Perhaps surprisingly to some of his fiction fans, Roberto Bolano touted poetry as the superior art form, able to approach an infinity in which "you become infinitely small without disappearing." When asked, "What makes you believe you're a better poet than a novelist?" Bolano replied, "The poetry makes me blush less." The sum of his life's work in his preferred medium,The Unknown University is a showcase of Bolano's gift for freely crossing genres, with poems written in prose, stories in verse, and flashes of writing that can hardly be categorized. "Poetry," he believed, "is braver than anyone."
when I’ll be just a name not the man who wandered
with empty pockets, worked in slaughterhouses
on the old and on the new continent.
I seek credibility not durability for the ballads
I composed in honor of very real girls.
After Novel Explosives I needed something to clear the air of cordite. These Beat-ish ruminations certainly cleansed, if only with the tears elicited. Heartfelt and sprawling, the verses ache of exile and loneliness. There are themed clusters of redheads and hunchbacks, crooked cops and faded postcards. I was expecting more books and reading to be chronicled. Despite my surprise this is a worthy testament.