Natural History by José Watanabe

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Pub Date: April 1, 2022

Translated by Michelle Har Kim
Illustrated by Eduardo Tokeshi

Beloved by lovers of poetry across the globe, José Watanabe (1946-2007) is one of Peru’s most celebrated twentieth-century poets. Of his variegated repertoire, which includes articles, screenplays, and children’s books, Watanabe is best known for his seven original books of poetry, of which Natural History is the first to be rendered into English. Here, the starkly lyrical poems are presented in dual-language format and alongside pen-and-ink drawings by the Lima-based artist Eduardo Tokeshi, which appeared in the original Spanish-language volume. This book is an essential contribution to global discussions about nature writing, Spanish-language poetry, the literary and physical landscapes of Peru, Indigenous culture, and Asian migration across the Americas.

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Watanabe’s poetry offers a lucid perspective on the human condition; each poem combines philosophical reflections with a language in which the concern for the aesthetic is not overshadowed by the impact of honesty. Watanabe constantly reminds us that to be alive means to fight relentlessly against death and that often our only and most valuable weapon in such a hard-fought battle is the written word.

Latin American Literature Today

 

JOSÉ WATANABE (1946-2007), the author of the original book of Spanish-language poems, was a Peruvian poet who received a number of literary awards. He was the author of seven original books of poetry, including Elogio Del Refrenamiento and La Piedra Alada, among other works and poems.

 

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