By Jorge Carrera Andrade, Translated by Alejandro de Acosta and Joshua Beckman
In the alphabet of things
the snail invents
the penultimate letter.
Equal parts essay, anthology, and poetry, and weirdly post-modern in structure, Micrograms embodies the work of Jorge Carrera Andrade, illustrating his claim that the impulse toward the microgram has always existed. Illuminating the form in its many incarnations (most famously the Japanese haiku), Carrera Andrade points to the richness of possibility contained therein.
Wave Books and the translators are to be applauded for undertaking this refreshing reclamation project, which leads to reflections that more than trump its modest size.
Donna Stonecipher, Quarterly Conversation
Carrera Andrade's micrograms quickly cast their spell, such that I finished wanting at least double the number presented here. The author instead offers nearly two dozen haiku he has translated from Japanese, which Acosta and Beckman translate freely into English, sacrificing, as far as I can tell none of their punch. The entire volume makes a strong case for the power of lyric brevity...magnificente.
John Keene, Drunken Boat
Carrera Andrade’s... poems are appealing little pieces, their own tiny little perfume bottles.
M.A. Orthofer, The Complete Review
The microgram is, well, micro (there is a joke here about William Carlos Williams and "micromachines" but I will spare you), aphoristic, light, and most certainly lyrical. These are safety poems, in case of, and potentially rare, endangered poems. Not only do I like Wave Books’ edition more, I liked the Alejandro de Acosta and Joshua Beckman translation much more than the original. To go a step further, I liked the essays more than the poems, both Andrade’s and the translators’.
Jesse Tangen-Mills, Bookslut
Beckman and de Acosta translate the microgram with loyalty to Andrade’s flare for the Romantic, showing us the unseen world of creatures who are engaged in jobs and tasks that mirror our workaday lives.
I encourage you to pick up a copy of Joshua Beckman and Alejandro de Acosta’s translation of Micrograms from Wave Books. I’ve never read anything quite like these poems before, and Beckman and de Acosta have given us a marvelous introduction to Andrade’s work.
Michelle Aldredge, Gwarlingo
Nourished and inspired by the natural world, [Andrade] develops a distilled voice based on the purity of sounds: a music grounded in immediacy, undecorated but timeless.
Greta Aart, Galatea Resurrects
Jorge Carrera Andrade (1902-1978) has been recognized in Latin America as one of the most important poets of the twentieth century. He was born in Quito, Ecuador, and was a diplomat as well as a poet, essayist and journalist, and he encountered many literary communities as he served appointments in Peru, France, Japan, and the United States. The originality of Carrera Andrade’s poetics is rooted in his experiences abroad as well as in the rich culture and natural landscapes of Ecuador. His distinguished literary career comprises a wide range of work, including editing, translation, criticism, and poetry.
He is a poet who remains difficult to categorize, though scholars and critics have drawn comparisons between his poetics and American imagism, Spanish ultraism, the Latin American Indigenous school, and the Japanese haiku form. William Carlos Williams described Carrera Andrade’s images as “so extraordinarily clear, so related to the primitive that I think I am seeing as an aborigine saw and sharing that lost view of the world. It's a sad pleasure but a great one."
Alejandro de Acosta is a teacher, writer, and translator, in no particular order; he also works in publishing. In Austin, Texas he founded mufa::poema, a micropress that freely distributed a dozen poetry and prose chapbooks. His poetry translations include Micrograms by Jorge Carrera Andrade and Five Meters of Poems by Carlos Oquendo de Amat. He also translated Fabián Ludueña’s philosophical treatise H.P. Lovecraft: The Disjunction in Being and published "Notes to Complicate Cardenal’s Epigrams" in the journal Black Box. In 2014 he published two books of essays. More recently, he has given talks on kinship, the poetics of translation, Antonio Porchia, and Francis Ponge—as well as offered readings of sonnets moral and gnomic.
Joshua Beckman was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He is the author of many books, including Animal Days (Wave, 2021), The Lives of the Poems and Three Talks (Wave Books, 2018), The Inside of an Apple, Take It, Shake, Your Time Has Come, and two collaborations with Matthew Rohrer: Nice Hat. Thanks. and Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty. He is editor-in-chief at Wave Books and has translated numerous works of poetry and prose, including Micrograms, by Jorge Carrera Andrade, 5 Meters of Poems (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010) by Carlos Oquendo de Amat, and Poker (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2004) by Tomaž Šalamun, which was a finalist for the PEN America Poetry in Translation Award. He also co-edited Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners (Wave Books, 2015).
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
ISBN# 9781933517551 (5x7 96pp, paperback and limited edition hardcover)