Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Historias y poemas de una lucha de clases / Stories and Poems of a Class Struggle

by Roque Dalton


Poems of revolution by one of Latin America’s most beloved poets

“The revolutionary the dictatorship couldn’t kill, the trickster poet favored by the gods.”—Ben Ehrenreich, author of The Way to Spring: Life and Death in Palestine

Translated by Jack Hirschman and Barbara Paschke
Foreword by Christopher Soto and Tatiana Marroquín
Introductions by Jaime Barba and Margaret Randall

Born in San Salvador in 1935, Roque Dalton dedicated his life to armed struggle while writing
fierce, tender poems about his country and its people. In Historias y poemas de una lucha de
clases / Stories and Poems of a Class Struggle
, Dalton offers a road map for a liberated El
Salvador, writing through the lens of five poetic personas, each with their own imagined history
and distinct voice. This collection shows a country caught in the crosshairs of American
imperialism, where the few rule the many and the many fight to survive—and yet there is love
and humor and self-mockery to be found here on every page, in every verse, as well as an
abiding faith in humanity. “I believe the world is beautiful,” Dalton writes, “and that poetry, like
bread, is for everyone.”


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“It feels apt that, nearly 50 years after his death, Dalton’s work is being reprinted alongside a burgeoning generation of Salvadoran writers. He was a revolutionary poet and part of La Generación Comprometida, one of the most important literary movements in Salvadoran history.”

“His prolific artistic production, cut off at the age of forty, remains a monumental artifact . . . illustrating his profound conviction that the poet can and must, in his life as well as in his work, serve as the finely-honed scalpel of change, both in word and deed.”

“The most daring and innovative Salvadoran writer and intellectual of the twentieth century.”

ROQUE DALTON (1935–1975) was an enormously influential figure in the history of Latin America as a poet, essayist, intellectual, and revolutionary. As a poet who brilliantly fused politics and art, his example permanently changed the direction of Central American poetry. The author of eighteen volumes of poetry and prose, one of which (Taberna y otros lugares) received a Casa de las Américas prize in 1967, his work combines fierce satirical irony with a humane and exuberant tenderness. His legacy extends beyond his achievements as a poet to his political writings and political work in his native El Salvador.