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the Complete Review
the complete review - poetry



Jorge Carrera Andrade

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To purchase Micrograms

Title: Micrograms
Author: Jorge Carrera Andrade
Genre: Poetry
Written: 1940 (Eng. 2011)
Length: 86 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: Micrograms - US
Micrograms - UK
Micrograms - Canada
Micrograms - India
  • Spanish title: Microgramas
  • Translated and with an Introduction by Alejandro de Acosta and Joshua Beckman
  • Previously translated in a bilingual edition, as Microgramas (2007), by J.Enrique Ojeda and Steven Ford Brown

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Our Assessment:

B : attractive small volume

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Publishers Weekly . 15/8/2011 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "Defining the microgram by its kinship to other forms creates a brilliant foundation for the poems, since often, as in "Definition of a Seagull," members of the natural world are defined by their metaphorical relation to objects within our own." - Publishers Weekly

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Micrograms includes an essay by the author, 'Origin and Future of the Microgram', a few dozen of his own microgram-poems, and several Japanese haiku freely translated by Carrera Andrade (and here rendered into English from his Spanish versions, rather than the originals). (The Spanish original of this book, Microgramas, was first published in Tokyo, in 1940, at the end of Carrera Andrade's tenure as Ecuadorean ambassador to Japan.)
       As the translators explain in their introduction, 'micrograms' are not merely short poems, but rather:

The microgram is a poem usually between three to six lines long and about little natural creatures (both flora and fauna) and their existence in the universe.
       Carrera Andrade offers his own definition (and history), too, and suggests:
     The microgram is but the Spanish epigram deprived of its subjective hue. Better: an essentially graphical, pictorial epigram.
       And he points out:
     Epigrams, songs, saetas, haiku, proverbs, and poetic riddles. So many paths toward the synthetic poem. So many tiny perfume bottles in which to pour quintessentialized emotion.
       Carrera Andrade's own poems are appealing little pieces, their own tiny little perfume bottles; 'The Earthworm', for example, reads in its entirety:
Constantly tracing in dirt
the long inconclusive stroke
of a mysterious letter.
       His haiku-translations -- most of works by familiar masters -- are a suitable complement to his own micrograms, too: often also nature-focused (lots of cicadas ...), and similarly succinct.
       It makes for an appealing collection (and comes in an attractive pocket-sized volume), but it is also a small collection -- all the more noticeably so because the poems themselves are so short. The pieces are quite satisfying, but all together it still feels a bit insubstantial -- a tasting of a few small morsels that does leave one hungry for more.

- M.A.Orthofer, 20 July 2011

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Micrograms: Reviews: Jorge Carrera Andrade: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Ecuadorian author Jorge Carrera Andrade (1903-1978) also served as his country's ambassador to the United States and Japan, among other countries.

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© 2011-2012 the complete review

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