Due to the relatively recent translations of acclaimed novels (namely The Savage Detectives and 2666) Roberto Bolaño is slowly becoming one of the most talked about Latin American authors in the English speaking world. But there remains a large void in the Bolaño universe for English speakers: his poetry. Bolaño primarily considered himself a poet, but as of 2010 only two collections of his poetry exist in English. The Romantic Dogs, a small book of 44 poems, and Antwerp, which collects 56 “cinematic gestures” or prose-poems.
The purpose of this site is to provide English translations for the largely untranslated body of poetry of Roberto Bolaño. All of the poems translated on this site come from his collection titled La Universidad Desconocida (published by Anagrama, Barcelona).
Note on the translations
All of these poems are translated by me, Tim Pilcher. I am not a professional translator, but a student who loves Bolaño and would like to spread this love. I’ve studied Spanish seriously for almost 5 years, have spent time traveling in Latin America, and can speak and read Spanish with ease. That being said, all translation is an approximation. My doubts with certain words, phrases, syntax, and the author’s intent endure despite constant referral to dictionaries. So please, keep this in mind. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about the translations, feel free to email me.
New Directions has scheduled a number of Bolaño’s works for release in English translations including: The Skating Rink (August, 2009), Monsieur Pain (January 2010), Antwerp (April 2010), Assassin Whores (tentative title) (June 2010), The Insufferable Gaucho (August 2010), Between Parentheses (June 2011) and The Secret of Evil (November 2011).