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Description of a Flash of Cobalt Blue by Jorge Esquinca; translated by Dan Bellm

Poetry, 106 pages pages, $18. 5.5" x 8.0" softcover, Smyth-sewn binding.
ISBN 978-0-87775-943-0. Published 2015.

Poetry, 106 pages pages, $25. 5.625" x 8.25" softcover, Smyth-sewn binding.
ISBN 978-0-87775-944-7. Published 2015.

Finalist, 2016 PEN Center Literary Award for Translation

Description of a Flash of Cobalt Blue, Jorge Esquinca’s moving elegy for his father, is a journey toward the Pacific coast of Mexico and through the Parisian cityscape, through memory and imagination, grief and love. A narrative poem in twenty-four linked passages, it is one of Esquinca’s most intimate and evocative works. Description of a Flash of Cobalt Blue appears here for the first time in English.

“Jorge Esquinca, born in Mexico City in 1957 and resident in Guadalajara since 1969, wrote an incandescent, mythic sequence of poems around the death of his father, Descripción de un brillo azul cobalto, which Berkeley poet and translator Dan Bellm renders as Description of a Flash of Cobalt Blue. Every line of this timeless series glitters with vivid, inescapable imagery, ventriloquized by Bellm in lines that sing and burn. Here is the refutation of what got lost for Robert Frost. Dan Bellm’s collaboration with Esquinca’s original produces a heartbreaking metaphysical journey down the dark river.” —Judges’ citation, 2015 Northern California Book Awards

Jorge Esquinca has published twelve books of poetry, most recently Teoría del campo unificado (2013) and Cámara nupcial (2015), and numerous books of poetry in translation, including work by Pierre Reverdy, Henri Michaux, Adonis, Anne Carson, H.D., and W. S. Merwin. He has received Mexico’s top poetry award, the Aguascalientes Prize, a national Poetry Translation Prize, and for the present volume, Spain’s Jaime Sabines Spanish-American Poetry Prize. He lives in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Dan Bellm has published three books of poetry, most recently Practice (Sixteen Rivers Press), winner of a California Book Award. He teaches literary translation in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles and translates poetry and fiction from Spanish and French, including work by Pura López Colomé and Pierre Reverdy. He lives in Berkeley, California.