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Birds on the Kiswar Tree

by Odi Gonzales 2Leaf Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 140 pages
AU$39.99 NZ$41.73
Product Status: Not Our Publication - we no longer distribute
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BIRDS ON THE KISWAR TREE by Peruvian Andean poet Odi Gonzales presents poems that sing in the voices of native birds and speak through the devout, but subversive, Quechua artists of Peru's colonial era. Their religious art provides the imagery for these astounding poems. In the Eden painted by one anonymous artist, Andean kiswar trees grow, native nukchu flowers bloom, llamas graze, and parrots perch in the trees, and in out-of-the-way nooks of Andean churches, rebel angels hide, armed with harquebuses. Canvas by canvas, poem by poem, Gonzales gives us a poetry collection as a living and talking museum in which the Quechua artists of Peru's past demonstrate both their sincere Christian faith and their opposition to the Spanish destruction of the Inca empire. Originally published in Peru in 2005 as LA ESCUELA DE CUSCO (THE SCHOOL OF CUSCO), BIRDS ON THE KISWAR TREE stands as an elegant and richly imagined tribute to these indigenous and mestizo artists. By extension, it shows how artists may put forth their views when prevailing circumstances make outward protest a perilous option.
ODI GONZALES, a native speaker of both Spanish and Quechua, was born in Cusco, Peru and is one of the most important Peruvian poets of his generation. The author of seven collections of poems, his work appears in a number of key anthologies published in Latin America, Britain, and the United States. He teaches courses in Quechua language and culture and prehispanic literature of the Andean region at New York University. BIRDS ON THE KISWAR TREE is his first collection in English translation. LYNN LEVIN is a poet, writer, and translator. She is the author of four collections of poems, most recently MISS PLASTIQUE (2013). She is co-author of the craft-of-poetry text POEMS FOR THE WRITING: PROMPTS FOR POETS (2013). Levin's poetry has appeared in numerous publications, and she has translated poems by Peruvian Andean poets, including Odi Gonzales, Luis Nieto, and others. She teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.