Selected Poems
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Selected Poems

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  3,488 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Though universally acclaimed for his dazzling fictions, Jorge Luis Borges always considered himself first and foremost a poet. This new bilingual selection brings together some two hundred poems--the largest collection of Borges' poetry ever assembled in English, including scores of poems never previously translated. Edited by Alexander Coleman, the selection draws from a...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Penguin Books (first published October 1st 1971)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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s.penkevich
May 05, 2012 s.penkevich rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Your bookshelf
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Ypsi John
Shelves: poetry, ethereal
My God, my dreamer, keep dreaming me
Borges. I simply adore the man. Every word from his pen traces a warm euphoria through my veins. If drug dealers sold books, Borges would be what you get when you ask ‘for that dank chronic, yo’. The man restructures reality and imparts infinity with prose alone. If you are unfamiliar with this writer, please, do yourself a massive favor and pick up a copy of Ficciones or even just find the text of Garden of the Forking Paths online here. As a disclaimer, I...more
jeremy
the just

a man who cultivates his garden, as voltaire wished.
he who is grateful for the existence of music.
he who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
two workmen playing, in a cafe in the south, a silent game of chess.
the potter, contemplating a color and a form.
the typographer who sets this page well, though it may not please him.
a woman and a man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto.
he who strokes a sleeping animal.
he who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him.
he who is grateful...more
Szplug
Borges poetry is written with the same fierce intelligence, austere passion, and Escheresque creativity with which he fashions his brilliant fictions and essays; and the same cerebral steeliness that occasionally mars his stories rarely shows to the same effect here. This bilingual edition is a treasure chest, a compendium of the life's work in verse by perhaps South America's best poet after Neruda. The Spanish originals are absolutely magnificent - rich and fluid, with all the latin-sired nobi...more
Rosa, really
Interesting to read this after 10 years. Clearly I was just a little concerned by death.

I'm going to compare this to When Harry Met Sally (yeah, it's weird):

Harry: ...Do you ever think about death?

Sally: Yes.

Harry: Sure you do, a fleeting thought that jumps in and out of the transient of your mind. I spend hours, I spend days...

Sally: And you think that makes you a better person.

Harry: Look, when the shit comes down I'm gonna be prepared and you're not that's all I'm saying.


'Nuff said.
kaelan
Feb 03, 2014 kaelan is currently reading it
This hefty collection draws from fourteen cycles of Borges' poetry, spanning over 60 years; so I'm expecting to be reading it for a while. The plan is to review sections as I go along...

Fervor de Buenos Aires: 5/5

These poems are intimate, mystical, and exquisitely beautiful. If Neruda's preferred time is twilight, Borges' is at 4:00am, outside on the streets of Buenos Aires, when "those who are dreaming the world are few / and only the ones who have been up all night retain, / ashen and barely o...more
Michael
A very nice selection of the poetry of Borges with both Spanish texts and translations by a variety of translators, the book includes the poet's prologues, inscriptions, and epilogues to the various volumes from which the selections came. It's all here, labyrinths, tigers, knives and swords, mirrors, dreams, death, blindness, libraries, books, Saxons, Norse mythology, Homer, Virgil, Dante, Cervantes, Milton, Poe, the Bible, and Buenos Aires, and all transformed by the genius of Borges into subli...more
Maria Iraci
Jorge Luis Borges me encanta en sus poemas jjenos de emociones e sensibilidad,nos lleva al profundo del corazon!
Jake
Jan 03, 2010 Jake rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Somewhere in this large, uneven volume of bilingual facing pages, Borges writes: "there is no poet, however mediocre, who has not written the best line in literature, but also the most miserable ones. Beauty is not the privilege of a few illustrious names. It would be rare if this book did not contain one single secret line worthy of staying with you to the end." And he's right. Most of the work here isn't memorable— of 200+ poems, only a few have that vertiginous, shocking effect that his best...more
Anita
Ars Poetica

To look at the river made of time and water
And remember that time is another river,
To know that we are lost like the river
And that faces dissolve like water.

To be aware that waking dreams it is not asleep
While it is another dream, and that the death
That our flesh goes in fear of is that death
Which comes every night and is called sleep.

To see in the day or in the year a symbol
Of the days of man and of his years,
To transmute the outrage of the years
into a music, a murmur of voices, and...more
Kiof
"Garcia Lorca seems to me quite a minor poet...His poetry is...decorative, not entirely serious," said Borges of Lorca, in a criticism that applies much better to his own poetry than to any of Federico's. Borges's poetry, especially of the later years, becomes repetitive, relatively emotionless, and quite prose-y. What is compelling about his essays and stories becomes, in my humble opinion, convoluted in the form of verse. Clauses pile up and up and up, and the image becomes almost completely l...more
Stephen Brooke
Borges is simply my favorite poet of the Twentieth Century. More than Frost or Neruda or Eliot or any of the other heavyweights, he speaks to me. Therefore, I loved this book with most of the best poems from throughout his career.

I know just enough Espanol to get the gist of (usually) and enjoy the language of these poems in their original form but having the English translations on facing pages is quite helpful. These translations are generally pretty decent and some quite excellent.

Borges is b...more
Andrie
Οφείλω να ομολογήσω ότι γνώριζα μόνο το πεζογραφικό έργο του Μπόρχες, το οποίο λατρεύω και πάντα με συνεπαίρνει. Διαβάζοντας τα ποιήματά του, ανακάλυψα ακόμα μια πιο ευαίσθητη πλευρά του, η οποία όμως εμπεριέχει την ίδια διαύγεια που εκπέμπουν τα άλλα αναγνώσματά του. Λοιπόν τι να πω; Έπιασα πολλές φορές τον εαυτό μου να διερωτάται για τι άλλο θα γράψει, σε ποιον θα αναφέρεται το επόμενο ποίημα, τι θα πραγματεύεται. Και δεν με απογοήτευσε. Μάλιστα ήμουνα συνεχώς με ένα χαμόγελο γιατί αποδεικνύετ...more
Sarah
A thorough, thoughtful, comprehensive, and awe-inspiring collection from a master poet.

On par with the excellence of the poems themselves is the careful inclusion of Borges' own prologues and prefaces. The chronological composition and the insightful comments and deprecations of Borges in his introductions to his work are perhaps the best criticism possible and certainly the most thought provoking.

"Pater wrote that all the arts aspire to the condition of music, perhaps because in music meaning...more
Nabanitac
Already read.. still reading --shall read forever .. nothing more to say . yes another word.. life and thought altering .. but question is "Am i big enough to understand him that well?" shall keep trying .
Whitaker
A really great book shows us how everything is great and worth to die for
Randolph Carter
Dec 21, 2013 Randolph Carter rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fluent Spanish speakers, big Borges fans
Shelves: poetry
I don't like poetry that much, in fact I hardly read it. Perhaps I should give it a chance but everything I've ever read I never really liked all that much, so why read it at all? I REALLY try to avoid poetry in translation. I just don't see how you can bring the essence of what is a poem across into a completely different language. The little I've read of poetry that originated in English I just can't imagine finding precisely the right words in another language (Ihave taken German, Spanish, an...more
Aduren
Feb 23, 2008 Aduren rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Well I used t have all the book from Borges in Spanish, that was, until one of my boxes was lost when moving apartments. To my dismay the box that contain his books were lost. Alas the Aleph and other Stories managed to sneak to another box, but Labyrinths was lost forever and I can only hope it’s somewhere where the book can be read and not in a dumpster. The later faith would be a tragedy, the first an act of a comedic destiny.

I’ve read all of his publications in Spanish, and I am sure there...more
Dora
I just fail to understand why so many people love this book. Is this considered poetry nowadays?
In short, his style is ridiculous. When readint "To a cat, I couldn't help laughing out loud.


"Mirrors are not more silent
nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
in the moonlight, you are that panther
we catch sight of from afar.
By the inexplicable workings of a divine law,
we look for you in vain;
More remote, even, than the Ganges or the setting sun,
yours is the solitude, yours the secret.
Your haunch allo...more
Sunny Cooper
Jorge Luis Borges is one of my favorite poets, though my favoring him is paradoxical on my part. The scarred patriarchal tones of this Argentine's poems are undeniable. Like a rough, romantic Bandeira who sits atop his noble horse but hides some of his own nefariousness beneath his poncho. Yet, he writes with such intelligent ferocity and soulful boil that it borders on divine. His poetry is like stone fruit. Sweet and lush to bite into but bitter and seeded on the inside. Addictive, even.
Thom
En face translation of Borges' work. If you've got even a mediocre grasp of Spanish, it's worth getting having both the original and translation together. The translations seem rather pretentious with the originals in their simplicity right there.
Marcelo
An amazing selection of Borges' poetry with some very worthy translations. I like that both the Spanish and the English version of each poem is presented here, it's interesting to see how certain translators chose to solve some very difficult choices and try to preserve his rythm. Borges' was, in my opinion, a much better poet than fiction writer; the tightness of the form keeping some of his usual affections for the culturally obscure (ancient civilizations, patterns of infinite repetition, etc...more
Bonny
the just

a man who cultivates his garden, as voltaire wished.
he who is grateful for the existence of music.
he who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
two workmen playing, in a cafe in the south, a silent game of chess.
the potter, contemplating a color and a form.
the typographer who sets this page well, though it may not please him.
a woman and a man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto.
he who strokes a sleeping animal.
he who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him.
he who is grateful...more
Aleida Halenbeek nassette
Zo prachtig om te lezen deze editie. Op de linker pagina de gedichten in de Spaanse taal, rechts in de Nedrlandse taal.
Haleh
Aug 10, 2010 Haleh added it
Daylight leaks in, and sluggishly I surface
from my own dreams into the common dream
and things assume again their proper places
and their accustomed shapes. Into this present
the Past intrudes, in all its dizzying range --
the centuries-old habits of migration
in birds and men, the armies in their legions
all fallen to the sword, and Rome and Carthage.
The trappings of my day also come back:
my voice, my face, my nervousness, my luck.
If only Death, that other waking-up,
would grant me a time free of all...more
Lauren
I recently pulled this down off my shelf after letting it sit for several years and was promptly greeted by a punch in the gut. Tucked within this volume is a series of poems that Borges wrote while living in Cambridge, freezing cold, wandering through town on quiet weekend afternoons - and I realized that he had written the story of my law school experience. When I finally managed to extricate myself from the poetry vortex an hour later, I was short of breath and my hands were unsteady.

Nobody...more
Adrián
As a native spanish speaker, I found this edition really interesting. Probably the best selection of Borges' poems I've read so fart. The translations are solid. Sometimes they lack colour and the ecstatic atmosphere of mystery that Borges' works tend to have.

As Borges said, as a translator himself, sometimes translations may be better than the original. These translations aren't better, but they surely give other tone to his works.
Courtney
LOVE LOVE LOVE! When I read Borges's poems I feel strangely like Christine Daae

"But his voice filled my spirit with a strange sweet sound
In the night there was music in my mind
And through music my soul began to soar
And I heard like I've never heard before"

etc...

There is a darkness to them, a preoccupation with death, but without that there wouldn't be such celebration of life. Everything poetry should be!
KellyElaine
Until a couple years ago, I had no idea Borges wrote such wonderful poetry!

Having studied literature in two different classes (in the same semester) in Buenos Aires, Argentina under one of Borges's former students as my professor; I became pretty familiar with his fiction work. While his fiction is pretty...highly intellectual and philosophical... his poetry is quite refreshing and enjoyable in a simpler manner.
Gabriela
I just love everything Borges writes. It's complex but yet understandable. Everything I've read of his has been in Spanish so I don't know if the translations are as great. I was introduced to this writer in high-school and I can remember writing and writing and writing all over again to try and achieve at-least one level of his genius and complexity. Very psychological reads.
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Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo (Spanish pronunciation: [xoɾxe lwis boɾxes], Russian: Хорхе Луис Борхес) was an Argentine writer and poet born in Buenos Aires. In 1914, his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school and traveled to Spain. On his return to Argentina in 1921, Borges began publishing his poems and essays in Surrealist literary journals. He also worked as a libra...more
More about Jorge Luis Borges...
Ficciones Labyrinths:  Selected Stories and Other Writings Collected Fictions The Aleph and Other Stories The Book of Sand

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“Let not the rash marble risk
garrulous breaches of oblivion's omnipotence,
in many words recalling
name, renown, events, birthplace.
All those glass jewels are best left in the dark.
Let not the marble say what men do not.
The essentials of the dead man's life--
the trembling hope,
the implacable miracle of pain, the wonder of sensual delight--
will abide forever.
Blindly the uncertain soul asks to continue
when it is the lives of others that will make that happen,
as you yourself are the mirror and image
of those who did not live as long as you
and others will be (and are) your immortality on earth.”
10 likes
The Suicide

Not a single star will be left in the night.
The night will not be left.
I will die and, with me,
the weight of the intolerable universe.
I shall erase the pyramids, the medallions,
the continents and faces.
I shall erase the accumulated past.
I shall make dust of history, dust of dust.
Now I am looking on the final sunset.
I am hearing the last bird.
I bequeath nothingness to no one.”
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