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Letelier-Ruz, Elias.

Dorion (Quebec), The Muses' Co./La Compagnie des Muses, 1988. 96pp, paper. $10.00, ISBN 0-919754-10-4. Distributed by The Muses' Co./La Compagnie des Muses. 51 rue de 1'Eglise. Dorion. Que. J7V 1W5. CIP

Reviewed by Pat Bolger

Volume 17 Number 1
1989 January

Letelier-Ruz's first book reflects his commitment to writing. In his native Chile, in his exile in Canada (as editor of Spanish language periodicals in Montreal and Halifax), and internationally, as a poet published in half a dozen countries in Europe.

The Chileans' struggle against dictatorship is central to almost all of the poems here, powerfully conveyed in the biting irony of "My Captain," "The Happy Prince' by Oscar Wilde," and "A Christmas Song." A dozen stanzas from a cycle on Chile's history celebrate the national hero Recabarren, and a couple are based on his life in Canada.

Printing the originals and their translations on facing pages is a useful feature for readers, even those with only a limited knowledge of Spanish. Norris' translations, line by line and word by word, work very well in most cases to reflect the poet's simple, declarative tone. Figurative passages sometimes translate successfully, as when snow is compared to a "storm of blind butterflies." Elsewhere the reader will be confounded by images like "my bullet of mildewed bread."

This collection would be useful in schools where Spanish is taught and to teachers of English as a second language. Recommended for public libraries building their resources for Spanish speaking patrons.

Pat Bolger, Renfrew, Ont.
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