One of the major voices of contemporary Chilean poetry, Juan Cameron was born in Valparaíso in 1947. His poems, which for many years reflected the split reality of living first under a dictatorship & then in exile, have been both antipoetic & lyrical, nostalgic & irreverent: rather than Neruda, his forebears are Huidobro, Parra & Enrique Lihn. Members of his own generation were just commencing their literary careers when the Pinochet dictatorship began. To circumvent draconian censorship laws that forbade any criticism of the regime, they resorted to a coded language that could be understood by anyone familiar with the situation. Not belonging to any official group, Cameron could not earn a living, & after some years of struggle, he emigrated to Sweden, where he remained for ten years. Now back in Valparaíso, he lives within earshot of the creaks of the cable cars, with his wife & collaborator, the graphic artist Virginia Vizcaíno. His fellow poet Aristóteles España has described Cameron’s poetry as “a house of memory”, subject to drafts of “Gogolian air”, its obsessional imagery redolent of rain-showers & thunderclaps. His most recent books are Ciudadano discontinuado and Bitácora (which won the Premio Internacional de Poesía Paralelo Cero 2014).
Apart from three chapbooks of translations by Cola Franzen (Si regreso / If I go back, Cross-Cultural Communications, New York 1993; Anoche terminó la guerra / Last night the war ended,Cold Hub Press 2010, & Invocaciones a Pincoya en el país de la lluvia / Invocations to Pincoya in the country of rain, Cold Hub Press 2011), So We Lost Paradise is the first selection of Juan Cameron’s poetry to appear in English. http://www.coldhubpress.co.nz/juan-cameron-so-we-lost-paradise-cold-hub-press.html