The Butcher’s Reincarnation: Visions of the Nuclear Age by Óscar Hahn


English Translation by G. J. Racz

The Butchers’ Reincarnation, the most recent volume of poems by the Chilean master Óscar Hahn, is a selection of some of his most dystopian works on life in the nuclear age.  The madness of war, the pathos of needless carnage, mankind’s apparent march toward self-annihilation, and existence as it might have been are all lamented with understated lyricism in these pages.  This is the first full-length book of Hahn poems to appear in Spanish-English bilingual format in over a decade, translated here by G. J. Racz in collaboration with the author.


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 108
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: October, 2020
  • ISBN: 978-1-948017-99-2


“La poesía de Óscar Hahn es de gran intensidad y originalidad”.

“Óscar Hahn’s poetry is of a great intensity and originality.”

Pablo Neruda, winner of the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature

“La obra poética de Hahn es magnífica y verdaderamente original.  Es lo más personal que he leído en poesía de nuestra lengua en mucho tiempo”

“Hahn’s poetic works are magnificent and truly original.  His poetry is the most personal I have read in our language in quite some time.”

Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature


O púrpura nevada o nieve roja
Batalla de Stalingrado, 1943

Está la sangre púrpura en la nieve
tocando a solas llantos interiores
al soplo de memorias y dolores
y toda la blancura se conmueve
Fluyendo van en ríos de albas flores
los líquidos cabellos de la nieve
y va la sangre en ellos y se mueve
por montes de silencio silbadores
Soñando está la novia del soldado
con aguas y más aguas de dulzura
y el rostro del amado ve pasar
Y luego pasa un río ensangrentado
de blanca y hermosísima hermosura
que va arrastrando el rostro hacia la mar

Purple Snowfall or Red Snow
The Battle of Stalingrad, 1943

The blood lies purple on the pristine snow
though touches inner weeping it unchains
from sorrow stirred by memories and pains
all former whiteness moved to suffering woe
The slush’s liquid hair runs off in strains
like rivers of white flowers as these go
cascading mixed with fresh-spilled blood to flow
down hills of whistling silence near vast plains
Meanwhile the soldier’s love dreams with a sigh
of waters and more waters of delight
then views her suitor’s face pass fleetingly
That’s when a bloodied river rushes by
its beauty oh so beautiful and white
and drags his parting visage toward the sea


Óscar Hahn (b. 1938) was a member of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in 1971.  He went into exile from his native Chile in 1974 after having been held in the Arica Prison following Pinochet’s military coup the previous year.  Hahn earned a doctorate from the University of Maryland in 1977.  His book of poems, Mal de amor (tr. Love Breaks), was banned by Chile’s junta in 1981.  For some thirty years he was a professor of Latin American literature at the University of Iowa, where he now holds emeritus status.  Among the many international honors he has received are the Premio Latino de Nueva York, the Casa de las Américas Prize, Spain’s Loewe Foundation Poetry Award, and the Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Poetry Award.  In 2012, Hahn won both Chile’s National Prize for Literature and the gold medal from the Universidad de Chile for lifetime achievement in poetry.  His Ashes in Love was selected as one of the notable books of 2009-2010 by the journal Poetry International.  Hahn’s poem “Hueso” (tr. “Bone”) is exhibited in Santiago’s Museum of Memory and Human Rights, and “En una estación del Metro” (tr. “In a Subway Station”) is permanently displayed in the offices of the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona.  In 2016, Hahn was honored along with the Pulitzer-Prize-winning poets Paul Muldoon and Yusef Komunyakaa at Colombia’s International Festival of Literature.  His latest collections include Apariciones profanas (Eng., Profane Apparitions), En un abrir y cerrar de ojos (Eng., In the Blink of an Eye), La primera oscuridad (Eng., The First Darkness), and Los espejos comunicantes (Eng., Communicating Mirrors).  His works have been translated into English, Greek, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, and two of Latin America’s indigenous languages, Aymara and Quechua.  Hahn’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies worldwide in addition to being the subject of doctoral theses in the United States, Chile, and Spain.


G. J. RaczG. J. Racz is professor of English, Philosophy and Languages at LIU Brooklyn, review editor for Translation Review, and a past president of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA).  In addition to his critical writings on literary translation, Racz has contributed poetry translations to The XUL Reader:  An Anthology of Argentine Poetry 1980-1996 (ROOF BOOKS, 1997), José Lezama Lima:  Selections (University of California Press, 2005), and The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry:  A Bilingual Anthology (Oxford University Press, 2009).  He has additionally published eight volumes of translated poetry by the Peruvian writer Eduardo Chirinos.  Racz edited Three Comedies by Jaime Salom (University Press of Colorado, 2004), in which his translation of the mock-Renaissance El señor de las patrañas appears as Rigmaroles.  Racz’s translation of Salom’s Dos griegas as Callas and Medea was staged by the Thalia Spanish Theatre in New York City in 2013.  Dark Stone, Racz’s translation of Alberto Conejero’s La piedra oscura, appeared in the ESTRENO Contemporary Spanish Plays series in 2016.  His translations of the Spanish Golden Age dramatists Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s La vida es sueño as Life Is a Dream and of Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna were commissioned for the Norton Anthology of Drama (2009).  The two works were also published as stand-alone volumes, the former in the Penguin Classics series (2006) and the latter by Yale University Press (2010).  Most recently, these two translations appeared beside Racz’s renderings of Miguel Cervantes’s La Numancia (tr. The Siege of Numantia), Lope’s El perro del hortelano (tr. The Dog in the Manger), and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s Los empeños de una casa (tr. Trials of a Noble House) in The Golden Age of Spanish Drama:  A Norton Critical Edition (2018), edited by Barbara Fuchs.

Additional information

Weight 7.2 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .375 in