Trilce Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

With its intricate neological wordplay, radically juxtaposed images, and fluttering emotional registers, Trilce might initially appear a daunting, if not impregnable, book to read. Nevertheless, through patient attention, readers can begin to witness the text cohering its disparities and disjunctions into a comprehensible verbal mosaic of new, nonlogical but purposeful relationships between language and lived experience. In fact, it is precisely in such moments that Trilce begins to reveal its majesty, which arises from Vallejo’s complex and innovative network of verbal, ideological, cultural, and imagistic considerations. For example, the poem “LXV” tenderly eulogizes Vallejo’s mother by transforming his agony over her death into a calm tone of seemingly unflappable compassion. Simultaneously, the poem also fetishizes architectural language invoking incestuous echoes, and it inverts the mother-son relationship until the son serves as the mother’s nurturer.

Certainly the poetry in Trilce is Vallejo’s most dense and disjunctive writing, and it defies easy intellectual interpretation. However, the poems are also tightly crafted, and patient readers will recognize that Trilce’s poems are as emotionally layered and aesthetically purposeful as they are metaphorically, tonally, and culturally unpredictable and unstable. Consequently, if one refrains from initially reading the book for linear, word-by-word transparency and comprehension, then one can learn to absorb the book’s unprecedented poetic communication, however challengingly schismatic and multivalent it may be at times.