November 28, 2022

Susana Thénon (Argentina) 1937-1991

Susana Thénon (Argentina)



Born in 1937, Argentine poet Susana Thénon was also a translator and artistic photographer. Her early collections, Edad sin tregua (1958), Habitante de la nada (1959), and De lugares extraños, contained references to Biblical and classical themes.

    Influenced by the Italian I Novissmi poets and by figures such as the Brazilian poets Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Manuel Bandeira, as well as others, Thénon broke with her previous work in her 1984 collection, distancias. In this work Thénon pushed her spare and terse style further than previously, and explored a work, as she put it, in which she "entered a strange zone from which it would be difficult to return." In 1987 she continued that work in ova completa, and in other works, Ensayo general and papyrus, incomplete at the time of her 1991 death.

     In 1988 her book Acerca de Iris Scaccheri was published in Buenos Aires by Ediciones Anzilotti.




Edad sin tregua (Buenos Aires: Cooperativa Impresora y Distribuidora, 1958); Habitante de la nada (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Thiriel, 1959); De lugares extraños (Buenos Aires: Carmina, 1967); distancias (Buenos Aires: Torres Agüero Editor, 1984); ova completa (Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana, 1987)




distancias / distances, trans. by Renata Treitel (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1994); Ova Completa, trans. by Rebekah Smith (Brooklyn, Ugly Duckling Press, 2021).


For an interview with Thénon, go here:

For another selection of poems, go here:



from distancias





the wheel has stopped stop-

two three two three two the wheel

has stopped broken inside

only wood eyes enter

only memory conic

only memory face to the sky it is not possible

that she should still burn more should burn still more

burn alone eternal as if the wind (something)

would not scatter her crumbs her clothes undone

desired body light of the night birds

homicides under the bridge go away cold

(something) in cadence sea

and it whistled and said creature mud

said and laughed trumpet of vein

laughed aimed trembled flesh

and fired bundle



ethereal (something)

and sun (a woman)

hatchets of sun (before the locked door)

scratch the door (looks for her key) it clears

her chest (says in a loud voice) her eye (open to me i) her hand

(calls calls) the edge (no) of the river (no) of blood

(no) of blood that runs away wild thread black with fear

between threshold and door meeting her steps

the wheel has stopped stop-

two three two three two the wheel

has stopped


Translated from the Spanish by Renata Treitel




there's a country (but not mine)

where night is only in the afternoon

(but not ours)

and thus sings a star its free time


throughout death i will think

since dying is not mine

and I still shine with dazzled blood

(there's a country) the dream of falling

(there's a country)

and i with myself (and always)

with love unmoved


Translated from the Spanish by Renata Treitel





the great snake that embraces the world

sleeps you too sleep

i sleep pure of sound

we smile against the desperate and alone

among the flowers no

(you can) no (you cannot) and of the day

it rains shadow dawned you tremble with

death prior to death

i sleep a stranger to the map of the seas here i read

your dream no longer here i read

your wolf-laughter white language i decipher

no (you cannot on)

and now

the drop falls (drink love)

with a whole sky of packed madness


Translated from the Spanish by Renata Treitel









the embrace the embrace in the afternoon

how immortal i have been

and how little the alien future hurts

this stone without rest you were eternal still

you were the last the first the nothing

and nothing but sun your glance my blindness

sun forever yesterday and we turned night

and the embrace was the sea


Translated from the Spanish by Renata Treitel





the night



i shelter unsheltered

i shelter day blind

delicate flammable

i shelter this old shell

among so many other shells

that bursts with stinking fires


and pure reason exalted vertebrates


and the eye grows

ejects fires the hands

and the eye suddenly flesh

goes to meet the unseeing

distills in bars not tears but

iron sharks venereal soup

and the eye of sudden city

gets lost in the museum of wrath

body without funeral

the son rolls like a moon


like that other time

in my creak-filled horror

in my suitcase of bird

the futureless girl

drinks her foolish name


i brood

my light tongue

on this crack

bitter accomplice

of the dayless awakening

i feed on eyelid shine of dead lark


Translated from the Spanish by Renata Treitel





and the words


and the



and the patios that burn

long after the sun

no longer crossed by any evil no

steps embraced


and the patios and the words


Translated from the Spanish by Renata Treitel



(from distancias, 1984)






one of the great evils

that affect wominhood

before they called it stress

and before that strass

or Strauss

it's like a waltz

the shadowless woman stumbled through

there's no drama she's drunk

drunk the bitch




(from ova completa, 1987)


Translated from the Spanish by Renata Treitel




Selections from distancias

Reprinted from distancias/distances, trans. by Renata Treitel (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1994). Copyright ©1994 by Renata Treitel. Reprinted by permission of Sun & Moon Press.



©2002 by Renata Treitel. Reprinted by permission of Renata Treitel.

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