The Dilemma of Writing a Poem is divided into three parts: poetica, political poems and mother earth poems. The book as a whole examines the interrelatedness of these three areas, drawing upon the author’s own experiences of imprisonment and torture by Chile’s Pinochet regime. This is committed, political poetry at its best.
These are poems of compassion, witness, hope for humanity and thirst for justice. Juan Garrido Salgado writes as a global citizen, a reader whose address to other writers defies border thinking. This book is a graceful argument, an act of patience, care, survival and growth, never flinching from trauma, or from oppression in its search for truth.
“I want to say, first, that your book is brave and strong, and filled with sunlight, blood, truth, hope and horror. It is a masterpiece. And I also want to thank you for honouring the suffering of First Nations people in this land. Most poets ignore us, as though genocide is something that only happens in another place. But you have remembered us”
Judith Nangala Crispin
Juan Garrido-Salgado immigrated to Australia from Chile in 1990, fleeing the regime that burned his poetry and imprisoned and tortured him for his political activism. He has published eight books of poetry and his work has been widely translated. He has also translated works by a number of leading Australian & Aboriginal poets into Spanish, including five Aboriginal poets for the anthology Espejo de Tierra/ Earth Mirror (2008). With Steve Brock and Sergio Holas, Garrido-Salgado also translated into English the Trilingual Mapuche Poetry Anthology. The book When I was Clandestine was part of a poetical tour at the Granada International Poetry Festival in Nicaragua, Mexico and Cuba (La Habana City) in 2019.