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This item is taken from PN Review 260, Volume 47 Number 6, July - August 2021.

Editorial
On 14 June 1986 – just over a quarter of a century ago – the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges died in Geneva. He is a figure who has haunted PN Review since it took its first steps as Poetry Nation I. He remains with us, his poems and fictions reviving their more than enigmatic ironies.

A sonnet from 1964 entitled ‘Un Poeta del Siglo XIII’ (‘A Poet of the Thirteenth Century’) sees the poet looking through the crumpled drafts of his poem. It is about to become the very first, as yet unrecognised, sonnet. In his drafts Borges’ poet has mixed quatrains and tercets, not yet quite regular. He labours on a further draft, then hesitates:

           ‘Acaso le ha llegado
del porvenir y de su horror sagrado
un rumor de remotos ruiseñores.’

Perhaps he has sensed, says the poem, radiating from the future, ‘a rumour of far-off nightingales’. Of things to come, a suggestion of a new form and maybe (a step beyond it) of impending clichés. The modern poet asks, in the sonnet’s sestet:

¿Habrá sentido que no estaba solo
y que el arcáno, el increible Apolo
le habia revelado un arquetipo,

un ávido cristal que apresaría
cuanto la noche cierra y abre el dia:
dédalo, laberinto, enigma, Edipo?

(‘Had he detected he was not alone, / that the cryptic, the unimaginable Apollo / had disclosed to him an archetypal pattern, // a greedy crystal that would capture, ...


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