Irene Gruss, passion and irony.

the poetry of Irene Gruss expresses a particular care for the form considered by some as a reaction against the poetry of the Generation 60, whose emphasis was more on the rebel than aesthetically. Irene’s gaze is always narrow, illuminates the realms of existence with a beauty that is sometimes tragic but never without irony. His poetry expresses a deep love, the attachment to life without falsehood, down to earth on a daily basis. A poetics, too, of the act of writing, which, for a woman, suggests a triple job: to survive, to take care of the children and to create, no doubt, for her, happily.

Irène has a unique voice: “Poetry is music but with your mouth closed”. What is unclassifiable in his poetry is perhaps the fact that it is not the poetry of a specific school or aesthetic, but of a person who lived his time with passion for the language. An acid humor accompanied him in art and in life: “I don’t write with my body, but with my hand and a pencil. It’s also not childbirth to release a book, it’s at most because you get an egg and then they don’t distribute it”.

It is one of the voices that will undoubtedly endure, the voice of a life put at the service of this passion. There is a quote from the American writer William Faulkner which depicts Irene full-length, and which she used as an epigraph in her last collection of poems: “It’s not that I can live, it’s that I want to. It’s that I want. Old meat at last, however old it may be. wouldn’t be the memory because it wouldn’t know what it remembers, and so when it ceases to be, half of the memory ceases to be, and if I cease to be, the whole memory would cease to be . . Yes, he thought, between grief and nothingness, I choose grief.”.

(“The Wall,” by Irene Gruss, can be purchased digitally from Bajalibros by clicking here.)

Irene Gruss was born in Buenos Aires in 1950. He published the collections of poetry the light in the window (El Escarabajo de Oro, 1982, Municipal Prize for Poetry for Unpublished Work), the incomplete world (Tierra Firme Books, 1987), The peace (Tierra Firme Books, 1991), about asthma (author’s edition, 1995), contralto solo (Gallerna, 1997), In its shine in its glass (Bohemia, 2000), Bliss (Under the Moon, 2004), half the truth (collected poetic work, Under the Moon, 2008), between sorrow and nothing (Éditions du Dock, 2015), the new a familiar letter (Bajo la Luna, 2007) and the storybook minimal pieces (Buena Vista, 2017). Selected and prefaced the anthologies Argentinian poets (1940-1960) (Quai Editions, 2006) and wind passengers (Poems by Irma Cuña, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2013). She collaborated with the mythical magazines El Escarabajo de Oro and El Ornitorrinco. He was part of the poetry workshop Mario Jorge De Lellis, with Jorge Aulicino, Marcelo Cohen, Daniel Freidemberg and Tamara Kamenszain, among other poets. He died in 2018.



A woman alone facing the sea

she is more majestic than he.

A seagull can pass

portend death

where the sun can fall by humidifying

the canvas of the tents

until you turn them off,

but a woman

Sea side

cradles her loneliness like a mistress

and don’t shake.

The light

of the sea is important

and the movement of his spirit, of his soul.

the wind blows around

of the woman

and wakes her up:

Now it’s about the beach without light, a woman,

the fallen sun, the sound of the sea,

pitched tents,

the wind that makes it turn


Irene Gruss.  Poet in his time
Irene Gruss. Poet in his time

“That was what Diana feared the most: reality breaking in”

Liliana Hecker

Therefore, she started washing her clothes.

put water in a bucket

and he stirred the soap with an ambiguous feeling:

It was a new smell and a new certainty

tell the world

“Look how the bubbles burst,” he said,

It’s no stranger than looking in a mirror.”

I thought he was speaking for his papers

and laughed touching the water.

The clothes were submerged slowly, and

he rubbed it slowly, as

I was getting to know the game.


took every soap bubble

and gave it a name; was

the best thing I’ve been able to do so far,

name, and that things

They will explode in your hand.

From “The Light in the Window” (Ediciones El Escarabajo de Oro, 1982)

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I travel

“It’s not natural”, they say;

I float and walk above the clouds,

over there I see maps, stripes

or lines, it makes listening to conversations dizzying

above the clouds, the sky was reduced to

small window, not to God,

It’s another world, I go where I don’t know,

how the mystery has traveled

and hang in the air

The poet Irene Gruss.
The poet Irene Gruss.

You distort the anecdote

It’s about alleviating the hurting side of things,

look away. He calls it tasteless and tells you

cut it, you’re trying to clear the fog by listening to the birds.

That tree there, one side of your head is asking you

make an aesthetic object,

you say later, later, when the mist passes

like early in the morning;

Or when you leave and your children ask, worried, have you spoken to anyone?; you lie to them nicely,

twist the story

You read to a modern girl, she writes violently, as if she is crushed

with sticks or had unbearable gum pain. For that?,

you see it? You decipher, you open this box where the air enters

and exhale, calm down.

The sea does not roar, it does not bellow or howl, it has neither fury nor

it is serene or silvery or green or blue;

he is smaller than God.

What matters now is to dispel the fog.

From “Between Sorrow and Nothingness” (Buenos Aires, Ediciones del Dock, 2015)


The little birds also sing in New York, the squirrels

run on steel cables

as they descend from the trees in the park,

there is something that does not fit in the landscape,

the squirrel crosses Fifth Avenue,

He turns his head, looks in amazement at what is happening,

this apparent splash of tones,

fatter ketchup more height

inconceivable what you see if you cross

Brooklyn’s Sober Old Lady

the inconceivable squirrel

at rush hour, this apparent splash of Pollock,

on Manhattan the squirrel rises,

as small as it is, and it smells like frying;

the burnt smell is not cosmopolitan

Do you smell hydrogen, napalm, the inconceivable?

blows, rain, cherry blossoms?

It’s raining in New York, little birds

They sing after the rain, and the squirrel comes and goes,

climb on the inconceivable terrace

and go down, I don’t know how, into a hole


blood, blues and glass, it don’t stop until he bites

walnut or hazelnut.

Excerpt from “From mercy I have come to feel” (Buenos Aires, Dance Editions, 2019)

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