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Unknowne Land

Unknowne Land


Eléna Rivera


    2000, 56 pages

    ISBN 0-932716-53-9



    Unknowne Land by Eléna Rivera is the first winner of the Frances Jaffer Book Award. Rivera's poems take as her subject of exploration a young woman's coming of age in several countries in which she reads and speaks different languages. Her "unknown land" appears at collisions of the charted grounds of this cultural heritage and a variety of nameless territories that are both historical and personal.



    Eléna Rivera was born in Mexico City and raised in Paris, France. Her book of poems, Epic Series, was published by Shearsman Books in 2020. Her third full-length collection of poetry, Scaffolding (2017), was published by Princeton University Press in the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets. She received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Translation and was a recent recipient of fellowships from MacDowell (2020), Trelex Paris Poetry Residency (2019), and the SHOEN Foundation (2016).


    This is a poem of and about extremity, and it reiterates poetry's ongoing role as an extreme discourse of beginnings and apocalypses, strophes and catastrophes. Language explodes or implodes between the double pressures of tradition and innovation. The eruptions and earthquakes and tremblings in Unknowne Land are only the most literal manifestation of this tension.

    — Elizabeth Willis


    A brilliant, mature, deeply engaging work.

    — Kathleen Fraser



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