In this Book

Of Such a Nature/Índole
summary
An English translation from one of Latin America’s most distinguished poets.
 
José Kozer is one of the most influential contemporary Cuban poets working today. A key figure in the neobaroque movement within contemporary Latin American poetry, he is one of only three Cubans to ever win the Pablo Neruda Prize given by the Neruda Foundation in Chile. He is the author of close to ninety books, including Este judío de números y letras, Bajo este cien, La garza sin sombras, Carece de causa, and Y del esparto la invariabilidad. Kozer is also noteworthy as a key poet of the Cuban diaspora, having left Cuba in 1960 and residing ever since in the United States.

Of Such a Nature/Índole is a bilingual edition translated into English by Peter Boyle. In addition, Boyle provides an extensive introduction placing Kozer’s work in a critical context.

The Spanish word “índole” can be translated as: “a type,” “a sort,” or “that sort of thing.” The title, Índole, therefore suggests that the poems gathered in this collection, are all instances of specific types of situations, things, or experiences. Kozer has gathered a collection of poems about everyday life—cleaning one’s dentures, a woman leaning over a bowl of oatmeal, a salamander glimpsed while eating breakfast—but always with death not far away.

Of Such a Nature/Índole is a remarkable collection of poems published in Cuba in 2012, covering such materials as Kozer’s Jewish heritage, his Cuban childhood and ongoing connection to the Island, Buddhist and East Asian traditions of spiritual practice, his everyday life in Florida with Guadalupe, ageing, illness, and the shadow of death. Irony and humor are there as well, and to read these poems is to be in the presence of the full seriousness of poetry and its playfulness, its ability to undercut all pretensions.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Half Title, Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. Peter Boyle
  3. pp. xi-xxxii
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  1. Véase como a fin de cuentas acaba en empate / Wherein it is seen how, when all’s said and done, it comes out a draw
  2. pp. 2-9
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  1. Véase como el amoroso hijo no olvida la presencia del padre / Wherein it is seen how a loving son doesn’t forget the presence of the father
  2. pp. 10-17
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  1. Véase como el oficial de marina no nos revela su vida secreta / Wherein it is seen how the navy officer does not reveal his secret life to us
  2. pp. 18-25
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  1. Véase como siempre acaba en lo mismo / Wherein it is seen how it always ends up the same
  2. pp. 26-31
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  1. Véase como siempre soterrado en mí hay un judío / Wherein it is seen how buried always inside me is a Jew
  2. pp. 32-39
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  1. Véase como todo tiene su solución / Wherein it is seen how everything has its solution
  2. pp. 40-45
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  1. Véase cuánto ocurre a una mujer a solas en un par de horas / Wherein it is seen how much happens in a few hours to a woman on her own
  2. pp. 46-53
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  1. Véase desde mi punto de vista / Wherein it’s seen from my point of view
  2. pp. 54-59
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  1. Véase desde una sola perspectiva / Wherein it is seen from a single perspective
  2. pp. 60-65
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  1. Véase lo que se escribe escuchando a Górecki, leyendo a Mandelstam / Wherein we see what gets written listening to Gorecki while reading Mandelstam
  2. pp. 66-71
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  1. Véase si todo lo que se dice a continuación aclara algo / Wherein it is seen whether all that’s said later clarifies anything
  2. pp. 72-77
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  1. Véase como se alcanza la felicidad con un poco de imaginación / Wherein it’s seen how happiness is achieved with a little imagination
  2. pp. 84-91
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  1. Véase como después de esto a ésta ya no la vuelvo a ver / Wherein it’s seen how, once this is gone, I don’t see it again
  2. pp. 92-99
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  1. Véase como el convaleciente sienta la pauta de su propio final / Wherein it is seen how the convalescent sets the pattern of his own ending
  2. pp. 100-103
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  1. Véase como en el tránsito nos vemos sometidos todavía a los pensamientos / Wherein it is seen how even in the transit we are prey to thoughts
  2. pp. 116-119
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  1. Véase como la muerte se desdobla en una mariposa de luz / Wherein it is seen how death opens out in a moth
  2. pp. 120-127
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  1. Véase como una joven no tan joven se pone a esperar amores / Wherein it’s seen how a young but not so young woman gets ready to wait for lovers
  2. pp. 128-133
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  1. Véase como unos metros de tierra colorada contribuyen al orden / Wherein it is seen how a few meters of red soil contribute to order
  2. pp. 134-139
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  1. Véase con qué sencillez se puede vivir en ciertos lugares / Wherein it is seen how simply one can live in certain places
  2. pp. 146-151
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  1. Véase en que estado de sobreexcitación se encuentra el tiempo / Wherein time is seen getting overexcited
  2. pp. 152-159
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  1. Véase, como dice Eduardo Espina, que todo es mental / Wherein it is seen how, as Eduardo Espina says, it’s all in the mind
  2. pp. 160-167
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  1. Véase como reencarnar no vale la pena / Wherein it is seen how reincarnation isn’t worth the trouble
  2. pp. 168-175
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  1. Devastación / Devastation
  2. pp. 176-181
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  1. Dos Índoles, una Devastación / Two Indoles, a Devastation
  2. pp. 182-191
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  1. De la nación / Of the nation
  2. pp. 192-197
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  1. Acta / Acta
  2. pp. 198-203
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