Returnings: Poems of Love and Distance

by Rafael Alberti


Poetry from White Pine Press
Translated from Spanish

Rafael Alberti was one of the greatest poets of 20th century Spain.

SKU: 179 Category:


White Pine Press | Poetry | Paperback
ISBN 978-1-935210-91-7

At the Spanish Civil War, Alberti, along with the rest of his Generation who had not been caught or killed, fled. His exile from Spain was to last almost 40 years. He died in 1999.

Translator Carolyn L. Tipton is also a poet and teacher at the University of California, Berkeley. Her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her translation of To Painting: Rafael Alberti, won the National Translation Award.

You can enjoy a couple of poems from this book at the Global Literature in Libraries website.




“Unapologetically romantic, even sentimental, Rafael Alberti’s Returnings burn with erotic intensity fueled by the melancholy of exile, the longing of nostalgia and the consolation of memory.  The musical language that drives these urgent poems is echoed exquisitely in Carolyn Tipton’s translations, which revive, in rich American English, one of twentieth-century Spain’s most important poetic voices.”

—Stephen Kessler


“The root meaning of verse is to turn, and in Returning, the first translation into English of Rafael Alberti’s favorite book, we are treated to an essay on the imaginative possibilities of a great poet, long exiled from his native land, turning memory into verse, recovering from the past everything that counts: love and friendship and the landscapes that shaped him. Through alleyways and storied ruins, colors and autumn and war, Alberti discovers poetry at every turn: “Beautiful, strong & sweet, in the end/ my only sea. Always you come back to me.””

—Christopher Merrill, author of Necessities


In the reinvention of yesterday through color, scent, and song, Alberti’s revisitations pulsate with the nostalgia of love–of youth, of spouse, of homeland. Indeed, his years of exile seem to have deepened the hues of his bucolic and maritime imagery, allowing him to fashion a vibrant present of former times. Carolyn Tipton´s moving translation recreates Alberi’s powerful imaginings and musicality through an even cadence and chiming assonance, luring us into its rhythmic magic: “With the same uncountable number of waves / –wave upon wave–you’ve continually raised / from the time of your blue birth, / you call me now, resounding, / breaking your foamy brow against the shore.””

—Lisa Rose Bradford

Additional information

Book Author

Book Author (Sorting)





Translated From

In what language

Trafika Europe
Events Calendar

View all upcoming European Literary Events

- or -
Add a new event