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Diadem: Selected Poems

By Marosa di Giorgio, Translated by Adam Giannelli

About the Book

Marosa di Giorgio has one of the most distinct and recognizable voices in Latin American poetry. Her surreal and fable-like prose poems invite comparison to Franz Kafka, Julio Cortázar, or even contemporary American poets Russell Edson and Charles Simic. But di Giorgio's voice, imagery, and themes—childhood, the Uruguayan countryside, a perception of the sacred—are her own. Previously written off as ""the mad woman of Uruguayan letters,"" di Giorgio's reputation has blossomed in recent years. Translator Adam Giannelli's careful selection of poems spans the enormous output of di Giorgio's career to help further introduce English-language readers to this vibrant and original voice.

Marosa di Giorgio was born in Salto, Uruguay, in 1932. Her first book Poemas was published in 1953. Also a theater actress, she moved to Montevideo in 1978, where she lived until her death in 2004.


“Since the publication of her first books in the mid-1950s, Marosa di Giorgio has introduced a seemingly indefinable element into Uruguayan literature. Angel Rama and Roberto Echavarren regard her as one of the most original and brilliant descendants of the Uruguayan-born Lautreamont. Other commentators portray her as an eccentric whose poetic prose is virtually synonymous with the idiosyncratic … She is therefore a writer who has been praised but also marginalized – insofar as she is repeatedly held up as the ‘mad woman’ of contemporary Uruguayan letters – because of a critical tendency to theorize negatively the very aspect of di Giorgio’s surrealist practices for which she has become most famous: her visionary escapism.”
–KATHRYN A. KOPPLE, the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies

Diadem: Selected Poems is full of “earthy celebrations of pastoral Uruguay and semi-surreal moments of magical realism...[within a] bucolic landscape that evokes both the nostalgic innocence of childhood and the disturbing thresholds of sexual awareness.” –Double Room Journal

“di Giorgio’s poems are written in a lucid prose that suits the quite dreamlike and ultra-real landscapes described,”

"...somehow in di Giorgio’s luminous, hypnotizing prose, each poem comes to seem like a carefully cast spell, a precise intoxication that lingers uneasily at the edge of consciousness. To read a poem by di Giorgio is to encounter the exquisite beauty of an exotic plant that may or may not prove lethal… to enter a dark house with a leg hidden in it, knowing all the while the Soul is out there somewhere, with its hundred-fingered hands.”
-The Kenyon Review

“Uruguayan poet Marosa di Giorgio succeeds beyond expectation as rendered in this first extended English translation of her work chosen to represent the full range of her poetic expressionism. A sensitive and poetically vibrant translation by Adam Giannelli provides a compelling context to experience the rich tapestry of her work as it extends over a lifetime of writing in her distinct poetic idiom.” -Rattle

“…these poems could be read as a novel, cover to cover, or on their own as individual pieces, and they would still have the same power and depth. The poems themselves blend and blur the lines between each other, in effect recreating an idea of recalling memories of the past; sometimes fantasy, sometimes all too real, and always fleeting and hard to properly pin down … What is here, in print, is the distillation of memory, stories, and ‘real life’, into something moving and beautiful … That is the true essence of these pieces; that they feel natural, real, meaningful, despite incorporating fantasy and surreal images.” - HTML Giant