The best-known work by acclaimed Cuban poet Ángel Escobar
Ángel Escobar’s Breach of Trust / Abuso de confianza is known by many as the most devastating book of his poetic generation. It is his first to be offered to an English-speaking audience. Merging personal and collective meditations, these twenty-three poems perform an indictment of violence. Escobar’s poetry delineates lacerations etched on bodies and minds by the sanguinary twentieth century, which unfolded out of a longer modernity spanning the Americas.
Breach of Trust / Abuso de confianza outlived its author, who took his own life in 1997. Brief and implicit appeals for justice and love offset the book’s abject theatricality. Escobar’s tragic masterpiece deftly interweaves themes into a striking synthesis offered in the spirit of survival.
Award-winning translator Kristin Dykstra introduces this collection with a comprehensive examination of Escobar’s life, work, and the times within which he wrote. Dykstra situates Escobar’s poetic abjection as his drive to confront thingification face to (non)face.
Acknowledgments: Support for the Translation
Against Thingification (Or, On Becoming Inadvisable)
Mente rota / Broken Mind
El castigo / Punishment
La novela de Oersman / Oersman’s Novel
Desde el suelo / From the Floor
Apuntes para una biografía de Helene Zarour / Notes toward a Biography of Helene Zarour
Gestos / Gestures
Dos capítulos / Two Chapters
Tartamudea el ángel / The Angel Stutters
Siempre escasea un relámpago en la mesa / Always a Shortage of Lightning on the Plateau
Veintiuno y diez. Me fijo / Twentyone and Ten. I See
El escogido / The Chosen One
La visita / The
La edad / The
Hospitales / Hospitals
Graffitti / Graffitti
Huéspedes / Guests
Así en la paz / In Peace
Beulah / Beulah
Los cuatro cuentos / The Four Stories
But on, but on, mira la jaula / But on, But on, Look at the Cage
Otro texto sobre otra prueba y otra prueba /Another Text about another Proof and another Proof
Funny Papers / Funny Papers
Abuso de confianza / Breach of Trust
Notas sobre el texto original / Notes on the Original Text
Ángel Escobar was born in Cuba’s eastern province of Guantánamo in 1957. A student of theater, Escobar moved to Havana in 1977. His work includes the poetry collections Viejas palabras de uso (Old Well-Used Words), Cuéntame lo que me pasa (Tell Me What’s Happening to Me), Cuando salí de La Habana (When I Left Havana), and the theater piece Ya nadie saluda al rey (Now No One Greets the King). His work received the Premio David in 1978 and the Premio Roberto Branly in 1985.
Kristin Dykstra, recipient of the 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship, also translated Reina María Rodríguez’s Other Letters to Milena / Otras cartas a Milena and Juan Carols Flores’s The Counterpunch (and Other Horizontal Poems) / El contragolpe (y otros poemas horizontales), as well as various other books of Cuban poetry.
"Breach of Trust is a book of poetry by one of the most extraordinary Cuban poets of the twentieth century that begs to be studied by students of Latin American and Caribbean literature, poetry, and translation, as well as by writers and readers of global literature. Ángel Escobar is a poet’s and philosopher’s poet, whose every turn of phrase is as intensely maneuvered in Kristin Dykstra’s translation as it is in the original writing. Dykstra successfully translates the anguish, solitude, and pain involved in Escobar’s unraveling of the margins of experience. What we come to understand is a pervasive mood of both disconnection and connection, not through formal equivalence, but rather through a dynamic one.” —Jacqueline Loss, author of Dreaming in Russian: The Cuban Soviet and Cosmopolitanisms and Latin America: Against the Destiny of Place
"The complexities of Escobar's poetry are typical of the best authors from his generation in Cuba; a generation that grew up with the revolution, often benefiting from the opportunities it provided, as Escobar himself did. . . . Escobar was lost to this world too soon (in 1997 he committed suicide by jumping off a building). Thankfully this collection keeps his poetry alive, both in Spanish and English." —The Kenyon Review