The University of Wisconsin Press


Poetry / Latin American Literature




Sor Juana's Love Poems
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Translated by Joan Larkin and Jaime Manrique


Love poems by one of the world's most daring erotic writers

These exquisite love poems, some of them clearly addressed to women, were written by the visionary and passionate genius of Mexican letters, the seventeenth-century nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. In this volume they are translated into the idiom of our own time by poets Joan Larkin and Jaime Manrique. Some of them are rooted in Renaissance courtly conventions; others are startlingly ahead of their time, seemingly modern in the naked power of the complex sexual feelings they address.

Love opened a mortal wound.
In agony, I worked the blade
to make it deeper. Please,
I begged, let death come quick.
Wild, distracted, sick,
I counted, counted
all the ways love hurt me.
One life, I thought— a thousand deaths.
Blow after blow, my heart
couldn't survive this beating.
Then—how can I explain it?—
I came to my senses. I said,
Why do I suffer? What lover
ever had so much pleasure


—Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Joan Larkin has published the poetry collections Housework, A Long Sound, and Cold River. The editor of numerous anthologies, she is the recipient of two Lambda Literary Awards for Poetry. She teaches poetry writing at Sarah Lawrence and New England Colleges.

Jaime Manrique
is the author of the memoir Eminent Maricones: Arenas, Lorca, Puig, and Me, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press, the novels Latin Moon in Manhattan and Colombian Gold, and two poetry collections, My Night with Federico García Lorca and Tarzan, My Body, Christopher Columbus. He is cotranslator, with Joan Larkin, of Sor Juana's Love Poems.He lives in New York City and is an associate professor in the MFA program at Columbia University.


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March 2003

LC: 2002075669 PQ
88 pp.   6 x 9
1 woodcut and decorative vignettes throughout

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1997 paperback, Painted Leaf

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