Eliot Weinberger

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Eliot Weinberger (born 6 February 1949) is a contemporary American writer, essayist, editor, and translator. His work regularly appears in translation and has been published in some thirty languages. Collections of his essays have most recently appeared in Russia, Albania, Flemish Belgium, Spain and Germany.

Weinberger first gained recognition for his translations of the Nobel Prize–winning writer and poet Octavio Paz. His many translations of the work of Paz include the Collected Poems 1957-1987, In Light of India, and Sunstone. Among Weinberger's other translations are Vicente Huidobro's Altazor, Xavier Villaurrutia's Nostalgia for Death, and Jorge Luis Borges' Seven Nights. His edition of Borges’ Selected Non-Fictions received the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.

Today, Weinberger is primarily known for his literary writings (essays) and political articles, the former characterized by their experimental style, verging on a kind of documentary prose poetry, and the latter highly critical of American politics and foreign policy, particularly during the Bush administration.

Life and work[edit]

Born in New York, Weinberger's books of literary writings include Works on Paper, Outside Stories, Written Reaction, Karmic Traces, The Stars, Muhammad, the "serial essay" An Elemental Thing, which was selected by the Village Voice as one of the "20 Best Books of the Year,"[1] and, in 2009, Oranges & Peanuts for Sale.

His political articles are collected in 9/12, What I Heard About Iraq, and What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award for criticism and selected for the Times Literary Supplement’s "International Books of the Year."[2] The Guardian (UK) said of What I Heard About Iraq: "Every war has its classic antiwar book, and here is Iraq’s."[3] It has been adapted into a prize-winning theater piece, two cantatas, two prize-winning radio plays, a dance performance, and various art installations; it has appeared on some 100,000 websites, and was read or performed in nearly one hundred events throughout the world on 20 March 2006, the anniversary of the invasion.

The author of a study of Chinese poetry translation, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, Weinberger is the current translator of the poetry of the exiled poet Bei Dao, and the editor of The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry, also a TLS "International Book of the Year."[4] He is the editor of the anthologies American Poetry Since 1950: Innovators & Outsiders and World Beat: International Poetry Now from New Directions.

In 1992, Weinberger was the first recipient of the PEN/Kolovakos Award for his promotion of Hispanic literature in the U.S. In 2000, Weinberger became the only U.S. literary writer to be awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle by the government of Mexico. He is prominently featured in the Visitor’s Key to Iceland, and was chosen by the German organization Dropping Knowledge as one of a hundred "world’s most innovative thinkers."[5] At the 2005 PEN World Voices Festival, he was presented as a "post-national writer."[6] He lives in New York City.

Selected bibliography[edit]

Writings by the author[edit]

  • Works on Paper (essays), New Directions (New York, NY), 1986.
  • Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, Moyer-Bell (Wakefield, RI), 1987.
  • Outside Stories (essays), New Directions (New York, NY), 1992.
  • (Editor) Una antologia de la poesia norteamericana desde 1950, Ediciones del Equilibrista (Mexico), 1992.
  • (Editor) American Poetry Since 1950: Innovators and Outsiders, Marsilio Publishing, 1993.
  • Written Reaction: Poetics, Politics, Polemics (essays), Marsilio Publishing, 1996.
  • Karmic Traces (essays), New Directions (New York, NY), 2000.
  • (Editor) The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry, New Directions (New York, NY), 2003; Anvil (London), 2007.
  • What I Heard About Iraq, Verso (London), 2005.
  • The Stars (with Vija Celmins), Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), 2005.
  • What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles (essays), New Directions (New York, NY), 2005; Verso (London), 2006.
  • Muhammad, Verso (New York, London), 2006
  • (Editor)World Beat: International Poetry Now from New Directions, New Directions (New York, NY), 2006.
  • An Elemental Thing (essays), New Directions (New York, NY), 2007.
  • Oranges and Peanuts for Sale (essays), New Directions (New York, NY), 2009.
  • Wildlife (essays), Giramondo (Sydney), 2012.
  • Two American Scenes, (with Lydia Davis), New Directions (New York, NY) 2013.

Editor and translator[edit]

  • Octavio Paz, Eagle or Sun?, October House, 1970, revised edition, New Directions (New York, NY), 1976.
  • Octavio Paz, A Draft of Shadows, New Directions (New York, NY), 1980.
  • Homero Aridjis, Exaltation of Light, Boa Editions (Brockport, NY), 1981.
  • Octavio Paz, Selected Poems, New Directions (New York, NY), 1984.
  • Jorge Luis Borges, Seven Nights, New Directions (New York, NY), 1984.
  • Octavio Paz, The Collected Poems 1957-1987, New Directions (New York, NY), 1987, revised edition, 1991.
  • Vicente Huidobro, Altazor, Graywolf (Minneapolis, MN), 1988, revised edition, Wesleyan University Press (Middletown, CT), 2003.
  • Octavio Paz, A Tree Within, New Directions (New York, NY), 1988.
  • Octavio Paz, Sunstone, New Directions (New York, NY), 1991.
  • Cecilia Vicuña, Unravelling Words and the Weaving of Water, Graywolf (Port Townsend, WA), 1992.
  • Xavier Villaurrutia, Nostalgia for Death, Copper Canyon Press (Port Townsend, WA), 1993.
  • Octavio Paz, In Light of India, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1997.
  • Octavio Paz, A Tale of Two Gardens, New Directions (New York, NY), 1997.
  • Octavio Paz, An Erotic Beyond: Sade, 1998.
  • Jorge Luis Borges, Selected Non-Fictions, Viking (New York, NY), 1999.
  • Bei Dao, Unlock, New Directions (New York, NY), 2000.
  • Octavio & Marie-Jose Paz, Figures & Figurations, New Directions (New York, NY), 2002.
  • The crafts of Mexico, edited by Margarita de Orellana, Alberto Ruy-Sánchez; guest editor, Eliot Weinberger. Smithsonian Books, (Washington), 2004.
  • Bei Dao, The Rose of Time: New & Selected Poems, New Directions (New York, NY), 2010.
  • Octavio Paz, The Poems of Octavio Paz, New Directions (New York, NY), 2012.


  1. ^ [1] The Village Voice, November 27, 2007
  2. ^ [2] Times Online, December 2, 2005
  3. ^ [3] The Guardian, 28 May 2005.
  4. ^ [4] Times Online, December 5, 2003
  5. ^ [5] International Literature Festival Berlin website
  6. ^ [6] PEN American Center

Further reading[edit]

  • Boston Review, December, 2000/January, 2001, John Palattella, review of Karmic Traces, pp. 56–57.
  • Contemporary Authors, (Thomson Gale, 2004)
  • The Nation, September 30, 2009, Scott Saul, review of An Elemental Thing and Oranges & Peanuts for Sale.

External links[edit]