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Pizarnik, Alejandra

PIZARNIK, ALEJANDRA

PIZARNIK, ALEJANDRA (1936–1972), Argentinean poet. Born in Buenos Aires to a family of Jewish Russian immigrants, she published her first book of poetry in 1955. In 1960–64 she lived in Paris. Her fourth volume of poetry, Arbol de Diana ("Diane's Tree," 1962), established a distinctive style of short texts (verse and poetic prose) built in an intense language and surrounded by an expressive blank page. Among her books are Los trabajos y las noches ("Works and Nights," 1965); Extracción de la piedra de locura ("Extraction of the Stone of Folly," 1968); El infierno musical ("The Musical Hell," 1971); and the posthumous Textos de Sombra y últimos poemas ("Texts of Shadow and Last Poems," 1982), which includes unpublished texts. Also renowned is her prose book La condesa sangrienta (1971; The Bloody Countess, 1986), on the fascination/rejection of evil. Loneliness, existential anguish, intense but hopeless love, and the seduction and dangers of silence are her main themes, together with poetic creation as a longed-for means of salvation. Though she experienced her Jewish background as an important part of her complex identity, Jewish themes are not central in her texts and appear mostly in connection with the figure of her father. Pizarnik was a gifted translator of French poetry and wrote insightful articles on poetry and fiction. She suffered periods of mental instability; it is possible that her untimely death was voluntary. Pizarnik is one of the major Argentinean and Latin American poets of the century, and her wide influence has continued to grow. Her works have been translated into English, French, and Hebrew.

bibliography:

I. Bordelois, Correspondencia Pizarnik (1998); C. Caulfield (ed.), From the Forbidden Garden (2003); F.F. Goldberg, Alejandra Pizarnik: "Este espacio que somos" (1994); F. Graziano (ed.), Alejandra Pizarnik: A Profile (1987); D.B. Lockhart, Jewish Writers of Latin America. A Dictionary (1997); F.J. Mackintosh, Childhood in the Works of Silvina Ocampo and Alejandra Pizarnik (2003); M.I. Moia, "Some Keys to Alejandra Pizarnik," in: Sulfur, 8 (1983); C. Piña, Alejandra Pizarnik (1991); T. Running, "The Poetry of Alejandra Pizarnik," in: Chasqui, 14 (1985).

[Florinda F. Goldberg (2nd ed.)]

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