken together, weave a fragile but healing transformation. “There are losses,” says Gelman in a moving understatement. “The important thing is how returning to them transforms them into something new.”