Save Twilight: Selected Poems

ISBN: 0872863336
ISBN 13: 9780872863330
By: Julio Cortázar Stephen Kessler

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Argentina Favorites Julio Cortázar Latin Latin American Literature Latinoam Rica Literatura Latinoamericana Poesia Poetry To Read

About this book

The power of Eros, the enduring beauty of art, a love-hate nostalgia for his Argentine homeland, the bonds of friendship and the tragic folly of politics are some of the themes of Save Twilight. Informed by his immersion in world literature, music, art, and history, and most of his own emotional geography, Cortázar’s poetry traces his paradoxical evolution from provincial Argentinean sophisticate to cosmopolitan Parisian Romantic, always maintaining the sense of astonishment of an artist surprised by life.

Reader's Thoughts

Mariano Camberos

Sin palabras, una pequeña joya literaria-difícil de encontrar-que nos presenta esa cara poética de Cortázar. Recomiendo la edición de Alfaguara.

Juan M

Brillante libro de poemas, meopas, pameos, sonetos, prosas, prosemas y otras letras... algunos más geniales que otros, pero brillantes en su conjunto.


Cortazar does what we forget to do as poets sometimes. He drives a poem up hill and then drops it off the side. I read this three times on the plane from San Fransico to Minneapolis and I still cannot recreate his power. I will keep reading.

Carlitos Caprioli

Beautiful City Lights edition. Translation is ok. Title is perfect example: Save Twilight is too ambiguous, maybe should be 'cept twilight? There are more instances like that, but overall is good. But what's important here is the original, which is fkn beautiful stuff. They're poems he wrote in bars, airports, etc, most deal with his lover who passed. Some became tango lyrics. Makes fun of himself for suffering so much. They all flow like songs.


this book holds a great memory for me. i happened upon this book while polly mae and i were rooting through city lights bookshop. i read the selection "una carta de amor/a love letter" to pmae as she relished the words. una carta de amortodo lo que de vos quisieraes tan poco en el fondoporque en el fondo es todocomo un perro que pasa, una colina,esas cosas de nada, coidianas,espiga y cabellera y dos terrones,el olor de tu cuerpo,conmigo o contra mía,todo eso que es tan pocoyo lo quiero de vos porque te quiero.que mires màs allà de mí,que me ames con violenta prescindenciadel mañana, que el gritode tu entrga se estrelleen la cara de un jefe de oficinia,y que el placer que juntos inventamossea otro signo de la libertada love lettereverything i'd want from you is finally so littlebecause finally it's everythinglike a dog going by, or a hill,those meaningless things, mundane,wheat ear and long hair and two lumps of sugar,the smell of your body,whatever you say about anything,with or against me,all that which is so littlei want from you because i love you.may you look beyond me,may you love me with violent disregardfor tomorrow, let the cryof your coming explodein the boss's face in some officeand let the pleasure we invent togetherbe one more sign of freedom.i also highly recommend "el breve amor/the brief love" & "liquidación de saldos/clearance sale".

Luz Ciccone

Una joya del lirismo hispano


cortazar is famous for his fiction, but his poetry is beautiful. surreal without being unmoored. he walks the careful tightrope between internal worlds and the external world with great care.

PGR Nair

When Julio Cortázar died of cancer in February 1984 at the age of sixty-nine, the Madrid newspaper El Pais hailed him as one of Latin America’s greatest writers and over two days carried eleven full pages of tributes, reminiscences, and farewells. Such is the reputation he enjoyed as a giant of Latin American Literature . I am a fetish of anything Cortazar has written and therefore have over the years accumulated virtually everything he has written and eagerly wait for untranslated works too. Cortazar was a tall man, 6'4". He had a broad chest, was handsome and had a charismatic personality too. People tended to take note of him wherever he went. Here is an endearing episode of an encounter narrated in his ‘Paris Review’ interview: “Interviewer: Have fame and success been pleasurable? Cortazar: Ah, listen, I’ll say something I shouldn’t say because no one will believe it, but success isn’t a pleasure for me. I’m glad to be able to live from what I write, so I have to put up with the popular and critical side of success. But I was happier as a man when I was unknown. Much happier. Now I can’t go to Latin America or to Spain without being recognized every ten yards, and the autographs, the embraces . . . It’s very moving, because they’re readers who are frequently quite young. I’m happy that they like what I do, but it’s terribly distressing for me on the level of privacy. I can’t go to a beach in Europe; in five minutes there’s a photographer. I have a physical appearance that I can’t disguise; if I were small I could shave and put on sunglasses, but with my height, my long arms and all that, they discover me from afar. On the other hand, there are very beautiful things: I was in Barcelona a month ago, walking around the Gothic Quarter one evening, and there was an American girl, very pretty, playing the guitar very well and singing. She was seated on the ground singing to earn her living. She sang a bit like Joan Baez, a very pure, clear voice. There was a group of young people from Barcelona listening. I stopped to listen to her, but I stayed in the shadows. At one point, one of these young men who was about twenty, very young, very handsome, approached me. He had a cake in his hand. He said, “Julio, take a piece.” So I took a piece and I ate it, and I told him, “Thanks a lot for coming up and giving that to me.” He said to me, “But, listen, I give you so little next to what you’ve given me.” I said, “Don’t say that, don’t say that,” and we embraced and he went away. Well, things like that, that’s the best recompense for my work as a writer. That a boy or a girl comes up to speak to you and to offer you a piece of cake, it’s wonderful. It’s worth the trouble of having written.” So when I saw a small collection of his poetry titled “Save Twilight”, I ordered it though the price was exorbitant. Reading this poetry collection was an intensely moving experience . He writes with the ink of his heart and each poem tugs you so much that one rests a while and waft in the beauty of it before moving to the next. A lot of the endearing aspects of his persona as evinced in the above interview can be seen in these poems too. The poet more often converges with the man himself. I am reading it parsimoniously to save some of the poems of “Save Twilight” for my rainy days , afraid that the book would get finished too soon. The power of eros, enduring beauty of art and bonds of friendship are some of the themes in this book. All the poems have been nimbly translated into English by the distinguished translator Stephen Kessler. Seldom has translated poetry acquired such coruscating brilliance as in this one. The two poems I have posted below are sensitive, serene and sublime. They need no explanations. Just read it and close your eyes to immerse in it. A LOVE LETTER Everything I’d want from you is finally so little because finally it’s everything like a dog going by, or a hill, those meaningless things, mundane, wheat ear and long hair and two lumps of sugar, the smell of your body, whatever you say about anything, with or against me, all that which is so little I want from you because I love you. May you look beyond me, may you love me with violent disregard for tomorrow, let the cry of your coming explode in the boss’s face in some office and let the pleasure we invent together be one more sign of freedom. TO BE READ IN THE INTEROGATIVE Have you seen have you truly seen the snow the stars the felt steps of the breeze Have you touched really have you touched the plate the bread the face of that woman you love so much Have you lived like a blow to the head the flash the gasp the fall the flight Have you known known in every pore of your skin how your eyes your hands your sex your soft heart must be thrown away must be wept away must be invented all over again Can you imagine the poem if he didn't title it that way? It would have been such an unsightly poem with all the question marks in it:)). This is my favorite poem in the whole collection


Cortazar's prose is stronger than his verse, but it's still interesting to see this side of his creativity.


I wanted to give this 5 stars but I couldn't. I think that I really loved it but some poems weren't as good as others. It's still interesting, his fusion of avant garde with diverse languages and ways to conceive poetry, and that even in France his poetry becomes so familiar and at the same time, searching for that Rimbaud-like form. Then again, rating poetry is almost impossible, given that in Cortázar's case there's some style interruptions.


a slim, bilingual collection of cortázar's poetry. published as part of the city lights books pocket poets series, the poems in save twilight were culled by renowned translator stephen kessler from cortázar's posthumously published collected poems of the same name, salvo el crepúsculo. as kessler makes evident in the preface, the selection of poems chosen for this book aim to "represent the range of cortázar's poetic accomplishment, from traditional verse to open forms, romantic lyrics to angry tirades, the surreal to the prosaic, the intimately autobiographical to the social-historical sides of his sensibility." the fifty or so poems in this collection are accompanied by a few interspersed prose pieces, including one about the merits of including a prose piece in a collection of poetry. it is clear cortázar was never short on imagination. many of these poems are quite powerful in their effect, and there are a few that are simply exceptional ("una carta de amor/a love letter", "ándele/get a move on"). time's distribution (distribución del tiempo)every day we're more, we who believe lessin so many things that made our lives more full,plato's or goethe's highest, most indisputable values,the word, its dove above history's ark,the work's survival, the family line and our inheritance.which isn't to say we fall with the fervor of neophytesfor that science landing its robots on the moon;the truth of the matter is it leaves us cold,and if dr. barnard transplants a heartwe'd prefer a thousand times over that anyone's happinessbe the exact, essential reflection of lifeuntil their irreplaceable heart might softly say enough.every day we're more, we who believe lessin the utilization of humanismfor the stereophonic nirvanaof mandarins and esthetes.which doesn't meanthat when there's a moment's peacewe don't read rilke, plato or verlaine, or listen to the clear clarions,or look at the trembling angelsof angelico.


!!!What would we do w/o South American writers?

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