Sor Juana's Love Poems

Sor Juana's Love Poems Love opened a mortal wound.
In agony, I worked the blade
to make it deeper. Please,
I begged, let death come quick.
Wild, distracted, sick,
I counted, counted
all the ways love hurt me.
One life, I thought—a thousand deaths.
Blow after blow, my heart
couldn't survive this beating.
Then—how can I explain it?—
I came to my senses. I said,
Why do I suffer? What lover
ever had so much pleasure?

These exquisite love poems, some of them clearly addressed to women, were written by the visionary and passionate genius of Mexican letters, the seventeenth-century nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. In this volume they are translated into the idiom of our own time by Joan Larkin and Jaime Manrique. The poems included in this selection have been chosen from Sor Juana's extensive body of poetry on many kinds of love. Some of them are rooted in Renaissance courtly conventions; others are startlingly ahead of their time, seemingly modern in the naked power of the complex sexual feelings they address.

Jaime Manrique


Bilingual edition. New York: Painted Leaf Press, 1997. Translations with Joan Larkin.

Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2003.

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