Weinberger, Eliot 1949–

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Weinberger, Eliot 1949–

PERSONAL: Born February 6, 1949, in New York, NY.

ADDRESSES: HomeNew York, NY.

CAREER: Writer, editor, and translator.

AWARDS, HONORS: Award for Younger Writers, General Electric Foundation, 1986; first recipient of PEN/Gregory Kolovakos Award for promotion of Latin American literature in the U.S., 1992; National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, 1999, as editor of Selected Nonfictions by Jorge Luis Borges; recipient of Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, government of Mexico, 2000.


Works on Paper (essays), New Directions (New York, NY), 1986.

(With Octavio Paz) Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei (criticism), Moyer-Bell (Wakefield, RI), 1987.

Outside Stories (essays), New Directions (New York, NY), 1992.

(Editor) Una antologia de la poesia norteamericana desde 1950, Ediciones del Equilibrista (Mexico), 1992.

(Editor) American Poetry since 1950: Innovators and Outsiders, Marsilio Publishing, 1993.

Written Reaction: Poetics, Politics, Polemics (essays), Marsilio Publishing, 1996.

Karmic Traces (essays), New Directions (New York, NY), 2000.

9/12: New York After (essays), Prickly Paradigm Press (Chicago, IL), 2003.

(Editor) The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry, New Directions (New York, NY), 2003.

(Editor, with Alberto Ruy Sanchez and Margarita de Orellana) Tequila: A Traditional Art of Mexico, Smithsonian Books (Washington, DC), 2004.

(Editor, with Alberto Ruy Sanchez and Margarita de Orellana) The Crafts of Mexico, Smithsonian Books, in association with Artes de Mexico (Washington, DC), 2004.

What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles, New Directions (New York, NY), 2005.

(Editor) World Beat: International Poetry Now from New Directions, New Directions (New York, NY), 2006.

Work represented in anthologies, including five editions of Pushcart Prize: The Best of the Small Press. Editor, Montemora, 1975–82; contributing editor, Stony Brook Poetics Journal, 1968–69, Zero: Contemporary Buddhist Thought, 1979–80, Sulfur, 1981–2000, Destinations, 1982–83, and Artes de Mexico, 1991–. New York correspondent for Vuelta (Mexico City, Mexico), 1989–98, and Lettre International (Berlin, Germany), 1997–. Volumes of Weinberger's essays have been translated into Spanish, German, Italian, and Dutch.


Octavio Paz, Eagle or Sun?, October House, 1970, revised edition, New Directions (New York, NY), 1976.

Octavio Paz, A Draft of Shadows, New Directions (New York, NY), 1980.

Homero Aridjis, Exaltation of Light, Boa Editions (Brockport, NY), 1981.

Octavio Paz, Selected Poems, New Directions (New York, NY), 1984.

Jorge Luis Borges, Seven Nights, New Directions (New York, NY), 1984.

Octavio Paz, The Collected Poems, 1957–1987, New Directions (New York, NY), 1987, revised edition, 1991.

Vicente Huidobro, Altazor, Graywolf (Port Townsend, WA), 1988, published as Altazor; or, A Voyage in a Parachute, Wesleyan University Press (Middletown, CT), 2003.

Octavio Paz, A Tree Within, New Directions (New York, NY), 1988.

Octavio Paz, Sunstone, New Directions (New York, NY), 1991.

Cecilia Vicuna, Unravelling Words and the Weaving of Water, Graywolf (Port Townsend, WA), 1992.

Xavier Villaurrutia, Nostalgia for Death, Copper Canyon Press (Port Townsend, WA), 1993.

Octavio Paz, In Light of India, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1997.

Octavio Paz, A Tale of Two Gardens, New Directions (New York, NY), 1997.

Octavio Paz, An Erotic Beyond: Sade, 1998.

(With Esther Allen and Suzanne Jille Levine; and editor) Jorge Luis Borges, Selected Non-Fictions, Viking (New York, NY), 1999.

(With Iona Man-Cheong) Bei Dao, Unlock, New Directions (New York, NY), 2000.

Octavio Paz and Marie Jose Paz Figures & Figurations, afterword by Yves Bonnefoy, New Directions (New York, NY), 2002.

SIDELIGHTS: Author, editor, and translator Eliot Weinberger is the recipient of the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest award the Mexican government bestows on foreign nationals. Weinberger earned the citation by virtue of his translations into English of the work of noted Mexican poet Octavio Paz. Additionally, Weinberger has edited and translated work by Jorge Luis Borges and other Spanish-language writers, and he is also the author of essays and criticism collected in such books as Outside Stories and Karmic Traces. In the Boston Review, John Palattella called Weinberger "an eloquent and intelligent essayist whose prose charts various literary channels of cultural migration, like translation." The critic added: "What's particular about Weinberger's writing is that he has cultivated a modernist sensibility without falling prey to … prejudice and elitism…. His work as a translator and his interest in culturally hybrid poems and essays have bred in him a rare equanimity. His travels abroad and investigations of other cultures have made him not an indigenist or a regionalist well-versed in the modernist cult of the primitive, but a cosmopolitan."

In 1999 Weinberger accepted the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism on behalf of Jorge Luis Borges. It was Weinberger's edited volume of Borges's selected nonfiction that had won the prestigious award. In her Americas review of the title, Barbara Mujica noted that the work "has made available to the English-language reader 161 pieces of Borges's most significant nonfiction pieces, most of it for the first time. Twothirds of the writing included in this volume has never been translated before. The rest has been newly translated for this edition." Mujica deemed the resulting work "exquisitely translated."

Weinberger discovered the writings of Octavio Paz as a youngster of thirteen. By his late teens he was working closely with the poet on English translations of Paz's work. Some of the significant translations Weinberger has undertaken include Collected Poems, published in 1987, and In the Light of India and A Tale of Two Gardens, both released in 1997. According to Rafael H. Mojica in World Literature Today, "a remarkable effect that not seldom obtains in Weinberger's work is the rendering of the rhythmic values of the Spanish original in the English version." Mojica concluded that Weinberger "has performed a commendable service to all readers of Mexican poetry in English."

Weinberger's own nonfiction writings often address political issues in the United States. In What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles, Weinberger "offers a centrifugal journal, in several takes, of the first Bush term," commented a Kirkus Reviews critic. Weinberger writes of the controversial 2000 presidential elections and how they were decided not by popular vote or electoral college, but by the U.S. Supreme Court, which he considers the first coup d'etat in American history. He also discusses how the Bush administration has failed to learn lessons harshly imparted by the September 11 attacks, and has instead used the results of that tragedy as an excuse to make unwanted war and advance American imperialism. Weinberger assembles a varied collection of "outrages, an elegantly acrid summary of all that he believes has gone badly wrong in the past five years," commented a Publishers Weekly contributor. The Kirkus Reviews writer concluded of Weinberger's book that "for patriots of a certain bent, it's witty confirmation that something very strange indeed has happened here."



Americas, August, 1998, Barbara Mujica, review of A Tale of Two Gardens: Poems from India, 1952–1995, p. 60; January, 2000, Barbara Mujica, review of Selected Non-Fictions, p. 60.

Boston Review, December, 2000–January, 2001, John Palattella, review of Karmic Traces, pp. 56-57.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2005, review of What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles, p. 727.

New York Times, October 6, 1999, Richard Bernstein, "So Close, Borges's Worlds of Reality and Invention."

New York Times Book Review, March 30, 1997, Raleigh Trevelyan, "One Nation under Many Gods," p. 25; April 19, 1998, Laura Jamison, review of An Erotic Beyond: Sade, p. 25.

Publishers Weekly, June 20, 2005, review of What Happened Here, p. 70.

Reference & Research Book News, May, 2006, review of What Happened Here.

World Literature Today, winter, 1995, Rafael H. Mojica, review of Nostalgia for Death/Hieroglyphs of Desire: A Critical Study of Villaurrutia, p. 111; October-December, 2003, Steven F. White, review of Figures & Figurations, p. 145.


Academy of American Poets Web site, http://www.poets.org/ (October 15, 2006), biography of Eliot Weinberger.