cover of book

Of Such a Nature/Índole
by José Kozer
translated by Peter Boyle
introduction by Peter Boyle
edited by Peter Boyle
University of Alabama Press, 2018
Paper: 978-0-8173-5905-8 | eISBN: 978-0-8173-9167-6
Library of Congress Classification PQ7390.K68I5213 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 861.64

An English translation from one of Latin America’s most distinguished poets.
José Kozer is one of the most influential contemporary Cuban poets working today. A key figure in the neobaroque movement within contemporary Latin American poetry, he is one of only three Cubans to ever win the Pablo Neruda Prize given by the Neruda Foundation in Chile. He is the author of close to ninety books, including Este judío de números y letras, Bajo este cien, La garza sin sombras, Carece de causa, and Y del esparto la invariabilidad. Kozer is also noteworthy as a key poet of the Cuban diaspora, having left Cuba in 1960 and residing ever since in the United States.

Of Such a Nature/Índole is a bilingual edition translated into English by Peter Boyle. In addition, Boyle provides an extensive introduction placing Kozer’s work in a critical context.

The Spanish word “índole” can be translated as: “a type,” “a sort,” or “that sort of thing.” The title, Índole, therefore suggests that the poems gathered in this collection, are all instances of specific types of situations, things, or experiences. Kozer has gathered a collection of poems about everyday life—cleaning one’s dentures, a woman leaning over a bowl of oatmeal, a salamander glimpsed while eating breakfast—but always with death not far away.

Of Such a Nature/Índole is a remarkable collection of poems published in Cuba in 2012, covering such materials as Kozer’s Jewish heritage, his Cuban childhood and ongoing connection to the Island, Buddhist and East Asian traditions of spiritual practice, his everyday life in Florida with Guadalupe, ageing, illness, and the shadow of death. Irony and humor are there as well, and to read these poems is to be in the presence of the full seriousness of poetry and its playfulness, its ability to undercut all pretensions.

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