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Santiago Vizcaino
Santiago Vizcaino


NYS Writers Institute, May 4, 2015
4:15 p.m. Reading | Room 340, Science Library


Santiago Vizcaino, a leading poet of Ecuador, and Alexis Levitin, award-winning translator of Latin American literature, will present a bilingual reading of their new book of poetry in English translation, Destruction in the Afternoon (2015), on Monday, May 4, 2015 at 4:15 p.m. in Science Library 340 on the University at Albany uptown campus. Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.

Destruction in the AfternoonPROFILE
Santiago Vizcaino,
one of Ecuador’s finest poets, and Alexis Levitin, an award-winning translator of Latin American literature, will present a bilingual reading of their new book of poetry in English translation, Destruction in the Afternoon [Devastación en la tarde], an apocalyptic meditation on contemporary human affairs.In the original Spanish, the book received the 2008 Premio Proyectos Literarios Nacionales award from the Ecuadorian Ministry ofCulture.

Poet Mark Statman said in advance praise, “The landscape of Destruction in the Afternoon is mysterious and dark, violent, and the sense is that the living here face almost unbearable suffering and cruelty. Yet there is hope here, resigned and subdued, but hope all the same…. Vizcaíno writes into a nothingness filled with desire and ecstasy….  From Alexis Levitin, one of our foremost translators from the Spanish and Portuguese, I welcome this version of these beautifully corrosive, dissonant poems.”

In an interview with the online publication, Connotation Press, Vizcaino explained his mission as a poet: “I’ve always believed in Tolstoy’s idea: describe your village and you describe the world. I don’t believe that art possesses a private dimension, nor do I think that there are forms of art specific to a geographical area. There is no special vision linked to a determined geographic context. Human concerns are universal, independent of their origin, and even of their religious context. If it is art—in the case of poetry, if it has the capacity to move the reader—then a text written in Patagonia should be able to convey the same symbolic significance in Angola or Oslo.”

Vizcaíno is currently the editor of the magazine Nuestro Patrimonio, published by Ecuador’s Ministry for the Coordination of the Patrimony, and of various other publications, including those of the Organization of Historical Centers of Latin America and the Caribbean. His second book, In the Twilight (2010), won second place for Ecuador’s Pichincha Poetry Prize. His poetry has appeared in English in a variety of U.S. literary magazines, including Bitter Oleander, Chattahoochee Review, Connotation Press, Dirty Goat, Eleven/Eleven, eXchanges, Ezra, Lake Effect, Moon City Review, Osiris, Per Contra, Rowboat, Saranac Review, and Words Without Borders.

Alexis LevitinAlexis Levitin, Professor of English at SUNY Plattsburgh, has published more than twenty-five books in translation from Portuguese and Spanish. He last visited Albany in 2012 with major Afro-Brazilian poet Salgado Maranhão to present their bilingual edition of Maranhão’s Blood of the Sun [Sol Sangüíne]. His translations have appeared in Partisan Review, American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, and hundreds of other literary journals. Earlier books in translation include Clarice Lispector’s Soulstorm (1989), Eugenio de Andrade’s Forbidden Words (2003), and Tapestry of the Sun: an Anthology of Ecuadorian Poetry (2009, with Fernando Iturburu). He is also the author of a travel guide co-written with Gregory Rabassa (translator of One Hundred Years of Solitude)Brazil: A Traveler's Literary Companion (2009).

Cosponsored by the UAlbany Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (LLC)

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.