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Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962 - 1972

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Revered by the likes of Octavio Paz and Roberto Bolano, Alejandra Pizarnik is still a hidden treasure in the U.S. Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962–1972 comprises all of her middle to late work, as well as a selection of posthumously published verse. Obsessed with themes of solitude, childhood, madness and death, Pizarnik explored the shifting valences of the self and the border between speech and silence. In her own words, she was drawn to "the suffering of Baudelaire, the suicide of Nerval, the premature silence of Rimbaud, the mysterious and fleeting presence of Lautréamont,” as well as to the “unparalleled intensity” of Artaud’s “physical and moral suffering.”

384 pages, ebook

First published January 1, 1968

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About the author

Alejandra Pizarnik

97 books1,309 followers
Born in Buenos Aires to Russian parents who had fled Europe and the Nazi Holocaust, Alejandra Pizarnik was destined for literary greatness as well as an early death. She died from an ostensibly self-administered overdose of barbiturates on 25 September 1972. A few words scribbled on a slate that same month, reiterating her desire to go nowhere "but to the bottom," sum up her lifelong aspiration as a human being and as a writer. The compulsion to head for the "bottom" or "abyss" points to her desire to surrender to nothingness in an ultimate experience of ecstasy and poetic fulfillment in which life and art would be fused, albeit at her own risk. "Ojalá pudiera vivir solamente en éxtasis, haciendo el cuerpo del poema con mi cuerpo" (If I could only live in nothing but ecstasy, making the body of the poem with my body).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 248 reviews
Profile Image for Jonfaith.
1,889 reviews1,417 followers
May 1, 2021
you have to cry until you break
in order to make or utter a small song,
to scream so much to fill the holes of absence
that's what you did, what I did.

It is satisfying to end such a bleak year treasuring greatness. I am not sure I had heard of Alejandra Pzarnik until a month ago. Bolaño likely cited her in some list but it didn't register at the time. Why would it? Thus, I was greeted with the astonishing. Apparently Piznarik spent most of her time subtracting words from her verse. This honing creates something almost ghostly. Yes, there is a reliance on the elementals, but here is a dark horizon where strange raptures and solitary oblivion both occur, simultaneously and almost musically. I kept reading and rereading, not to elucidate but to revel. The course navigated is offstage. The revealed truth remains but paper dolls, a favorite trope of hers: an embodiment of our all-too-human perspective, our arrested childhood and the surface upon which we scrawl our collective confession. These brittle figures are in peril from all the elements, as well as our encroaching indifference.

Like a girl made of pink chalk on a very old wall that is suddenly washed away by the rain.

Where my first reading in December found profundity in the sparse language, this second reading appeared infinitely rich, a sprawling world where our legacy of language appears broken.
Profile Image for Coos Burton.
787 reviews1,339 followers
December 13, 2015
"No es muda la muerte. Escucho el canto de los enlutados sellar las hendiduras del silencio. Escucho tu dulcísimo llanto florecer mi silencio gris."

Quiero partir de la base de que me aventuré a leer a esta maravillosa escritora una vez más un domingo por la tarde, supongo que si ya la han leído anteriormente sabrán que es toda una osadía, pero sigo acá. Leerla siempre me genera una sensación extraña, como si creara un agujero, el vacío en mí que automáticamente vuelve a llenar con su poesía y me deja temblando de melancolía. Qué mujer más increíble, qué desgarradora y mortuoria su pluma.
Profile Image for Florencia.
649 reviews1,941 followers
August 16, 2018
Caminos del Espejo
Pero el silencio es cierto. Por eso escribo. Estoy sola y escribe. No, no estoy sola. Hay alguien aquí que tiembla. […]
Delicia de perderse en la imagen presentida. Yo me levanté de mi cadáver, yo fui en busca de quien soy. Peregrina de mí, he ido hacia la que duerme en un país al viento.
Mi caída sin fin a mi caída sin fin en donde nadie me aguardó pues al mirar quién me aguardaba no vi otra cosa a mí misma.
Algo caía en el silencio. Mi última palabra fue yo pero me refería al alba luminosa.

Paths of the Mirror
But the silence is certain. This is why I write. I am alone and I write. No, I am not alone. There is someone here who is trembling. […]
The pleasure of losing yourself in the image foreseen. I rose from my body and went out in search of who I am. A pilgrim of my self [or from my self; the Spanish is ambiguous], I have gone to the one who sleeps in the winds of her country.
My fall that is endless into my fall that is endless, where no one expected me, since when I looked to see who expected me, I saw no other thing than my self.
Something falling in the silence. My final word was I, but by this I meant the luminous dawn.


Fragmentos para Dominar el Silencio
La muerte ha restituido al silencio su prestigio hechizante. Y yo no diré mi poema y yo he de decirlo.
Aun si el poema (aquí, ahora) no tiene sentido, no tiene destino.

Fragments to Dominate the Silence
Death has refunded silence its spellbinding prestige. And I won’t say my poem and I have to say it. Even if the poem (here, now) has no meaning, it has no fate.

Su poesía, su prosa poética; brillantes, desgarradoras. Sin duda, seguiré leyendo su obra, la cual refleja un profundo conocimiento de la naturaleza humana, incluyendo sus numerosos claroscuros.

Her poetry, her lyrical prose; insightful, heart-wrenching. Undoubtedly, I'll keep reading her work, which shows a deep understanding of human nature, including its countless chiaroscuros.

Jan 08, 2014
* Note to self: translate, add to blog
** Later on my blog.
Profile Image for Mon.
264 reviews216 followers
May 23, 2022
De los pocos poemarios que he leído. Melancólicos, a veces tristes y muy pocas veces positivos, pero de alguna manera relajantes ya que te hacen darte cuenta que no eres la única persona en el mundo que se siente así.
Profile Image for Sookie.
1,135 reviews92 followers
August 28, 2020
the very first entry in this collection made me think of those moments in these movies that have pretentious protagonists string profound sounding pretty words that means dogshit in any context.
but Alejandra Pizarnik makes you pause, stop, halt, look away, take a breath, look at those four lines again, reach for the post-its and scribble it down hurriedly with a stubby pencil. it takes only thirty minutes to realize that you are going to run out of post-its and the pencil is going to get blunt and no lead remains to jot down more memorable moments from this collection. below are my notes.

Works and nights
they write this - "May your body always be a beloved space for revelations." how can I not grin foolishly at this? and this is where I wonder, "You announce yourself like thirst. ", where were you when you penned this down Alejandra, for this, of solitude, of night, of silence, of loneliness, of abandonment, just breaks my heart. and it continues, "because a face is calling, fitted to the darkness, a precious stone" in a more lonely way. there is a sense of longing for the things lost, of people gone - those who were once dear and near, not lovers but just, dear. She gives them a special mention, a space in hear heart and misses them and mourns for the space they left behind "the birds would draw small cages on my eyes". (damn, that's a fantastic line that i kept reading and reading and reading.) there is a line in future she writes, "They want to dusk me, they plan to death me. Help me not to ask for help."

there is just a lot of noise; outside of me, inside of me. so she says, "I stored up the purest words for making new silences." she continues to write more about silence. the very small space between absolute silence and bare minimal words necessary to communicate. the conflict of difference, of borders and of differences - "a thread of miserable union".

Extracting the stone of madness
there is a contrast of harshness and beauty coexisting and for the most part, it gives me vertigo. from the titular 'Vertigo', "This lilac unleaves.
It falls from itself
and hides its ancient shadow.
I will die of such things.
this section deliciously balances on this precarious note; "Coming up to eye level: silent figures, figures of desperation. Grey and heavy voices calling out from the former site of my heart." its heart racing, edge of the seat thriller variety but only in poetry fashion. can we get any less jarring than this? "To the autumn in the blue of a wall: be a comfort for the dead little girls." its probably the titular poem that stands out from everything else. "I speak the way I speak inside. ", she says. its the way the words sound, they come to and they translate to pen and paper that end up becoming poetry. its in the binges of writing and how they sound in mouth when they are said together in different ways in different times. its loud in silence, it whispers in death. it speaks of what you and i know. its the truth of what we know and what we don't. our fears, our loves, the instincts we ignore. she ends the entry with, "Why doesn’t anyone say anything? Why the great silence?" we are waiting for the other to talk. but neither of us talk.

A Musical Hell
"My name, my pronoun — a grey void.", of absences and memories. and there it is. this is what i was waiting for: "Metaphors of suffocation unbind from their shroud — the poem." isn't that true? hmm?

Uncollected Poems
a collection of yearning, perhaps. all of them has her yearning, wanting something bigger, greater than what the world had to offer. of distant future, of searching for what she knows is not coming - a different kind of vertigo she calls it. "Horror of searching for your eyes in the space that is full of the screams of this poem." - she says it all. i am very much surprised seeing Silvina Ocampo mentioned in a poem as she is a writer am reading currently. "I turn into water in your poem about water who emanate prophecies all night long.", she writes about Ocampo. and this perhaps seals the deal in this section:
"I pushed myself so much
to learn how to read
in my sobbing"

On this night, in this world
night holds fascination to us. to me its just weary reminder of inability to sleep few days a month. a clinical problem to which a cure doesn't exist. make what you will of this, "the one I wait for doesn’t come", and perhaps that's also the intent. what do we see in the darkest of the night? the deepest ugly desire? or paradise lost?

The short cantos
i will just leave these here:
"the center
of a poem
is another poem
the center of the center
is absence."

do not make love
they make absence"

The Shadow Texts
and this is final section, knowing that this is the end, its a little saddening. however, its been a journey, a decade has passed. there has been silences, deaths, loss, heartaches and pieces of us are lost over time and we are now a whole new person. but, really, are we? "I want to exist as what I am: as a fixed idea. I want to bark, instead of praising the silence of the space you’re born into." so who are we? the self? the past and the present and a possible future? all the pieces of us that were given away to others, what happened to those? did they drown in oblivion when their owners died?
"decide for yourself:
either you get out or you stay
but don’t touch me like this,
with dread, with confusion,
either you leave or you get lost,
as for me, I just can’t anymore."

and we end here: "Will there be time to make myself a mask when I emerge from the shadows?"

The collection has been thoughtfully well put and there is a clear progression of thought and ideas with every page turn. Having it chronologically placed together also helps. It goes progressively heartbreaking seeing the tragedies strike, as she experiences multiple losses in life. She deals with all those by penning her thoughts on paper and in just few lines, the raw emotions find home.

Truly and absolutely stellar collection.
Profile Image for jeremy.
1,133 reviews279 followers
June 7, 2016
collecting ten years of poetry from her brief life, extracting the stone of madness is the most comprehensive selection of alejandra pizarnik's work currently available in english translation. featuring the argentine poet's final three collections (works and nights [los trabajos y las noches {1965}], extracting the stone of madness [extracción de la piedra de locura {1968}], and a musical hell [el infierno musical {1971}]), this bilingual edition also includes uncollected poems (1962-1972) and three posthumously published entries (on this night, in this world [en esta noche en este mundo], the short cantos [los pequeños cantos], and the shadow texts [textos de sombra]).

recipient of both a guggenheim fellowship and and a fulbright scholarship, pizarnik's life was tragically short – ending with an intentional barbiturate overdose at the age of 36. also a translator, playwright, and essayist, pizarnik, over the past few years (thanks to publications by new directions and ugly duckling), seems to be garnering some much-deserved attention in the anglophone world.

extracting the stone of madness offers pizarnik's poetry in all of its dark beauty and emotional fragility. exploring dwelling on themes of absence, death, silence, sadness, oblivion, loss, solitude, vulnerability, longing, fear, mystery, and madness, pizarnik's life was evidently one of great suffering. nonetheless, the art she created as a result, while often morose or dour, still blazes with a rarefied brilliance. revered by the likes of paz, cortázar, calvino, aira, and vila-matas, pizarnik isn't to be overlooked.


someone wanted to open a door. she felt pain in hands that were iron-cuffed to their prison of bad-omened bones.
all night she has struggled with her new shadow. it rained inside the dawn. it was pelted by mourners.
childhood clamors up from my crypted nights.
the music releases artless colors.
grey birds in the early morning are to the closed window what this poem is to my pain.

primitive eyes

where fear neither speaks in stories or poems, nor gives shape to terrors or triumphs.

my name, my pronoun — a grey void.

i'm familiar with the full range of fear. i know what it's like to start singing and to set off slowly through the narrow mountain pass that leads back to the stranger in me, to my own emigrant.

i write to ward off fear and the clawing wind that lodges in my throat.

and in the morning, when you are afraid of finding yourself dead (of there being no more images): the silence of compression, the silence of existence itself. this is how the years fly by. this is how we lost that beautiful animal happiness.

*rendered from the spanish by yvette siegert (translator and poet)

**see also vila-matas's wonderful essay on pizarnik from music & literature

Profile Image for Adriana Scarpin.
1,430 reviews
April 3, 2023
Extração da Pedra da Loucura é meu livro favorito da Pizarnik desde que li a sua Poesía Completa, essa releitura proporcionada pela tradução do Davi Diniz nesta edição Bilíngue da Relicário só comprovou isso.
Por mais que dominamos a língua original dos nossos poetas a serem lidos, há sempre algo que se perde na nossa mente, sou das apoiadores que poesia é intraduzível, mas sempre sei que na releitura dos tradutores surge algo que nos passou desapercebido na leitura original. Isso aconteceu aqui também com o Diniz, não só os livros que ele têm traduzido da Pizarnik nos trazem uma releitura magnífica, seus posfácios nos colocam num outro patamar na linguagem da poeta.
Um outro momento brilhante do livro é o prefácio da estudioso de Pizarnik e também poeta igualmente esplendorosa Nina Rizzi, está que também trará a prosa da Pizarnik pela Relicário ainda em 2023 - pelo menos nós torcemos por isso.
Profile Image for Mina.
211 reviews76 followers
June 22, 2021
"Someone has found their true voice and test it in the noon of the dead."
Each word that I write restores me to the absence for which I write what I would not write if I let you come here.

For my mother
She who died of her blue dress is singing. She sings suffused with death and sings to the sun of her drunkenness. Inside her song there is a blue dress, there is a white horse, there is a green heart tattooed with echoes of her own dead heart. Exposed to all that is lost, she sings with a stray girl who is also herself, her amulet. And in spite of the green mist on her lips and the grey cold in her eyes, her voice breaks down the distance gaping between thirst and the hand that reaches for the glass. She is singing.


"The poem is a space and it hurts."
Profile Image for Jimena.
235 reviews83 followers
June 15, 2023
“No es muda la muerte.”

Pizarnik siempre me atraviesa el pecho con una precisión descarnada y abrumadora pero que me conecta con la esencia misma de un sufrimiento que no me es ajeno. Sus versos, bellísimos, oscuros y dolidos, son el legado de un espíritu atormentado que escribió desde la desesperación y que, en ella, nos construyó un refugio a todos los que alguna vez anhelamos la muerte con el mismo fervor.

Donde sea que estés, Alejandra, si es que uno realmente está en algún lugar cuando cesa esta mundana existencia terrenal, donde estés, te quiero.
Profile Image for emily.
384 reviews257 followers
August 1, 2023
'Ambushed in my writing
you are singing in my poem.
Captive of your sweet voice
engraved in my memory.
Bird intent on its flight.
Air tattooed by an absence.
Clock that keeps time with me
so I never wake up.'

Someone I hold dearly, but haven't spoken to or seen in a while had given me a copy of Pizarnik's poems on my birthday a few years ago and I haven't read it until very recently. Alejandra Pizarnik is brilliant, and her work, glorious (to say the least).
Profile Image for Cristina.
379 reviews234 followers
February 6, 2017

“Y yo caminaría por todos los desiertos de este mundo y aun muerta te seguiría buscando, a ti, que fuiste el lugar del amor.”

Alejandra Pizarnik es la poeta de la muerte.

El desdoblamiento del yo y la imaginería surrealista son recursos utilizados constantemente para dar voz al dolor.

La antología de Visor libros que he leído reúne composiciones en verso y prosa poética de “La extracción de la piedra de locura” (1968), “La última inocencia” (1956), “Las aventuras perdidas” (1958), “Árbol de Diana” (1962), “Los trabajos y las noches”, “El infierno musical” (1971) y una selección de otros textos. Respecto a la extracción de la piedra de locura existe un cuadro de El Bosco de título casi idéntico que se exhibe en el Museo Nacional del Prado en el que se representa, satíricamente, a un pseudomédico del medievo intentando extirpar una piedra del cerebro de un loco. De ahí que resulte lógico pensar que la autora intente mediante la creación poética deshacerse de la angustia en la que vive aunque desgraciadamente acabará por no lograrlo suicidándose a los 36 años. “El infierno musical” (1971) aludiría al panel derecho de “El jardín de las Delicias” también de El Bosco.

A continuación una selección personal de poemas:

“sólo la sed
el silencio
ningún encuentro
cuídate de mí amor mío
cuídate de la silenciosa en el desierto
de la viajera con el vaso vacío
y de la sombra de su sombra”

“El poema que no digo,
el que no merezco.
Miedo de ser dos
camino del espejo:
alguien en mí dormido
me come y me bebe.”
(ambos de “Árbol de Diana”)

“En tu aniversario

Recibe este rostro mío, mudo, mendigo.
recibe este amor que te pido.
Recibe lo que hay en mí que eres tú.”

“Tu voz

Emboscado en mi escritura
cantas en mi poema.
Rehén de tu dulce voz
petrificada en mi memoria.
Pájaro asido a su fuga.
Aire tatuado por un ausente.
Reloj que late conmigo
para que nunca despierte.”


tu voz
en este no poder salirse de las cosas
de mi mirada
ellas me desposeen
hacen de mí un barco sobre un río de piedras
si no es tu voz
lluvia sola en mi silencio de fiebres
tú me desatas los ojos
y por favor que me hables

“Del otro lado

Años y minutos hacen el amor.
Máscaras verdes bajo la lluvia.
Iglesia de vitrales obscenos.
Huella azul en la pared.
No conozco.
No reconozco.
Oscuro. Silencio.”

(los cuatro de “Los trabajos y las noches”)

Por último, me ha entusiasmado este artículo por descubrirnos detalles de su vida personal, como que le encantaban los cuadernos y los artículos de papelería (fijación que comparto desde que era una cría sin que desaparezca por el paso del tiempo), motivo por el que Cortázar hasta le escribió unos versos; su sentido del humor del que disfrutaron los amigos, aspecto que sorprende mucho por la temática de sus poemas; o cuestiones relativas a su sexualidad, tema misterioso y con el que, parece ser, le gustaba jugar.


Profile Image for Edita.
1,402 reviews425 followers
June 27, 2016
When you look at me
my eyes are keys,
the wall holds secrets,
and my fear carries words, poems.
Only you can turn my memory
into a fascinated traveler,
a relentless fire.
You speak like the night.
You announce yourself like thirst.
on the other edge of the night
love is possible

take me there

take me to the sweet essences
that die each day in your memory
I stored up the purest words
for making new silences
In my eyes I’ve lost everything.
Asking is so far away. And so close, this knowledge of want.
What I want from this poem is the loosening of my throat.
No one can save me. I’m invisible even to myself. Here I am, calling to myself with your voice.
Profile Image for Lady Selene.
414 reviews26 followers
October 21, 2022
(a reread, rating stands, initial review stands)

This time around what stood out most was the poem On This Night, In This World, posthumously published and written for the journalist Martha Isabel Moia. Beautiful concepts expressed beautifully.

On This Night, In This World
(bits and pieces of it)

on this night in this world
nothing is ever what you wish to say
the tongue is an organ of knowledge
about the failure of every poem
castrated by its own tongue
which is the organ of re-creation
of re-cognition
but not of resurrection
of the thing as negation

do not make love
they make absence
if i said water, would i drink?

on this night in this world
the thing about the mind is it doesn't see itself
the thing about the spirit is it doesn't see itself

my person is wounded
my first-person singular

i write as one who raises a knife in the dark
in breakdown of words
abandoning the palace of language

and the hound of maldoror*
on this night in this world
where anything is possible
except for
a poem

oh help me write the most dispensable poem
that can't even be used
to be useless
help me write words
on this night in this world.

*The Songs of Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont.

Initial review:

I finally understand the meaning of very good modern poetry. Alejandra Pizarnik was born in Buenos Aires to Russian parents fleeing WWII, a writer that spoke from a place of deep power within, an Anne Carson meets Sylvia Plath. She has an Intimate command of language, Borges would have approved.


There comes a day when poetry is made without language, a day when the great and small desires that were scattered in verses are called together, are gathered up suddenly by two eyes, the same ones that I so worshipped in the frenzied absence of the blank page. In love with the words that create small nights in the uncreatedness of the day and its ferocious void.


The soft rumour of spreading weeds.
The sound of things ruined by the wind.
They come to me as if I were the heart of all that exists.
I would like to be dead and also to go inside another heart.
Profile Image for Eva.
59 reviews14 followers
July 20, 2021
"Y yo caminaría por todos los desiertos de este mundo y aun muerta te seguiría buscando, a ti, que fuiste el lugar del amor."
Author 13 books49 followers
January 20, 2020
Pizarnik is one of surrealism's constellations, not a minor voice translated for holiday commerce. Her poems are like trails of kisses on a mirror; this is an autobiographical search for her own coherence, an understanding of self through her lineage.


For Theodore Faenkel

In the stiff hand of a dead man,
in the memory of a madman,
in the sadness of a child,
in the hand that feels for a glass,
in the unreachable glass,
in the endless thirst"


the mind's house
rebuilt letter by letter
word by word
in my double paper figure

crosses the sea of ink
to give new form
to a new feeling

it opens its mouth
green and rootless,
the word without its body

a new musical order
of colors of bodies of excess
of small forms
that move scream say never
the night says never
the night utters me
in a poem"

Unfortunately the poet seems unable to find her way out of one of the arcane avenues that an art form based on an infinite formula can offer (that and poverty). She passed away in 1972. There is not one false step or insincerity in her poetry.
Profile Image for Jessica.
243 reviews49 followers
November 1, 2021
"Alguien mide sollozando
la extensión del alba.
Alguien apuñala la almohada
en busca de su imposible
lugar de reposo."

Debido a algunos fragmentos que conocí mediante twitter, Alejandra Pizarnik me llamó la atención y si bien mi intención era aventurarme con Diarios, en la biblioteca solo pude conseguir este volumen.

Alejandra Pizarnik es un soplo de aire fresco, se aleja de la típica imagen "bonita y amorosa" que tenemos de la poesía para darnos unos párrafos desgarradores llenos de soledad y sufrimiento. Confieso que le he bajado la nota debido a algunos textos hacia el final del libro, que me han dejado un tanto fría y desconcertada pero gracias a La condesa sangrienta y como narra Alejandra esos terribles sucesos, ha conseguido que se lleve unas más que merecidas cuatro estrellas.

"Emboscado en mi escritura
cantas en mi poema.
Rehén de tu dulce voz
petrificada en mi memoria.
Pájaro asido a tu fuga.
Aire tatuado por un ausente.
Reloj que late conmigo
para que nunca despierte."

Profile Image for Ana.
62 reviews9 followers
January 4, 2017
A morte restituiu ao silêncio o seu prestígio sedutor. E eu não direi o meu poema e eu hei-de dizê-lo. Mesmo que o poema (aqui, agora) não tenha sentido, não tenha destino.
Profile Image for S̶e̶a̶n̶.
861 reviews364 followers
February 3, 2019
I weigh myself in the language I use for weighing my dead.

In love with the words that create small nights in the uncreatedness of the day and its ferocious void.
Profile Image for Mariona.
56 reviews15 followers
March 25, 2022
5 estrelles perquè: és la Pizarnik i no es mereix menys; és poesia; i aquí ens agrada tot allò angoixant fins a dir prou.

Embriagada i corpresa per la sensibilitat i capacitat per transmetre, a través d’un llenguatge extremadament poètic, tant de patiment i tanta solitud. Tant, que sembla que cada poema t’hagi d’arrencar l’ànima.

No es pot explicar ni ressenyar, a la Pizarnik se l’ha de llegir i deixar sentir aquí dins.

«La muerte siempre al lado.
Escucho su decir.
Sólo me oigo.»

«La soledad no es estar parada en el muelle, a la madrugada, mirando el agua con avidez. La soledad es no poder decirla por no poder circundarla por no poder darle un rostro por no poder hacerla sinónimo de un paisaje.»


I feel you, Alejandra.

Send moixaines.
Profile Image for Alejandro Teruel.
1,153 reviews214 followers
February 12, 2016
Una poesía sublunar intensamente personal obsesionada por la muerte, huesos, lilas, silencio, nombres perdidos, madrugadas, el sonido del agua, y antiguos grises, como en Vértigos o contemplación de algo que termina:
Esta lila se deshoja,
Desde sí misma cae
y oculta su antigua sombra.
He de morir de cosas así.
Hay poesía que uno intuye más allá de los horizontes que nos son dado alcanzar -eso me pasa con la poesía mesurada y elegíaca de este libro frágil, fracturado, ajeno e insomne que, tal como se aprecia en el poema en prosa En la otra madrugada, no requiere del verso para lograr sus efectos:
Veo crecer hasta mis ojos figuras de silencio y desesperadas. Escucho grises, densas voces en el antiguo lugar del corazón.
Las angustias se intensifican en sintaxis rotas como ocurre en el final de Figuras y silencios:
Me quieren anochecer, me van a morir.
Ayúdame a no pedir ayuda.
El amor puede tener la inevitabilidad y naturalidad de Como agua sobre una piedra;
a quien retorna en busca de su antiguo buscar
la noche se le cierra como agua sobre una piedra
como aire sobre un pájaro
como se cierran dos cuerpos al amarse
o trascender hasta el olvido (Privilegio):
Ya he perdido el nombre que me llamaba,
su rostro rueda por mí
como el sonido del agua en la noche,
del agua cayendo en el agua.
Y es su sonrisa la última sobreviviente,
no mi memoria.
October 21, 2021
No hay palabras. El poema en prosa que es "La extracción de la piedra de la locura" me hizo llorar. Pizarnik va más allá del dolor, va a ese umbral vertiginoso que es la crudeza del sentir, extrae su locura como si fuera un órgano vital y la martilla en las páginas virginales, manchando irremediablemente todo a su paso. Es una poeta que quema con su poesía.
Profile Image for Emily Laurent-Monaghan.
55 reviews72 followers
February 26, 2019
Alejandra Pizarnik is one of the greatest poets of the 20th c

Deaf Lantern

The absent figures are sighing, and the night is thick. The night is
the color of the eyelids of the dead.
All night long I make the night. All night long I write. Word by
word I am writing the night.
Profile Image for Nicole Scavino.
Author 3 books174 followers
March 23, 2020
«¿Y yo? ¿A cuántos he salvado yo?
El haberme prosternado ante el sufrimiento de los demás, el haberme acallado en
honor de los demás. Retrocedía mi roja violencia elemental. El sexo a flor de corazón, la vía del
éxtasis entre las piernas. Mi violencia de vientos rojos y de vientos negros. Las
verdaderas fiestas tienen lugar en el cuerpo y en los sueños.»

Leer a Alejandra Pizarnik es tomar vino a la deriva del volcán Lanín. Alejandra le dice a Octavio Paz en su poema Rescate: «Y es siempre el jardín de lilas del otro lado del río. Si el alma pregunta si queda lejos
se le responderá: del otro lado del río, no este sino aquel.» Y me intrigo por la fecha de publicación de la lectura (1968) y es la perfilación de la intensa literatura de Pizarnik.

La lectura se divide en cuatros partes (en concordancia a los años): 1962,1963, retorno a 1962, 1964. Y desde el podio que escriba Alejandra, hace maravilla en el eco de su lírica, su prosa, sus palabras.

Más información en @lecturasdelabruja en Instagram. Indagar en crónicas en www.ladonnabohemien.wordpress.com
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Hind.
141 reviews53 followers
September 17, 2019
Not verb, but vertigo. Does not
indicate action. Does not mean to
go meet someone but rather to lie
there because someone doesn’t arrive.


Your bones ache on the brink of morning. You split open. I am warning you and I warned you. You disarm. I tell you and I told you. You undress. You divest. You come undone. I had predicted this.


She was just looking for a more or less suitable place to live. What I mean is: some small spot where she could go to sing or cry in peace sometimes. Really what she wanted wasn’t a house; Shadow wanted a garden.

I've never been so speechless reading poetry before. I've never thought I'd find someone like her, look at a face like hers, feel the touch of words like hers..
It's different and I truly couldn't care less how often I've said this but Pizarnik is different.
Her voice is different, her silence, her pain and loneliness and the heft.. My god the heft that she pours out of her being as ink, as tears, as words and as everything is so utterly painful and beautiful and I've cried so much reading her work.
I found this book by chance and I couldn't believe that I was reading it at first and honestly, when I picked this poetic collection I've noticed that my tongue and fingertips were turning cold and black. I saw indifference evince itself over my visage and at times it seemed that I didn't exist at all. I didn't want to exist at all.
And for some reason, although this is not the most beautiful or philosophical scanrio, she made me get in touch with what mostly makes me what I am, a person: the state of loneliness, saddens, pain and all those blue hues I'm made of, I regained colour although it's not the brightest in the spectrum.
Feeling her slowly dripping her words over me like rain does over autumnal trees, knocking, telling them winter is near, she reminded that I'm going through my winter again.. She was raw, honest, real, powerful and I just feel like I really have no adjectives left in my capacity to describe her.
By far my favourite poet and I think she's going to linger longer in my heart... I've formed a bond that I don't understand with her and I don't want to lose it.
Profile Image for blanca.
47 reviews196 followers
June 28, 2023
Ya perdido el nombre que me llamaba,
su rostro rueda por mí
como el sonido del agua en la noche,
del agua cayendo en el agua.
Y es su sonrisa la última sobreviviente,
no mi memoria.

El más hermoso
en la noche de los que se van,
oh deseado,
es sin fin tu no volver,
sombra tú hasta el día de los días.
Profile Image for Manuel Espinoza Proudinat.
51 reviews3 followers
February 18, 2021
When I was in my teens, I looked forward to live in a city where there would be enough bookstores to find the books I wanted to read. One of these books was a collection of poems by Alejandra Pizarnik, whose work I began taking a fancy to after reading "Sortilegios". Now, about 15 years after that brief first encounter, I got to read Visor's collection La extracción de la piedra de la locura y otros poemas and, although I don't feel the same teen enthusiasm for surrealist poetry that I had when I was 16, to deny that Pizarnik's poetry concocts a mirror on which the reflection of one self refers just to a greater emptyness would be a lie. One can read from most poems in this anthology that certain themes became obsessions to her: the female body, life as death, the possibility of affection, tortured childhood, and, everywhere, mental illness and the non-realities it creates. Some poems felt sometimes too duty-bound to surrealist inscrutability, but until now I'd never read such an expression of the very own voice echoing nothing but silence: the uttering subject seeks to relieve its inner turmoils and it finds that even these are made out of void. Brutal stuff. The story of countess Erzsébet Báthory ("La condesa sangrienta") at the end of the book is interesting but full of clichés.
Profile Image for Dhiyanah.
41 reviews22 followers
September 13, 2016
The personal becomes the core of all things, as it often is, and Pizarnik acknowledges the division of selves that occur in the search for a language big enough to do what she needed it to. The effect is like a mirror facing another, its subject matter caught in between – the mise en abyme of the internal landscape, reflections unfolding into the infinite. Overwhelmed, the subject matter easily loses sight of itself.

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