A selection of poems
The photo of Jorge Carrera Andrade was taken in the 1950's while he was a diplomat.
Work by Steven Ford Brown can be found at the following websites:
Cortland Review Issue 7
Cortland Review Issue 10
translations of Angel Gonzalez
the Marlboro Review
Critical writing by Steven Ford Brown at barnesandnoble.com:
Heart's Invention:On the Poetry of Vassar Miller
Jorge Carrera Andrade
The Editors of The Drunken Boat are pleased to present an extensive introduction to the well-known Ecuadorian poet, Jorge Carrera Andrade. This issue contains a selection of Andrade's poetry translated from the Spanish by Steven Ford Brown.
by Steven Ford Brown
***** Generally forgotten by American literary critics and anthologists, Ecuadorian Jorge Carrera Andrade (1902-1978) has long been considered by Latin America critics to be one of their most important poets. A country the size of Nevada, Ecuador is bordered by the dense rainforest of the Amazon on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. The country interior includes both lush farmland and the otherworldly volcanic landscapes and snow-capped mountains of the Andes. It's a country of startling contrasts. This is where Jorge Carrera Andrade grew up.
***** From a prominent family —his father was a minister of the Ecuadorian Supreme Court and his mother the daughter of an army general— he grew up on an estate outside of Quito. During his childhood on the country estate, he developed sympathetic relationships with the Indians who worked the land. His father's views from the judicial bench — very liberal for this period in South America — were also sympathetic to the plight of the Indians.
***** Within a short time after graduation from university, Carrera Andrade was quickly involved in both local and national politics. While still in his early twenties, he was appointed as a diplomat to France. For the next four decades, he would hold a variety of political offices in the Ecuadorian government, diplomatic postings (Brazil, China, Colombia, Japan, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela, and the United Kingdom), and positions at the United Nations and UNESCO.
***** In December, 1940, Jorge Carrera Andrade was appointed Ecuadorian General Consul to the United States. Taking up residence in San Francisco, he quickly established friendly relationships within the American literary community. Archives at the universities of Delaware, Princeton, and SUNY Stony Brook contain his correspondence with many American writers, including John Peale Bishop, John Malcolm Brinnin, Dudley Fitts, H.R. Hays, James Laughlin, Archibald MacLeish, Thomas Merton, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams. The publication of his first book in English (Secret Country, MacMillan, 1946) drew enthusiastic reviews in The Chicago Tribune, Hispania, The New Yorker, The Saturday Review of Literature, and The Yale Review. Although Carrera Andrade moved on to other diplomatic posts after his American experience of the 1940s, he returned to the United States in the early 1970s to oversee publication of two more books in English translation: Selected Poems, tr. H.R. Hays (SUNY Press, 1972) and Reflections on Latin American Literature, tr. Don and Gabriela Bliss (SUNY Press, 1973). There was also a brief teaching stint in the Spanish Department at SUNY Stony Brook, lectures at Columbia, Harvard and Vassar, and participation in a poetry festival at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
***** As a young man, Jorge Carrera Andrade, like the rest of the Latin American poets of his generation, tried on the various masks and guises of "modernismo." In an attempt to break the hold of Ruben Darío and French symbolists, many of them flirted with creationism (an invention of Huidobro), dynamism (Pablo de Rohka), futurism, surrealism (Neruda and Vallejo), ultraism, and vanguardism. But it was ultraism, a school of poetry founded in Madrid in 1918 by Guillermo de la Torre and Cansino Assens, that attracted Carrera Andrade. Ultraism, which stressed the metaphor as a primary tool of composition, became the method by which his most famous poems were composed.
***** Carrera Andrade's best poems utilize the techniques of American imagism, Spanish ultraism, the Latin American indigenous school, and the haiku he studied as a diplomat in Japan. His miniaturist "portraits" of the Indians and villages of his native Ecuador are as powerful and evocative as the indigenous paintings of Oswaldo Guayasamin, an Ecuadorian of mestizo-Indian heritage, or of Diego Rivera and the other Latin American muralists of the time.
***** Although early in his career Jorge Carrera Andrade was influenced by Gongora and Francis Jammes, it's the influence of Whitman and the stoicism of Zen philosophy that mark his later work. Expanding on the Indian themes of the 1920's period, he later wrote several epic style poems about battles between the invading Spanish conquistadors and the Indians of the Andes. His last poems were longer meditations about man's place in the world and his relentless destruction of the earth.