Of Earth and Sea
A Chilean Memoir
This collection of prose vignettes and free verse draws upon her experiences as a child in Chile, an expatriate abroad, and a minority Jew—even in the land she calls home—to create a striking portrait of a life of exile. The tone of the book varies as it lyrically explores the geography of Chile and weaves into it the themes of exile and oppression. At times the words become hymns to the physical beauty of her country, evoking the grandeur of this land extending to the southernmost tip of the world. At times they are intimate and melancholy, exploring personal and familial history through miniature portraits that reveal the pain of being different. Finally the tone becomes angry as she denounces the injustices committed against her friends and against the families of the disappeared during the seventeen-year dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
Combining themes of memory, childhood, minority issues, Judaism, and political oppression, this collection contains some of Agosín’s strongest work. Of Earth and Sea is a poetic autobiography that explores the world of Chile with eyes that see both despair and hope.
“Agosín transports the reader to the different regions of her imagination as if by magic.”—Isabel Alvarez Borland, author of Cuban-American Literature of Exile
“The spell these poems cast through their unique, culturally informed responses to the natural world is irresistible.”—María Meléndez, author of How Long She’ll Last in this World