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Translated from the Spanish by Kirk Nesset
Published: Sat Jul 1 2006
Wosene Worke Kosrof, The Inventor V (detail), 2022, acrylic on linen. Courtesy of Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
Honor the Ass

Translated from the Spanish by Kirk Nesset


Honor the ass for the star
of stupidity by which it illuminates.
For its slow petrified solitude,
so docile and useful.
Honor the ass that carries the poet
along through the world,
pricking his long ears
before each of his lines,
whatever the music.
Honor the ass, honor his box of butterflies,
where he stores the blows of God and men
and never complains.

Eugenio Montejo is regarded as Venezuela’s foremost living poet and is a crucial voice in South American literature. He is the author of twelve books of poetry, two books of essays, and a heteronymic volume of pieces. Montejo was awarded Venezuela’s National Prize for Literature in 1998 and received the prestigious Octavio Paz International Prize for poetry in 2005. He has also served as Venezuela’s ambassador to Portugal at various times. (updated 7/2010)

A poem by Kirk Nesset appeared in AGNI 71, and his translation of a Eugenio Montejo poem appeared at AGNI Online.


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