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Roque Dalton

The son of a member of the notorious Dalton gang, Roque Dalton (1935-75) was one of Central America's greatest, and most mythified, revolutionary poets. He spent many years in exile from his native El Salvador, returned clandestinely, was jailed, then escaped after an earthquake collapsed the jail. After a life of political solidarity with those struggling for justice and liberation, his fellow guerrillas, the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo (People's Revolutionary Army), suspected him of sowing divisiveness, with fatal results: the poet was executed in his sleep by his own party shortly before his fortieth birthday. A phrase from his íComo túë (Like You) is one of the most iconic images in modern poetics: íla poesía es como el pan, para todosë (ípoetry is like bread, for everyoneë). His key collections, full of irony, humor, and a vast humanity, include El turno del ofendido [The Injured Party's Turn], Taberna y otros lugares [Tavern and Other Places], Los pequeños infiernos [Small Hells], and Poemas clandestinos [Clandestine Poems]. The publisher Ocean Press in Australia is planning a bilingual edition of Dalton's complete works.

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