The John Ashbery Poetry Series at Bard College Presents Chilean Poet Raúl Zurita

Raúl Zurita The John Ashbery Poetry Series presents Raúl Zurita reading from his work with translator Anna Deeny on Wednesday, April 28. The reading is free and open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. in Weis Cinema in the Bertelsmann Campus Center.

Raúl Zurita was born in Santiago, Chile in 1951. He started out studying mathematics before turning to poetry. His early work is a ferocious response to Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 military coup. Like many other Chileans, Zurita was arrested and tortured. When he was released, he helped to form the radical artistic group CADA, and he became renowned for his provocative and intensely physical public performances. In the early 1980s, Zurita famously sky-wrote passages from his poem “The New Life” over Manhattan. Later (still during the reign of Pinochet) he bulldozed the phrase Ni pena ni miedo (Without pain or fear) into the Atacama Desert, where it can still be seen. For fifteen years, Zurita worked on a trilogy which is considered one of the signal poetic achievements in Latin American poetry: Purgatory appeared in 1979, Ante-paradise in 1982, and The New Life in 1993. Raúl Zurita is one of the most renowned contemporary Latin American poets and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Poetry Prize of Chile. Translations of Purgatory and Ante-paradise were published in the United States in the 1980s. A new book, INRI, translated by William Rowe, was published by Merick Press in 2009. A new bilingual edition of Purgatory, translated by Anna Deeny, was also published in 2009, by The University of California Press. 

Anna Deeny (Ph.D. UC Berkeley) is a Lecturer in the History and Literature Department at Harvard University. In addition to Raúl Zurita’s Purgatory (Univ. of California Press, 2009), Anna Deeny has translated a selection of his most recent poems, forthcoming from House Press in 2010. Deeny is currently working on a book called Consciousness unto Itself, a study of the relationship between poetry and the processes of thought in Latin American and US Literature.

For more information about the reading, call Angela Kozlakowski at 845-758-7887 or e-mail