Land of the Four Quarters
Land of the Four Quarters:
a poetic history of the Incas
This collection of narrative poems incorporates much of the epic tradition while bringing something original to historical narration. Through the eyes of the Indians both noble and lowly, real and imaginary, in a series of first person poems, the events in the one hundred years immediately before Francisco Pizarro’s arrival in Peru in 1532 until 1571 are recounted.
Totemic spirits, puma, condor, llama, and serpent speak, each representative pairs of the male-female polarities of the Incan empire, which was divided into four quarters, or suyos. Each of the Incan rulers relates events of the pre-conquest period through the execution of the last Incan ruler, Tupac Amaru.
The metrical and stanzaic pattern of these dramatic monologues replicates the highly ordered Incan society. Only a poetic history can imaginatively chronicle the epic struggle of the clash of two cultures. As in all poetry, the facts of history are the springboard for imaginative flights. Fact becomes fiction and fiction becomes fact, bent whichever way best suits the imagination.
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