Cosmic Canticle

Trade Paper – $21.95

ISBN 978-1-880684-93-1
Publication Date
September 2002
Page Count
490 pages
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.5

Cosmic Canticle

Ernesto Cardenal

In this epic poem, Cardenal explores Latin American history by relating the evolution of the universe to the development of human understanding. Throughout, Cardenal blends the visible and the invisible, science and poetry, religion and nature, in 43 autonomous yet integrated cantos.
About the Author

Reverend Father Ernesto Cardenal Martínez (born January 20, 1925) is a Nicaraguan Catholic priest and was one of the most famous liberation theologians of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, a party he has since left. From 1979 to 1987 he served as Nicaragua's first culture minister. Cardenal was the founder of the primitivist art community in the Solentiname Islands, where he lived for more than ten years.  He is also famous as a poet, having authored more than 60 volumes of poetry, essays, and criticism. 

John Lyons is an Anglo-Irish poet, musician, educator, and artist currently living in London. He is well-known for his translations of Latin American poetry, including Cosmic Canticle by Ernesto Cardenal, and works by Neruda, Borges, and  Augusto Monterroso.

"Ernesto Cardenal is one of the most important poets writing today. He is one of the giants, in the tradition of Neruda and Guillen."

—Amiri Baraka

"A towering piece of work, a quite extraordinary achievement."

—Harold Pinter

"[Ernesto Cardenal's] Cosmic Canticle arrives like songs from the darkness, questioning who we are and where we came from and keeping the tradition of the long poem alive. From its first cantiga, 'Big Bang,' in which Cardenal speculates upon our origins, to the here-and-now of later cantigas, he sees signs of hope: 'This universe repeating itself after each Big Bang / to be better each time / until it becomes the perfect cosmos.' In the last cantiga, 'Omega,' he calls out names and celebrates the relations of all humankind: 'Love is the synthesis of the universe.' This is, then, a book of faith—faith in humanity and in a creator. As the work of an ordained priest, this comes as no surprise, although Cardenal's continuing impulse to write such stunning poetry is ever a wonderful surprise."

—Raul Niño, ALA Booklist