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Selected Poems

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  4,861 Ratings  ·  112 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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May 05, 2012 s.penkevich rated it really liked it
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
Jul 13, 2016 Carmo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poesia, argentina, bib-p
Sobre os poemas não opino, já que desconfio não ter entendido grande coisa da maioria deles.
Já os contos são divinais, souberam a pouco!


«Olhar o rio que é de tempo e água
E recordar que o tempo é outro rio,
Saber que nos perdemos como o rio
E que os rostos passam como a água.

Sentir que a vigília é outro sono
Que sonha não sonhar e que a morte
Que teme a nossa carne é essa morte
De cada noite, que se chama sono.

Ver no dia ou até no ano um símbolo
Quer dos dias do homem quer dos anos,
Jun 27, 2016 Jonfaith rated it it was amazing
God has created nights well-populated
with dreams, crowded with mirror images,
so that man may feel that he is nothing more
than vain reflection. That's what frightens us.

Was it Dr. Johnson who marveled over Montaigne, how could he know what I had been thinking? It doesn't matter, it could have been Walter Benjamin pondering Spinoza on both of those frontiers. History is mute, amused sufficiently with bumps and reversals. Plagues and witch hunts pass the time. It could also have been Boris Johnson,
Nov 28, 2007 jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, translation
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
Sep 21, 2016 Jonathan rated it liked it
I am posting this, and giving it three stars primarily because of my anger and frustration at his estate and relevant publishers for refusing to let the incredible translations done by Barnes and Mezey be published.

If you do not know the story you can read more here

This, for example, is a translation I love deeply and is far superior to that in this collection:


Evening, a sudden clearing of the mist,
For now a fine, soft rain is freshening.
It falls
Feb 24, 2010 Szplug rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 09, 2015 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 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 outl
Sep 14, 2012 Anita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rosa Ramôa
Dec 19, 2014 Rosa Ramôa rated it really liked it
Depois dos jogadores se terem ido,
Depois do tempo os ter consumido,
Decerto não terá cessado o rito.

No oriente incendiou-se esta guerra
Cujo anfiteatro é hoje a terra.
Como o outro, este jogo é infinito.

(Xadrez, Jorge Luís Borges)
Mar 16, 2015 Deni rated it it was amazing
Se va al carajo este viejo. Què hermoso es leer una Obra Completa de un Autor, es una experiencia ùnica opino. Hay mucha belleza en este libro.
vi macdonald
Borges apparently always fancied himself more a poet than a novelist or literary theorist - which I found intriguing as his work in prose is some of the most ingenuous and magical writing ever committed to paper. Needless to say I was interested to see what Borges could conjure in his poetry. I was not disappointed, the man was simply brilliant. I can't recommend him, and this collection of his poetry in particular, highly enough!
Jalendhari Tabeeb
Nov 04, 2015 Jalendhari Tabeeb marked it as to-read
When misfortune confounds us
in an instant we are saved
by the humblest actions
of memory or attention:
the taste of fruit, the taste of water,
that face returned to us in dream,
the first jasmine flowers of November,
the infinite yearning of the compass,
a book we thought forever lost,
the pulsing of a hexameter,
the little key that opens a house,
the smell of sandalwood or library,
the ancient name of a street,
the colourations of a map,
an unforeseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
Sep 21, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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
Rosa, really
Apr 21, 2014 Rosa, really rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 27, 2016 Nicole rated it really liked it
Borges's words are mystical and lovely and deep. They encompass the wisdom of a life lived and not lived. At times, his words are labyrinthine and complex and other times a simple three-word sentence leaves you in pieces. I absolutely love this collection. I think everyone should read it at least once.

(And he was an advocate of libraries!)
Maria Iraci
Jan 30, 2009 Maria Iraci rated it it was amazing
Jorge Luis Borges me encanta en sus poemas jjenos de emociones e sensibilidad,nos lleva al profundo del corazon!
Aya Nabih
Sep 06, 2012 Aya Nabih rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"أن تحدق في نهر من الزمان والماء،
وتتذكر أن الزمان نهر آخر.
أن تحيل إساءة السنين
نغمًا وصوتًا.
ذهبي هو الفن، متواضع وأبدي،
متواتر كالفجر.
Jan 03, 2010 Jake rated it liked it
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
Randolph Carter
Dec 21, 2013 Randolph Carter rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Dec 15, 2013 Kiof rated it really liked it
"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
Aug 07, 2013 Dora rated it did not like it
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
Stephen Brooke
Aug 29, 2012 Stephen Brooke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, fantasy
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
May 07, 2014 Andrie rated it really liked it
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
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
Michael Young
Dec 07, 2012 Michael Young rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Borges was a remarkable poet, a remarkable writer in every sense. He could bring together in his poems so many disparate elements: history, metaphysics, biography, personal observation and weave it all into a powerfully sympathetic view of the human condition. He was someone deeply inspired by ideas. Though one sees this more easily in his prose, it is not absent in his poetry. But what makes him truly great, deserving of the multiple Nobel Prize nominations he received, is that he is not simply ...more
إبراهيم الهندال
ثمة بيت لفرلين لن أتذكره مرة اخرى
ثمة شارع جانبي محرم علي ان امشي فيه
ثمة مرآة عكست صورتي لآخر مرة ولن تعكسها مرة اخرى
ثمة باب أغلقته لآخر مرة ولن أغلقه بعد ذلك أبدا
من بين الكتب في مكتبتي ها انا انظر اليها
ثمة كتب لن افتحها أبدا مرة اخرى
في الصيف القادم سأكون قد اكملت الخمسين:
الموت يغزوني، باستمرار.

كتاب طبعا جميل في البداية حوارات معه والباقي قصائد مختارة
في موضوع المترجم صحيح انني تأخرت كثيرا باكتشافه لكني سعيد
شكرًا حسن حلمي
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 .
Lamia Al-Qahtani
لا أحب الشعر المترجم بالعادة لكن أعجبتني هنا بعض القصائد، واختيار القصائد كان موفقا حيث المواضيع مختلفة ولم يختَر قصائد ذات معاني مكررة
Sep 07, 2014 Jacquelyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Reread, and I realized it's awesome. That is all.
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  • The Collected Poems, 1957-1987
  • Collected Poems
  • The Complete Poetry
  • Residence on Earth
  • New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001
  • The Romantic Dogs
  • The Selected Poems
  • A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems
  • The Collected Poems, 1956-1998
  • Duino Elegies and The Sonnets to Orpheus
  • Poems New and Collected
  • Without End: New and Selected Poems
  • The Complete Poems
  • Selected Poems
  • Collected Poetry & Prose
  • Collected Poems, 1920-1954
  • Selected Poems
  • The Stray Dog Cabaret: A Book of Russian Poems
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...

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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.”
“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.”
More quotes…