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There is an Argentine poetry before Bayley,
and another after him.
—Alberto Vanasco

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 Edgar Bayley

Born in Buenos Aires, Edgar Bayley (1919–1990) was an active and influential participant in avant-garde Argentine poetry, representing a major figure in its literary magazines and institutions throughout the latter half of the last century, and was among the founders of the invencionista movement that swept the city, and a bit beyond, in the 1940s and ‘50s. Poet, playwright, director, translator, and essayist, he is the author of fourteen published works in diverse genres.

Bayley’s influence on twentieth-century Argentine literature was at once profound and understated. Born of a strange brand of gentle edginess, his work introduces an element of provocation that is non-aggressive, but not completely harmless, either; through humor, irony, and an astoundingly non-threatening fearlessness, his work questions the establishment without offending it or anyone in it. Both his critical and creative writings exhibit a seemingly inexhaustible fascination with, and commitment to, the shape and nature of literature, approaching its essence as a teeming source of desirable wonder, and not a medium to be mastered, or for that matter, master-able.

In Argentina, Bayley’s legacy is undergoing a revival, and he has been the subject of several distinguished academic books and papers in recent years, most notably Innumerable fluir, a recent book by Maria Amelia Arancet-Ruda. The Life and Memoirs of Doctor Pi marks the first translation of his work into English.

portrait of Bayley © Julio Martínez Howard

praise

The Life and Memoirs of Doctor Pi