Leo Boix


From Leo Boix:  "I am a bilingual queer Latinx poet born in Argentina who lives and works in the UK since 1996.
My debut English collection
Ballad of a Happy Immigrant (Chatto & Windus/Penguim Random House, 2021) was awarded the Poetry Book Society PBS Wild Card Choice and was selected as one of the best five books of poetry by The Guardian (August 2021).
I’ve also authored two books in Spanish,
Un Lugar Propio (2015) and Mar de Noche (2017), both with Letras del Sur Editora, Argentina. My forthcoming book is To Love a Woman (Poetry Translation Centre, London, 2022), a book of poems by the Argentine writer Diana Bellesi
I’ve translated during the lockdown. I have been included in many anthologies, such as
Ten: Poets of the New Generation (Bloodaxe), The Best New British and Irish Poets Anthology 2019-2020 (BlackSpring Press), Islands Are But Mountains: Contemporary Poetry from Great Britain (Platypus Press), 100 Poems to Save the Earth (Seren Books), Why I Write Poetry (Nine Arches Press), and Un Nuevo Sol: British Latinx Writers (flipped eye). My poems have appeared in many national and international journals, including POETRY (Chicago), PN Review, The Poetry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, The Manchester Review, The White Review, Ambit, The Morning Star, The Rialto, Magma Poetry, Letras Libres, BathMag, Prism International, Contra journal and elsewhere. I am a fellow of The Complete Works program and co-director of Invisible Presence, an Arts Council national scheme to nurture new voices of Latinx writers in the UK, and an advisory board member of the Poetry Translation Centre. I have written poems commissioned by Royal Kew Gardens, the National Poetry Library, Bradford Literary Festival, Un Nuevo Sol and La Linea Festival, among others. I was the recipient of the Bart Wolffe Poetry Prize Award 2018 and the Keats-Shelley Prize 2019, as well as being awarded The Charles Causley International Poetry Competition 2021 (second prize).

Infinite Poem
              After Yehuda Amichai 

Inside a vanishing house
venteveo bird
that bird
inside me
a black heart
inside my heart
a vanishing house
inside it
inside him
inside me
a foreign



A Latin American Sonnet III 

We decorated our house like your grandmother’s
in Buenos Aires. She lived in a grand street, a posh
house where a big publisher died. Your parents,
on the contrary, live in Hampstead, play squash,
their house, a mishmash of Latin American lore—
textiles, crafts brought in street markets, a guitar
your father plays for Mercedes Sosa’s encores.
Ours is more Baroque, like a Paraguayan altar.
It’s full of things, for once my Spanish books,
a tiny figurine of a Guaraní with a pineapple
on his head, feathers to cover his private nooks
and a teapot with a painted cross from a chapel.
People think we live in a bizarre theatre, we do
think about it often, we the actors, or cockatoos.




Latin American Sonnet VII
                  (Native peoples of Argentina)

Atacama, Huarpes, Pilagá, Mapuche,
Charrúa, Tilián, Quechua, Sanavirón,
Chané, Iogys, Qom (Toba), Tehuelche,
Chicha, Atamaqueño, Comechingón,
Ranquel, Chorote,  Wichí,  Chulupí,
Lule Vilela, Selk´Nam (Onas), Tapiete,
                    Tastil, Diaguita, Corundí,
                              Guaycurú, Tonokoté,
                    Tonokoté, Mbya Guaraní,
                             Omaguaca, Fiscara,
                                     Moqoit (Mocoví),
                                    Lule Vilela, Toara,


The Torturer’s Dog

Bergés cut the umbilical cord and ordered the policemen to take me
inside the building. They took me up the stairs to a room where there was
a stretcher. At that moment, Bergés took the blindfold from me and said: ‘
Now you do not need this.
’” —Testimony of Adriana Calvo to
CONDEP Report, 1984 (Nunca Más)

He saw the pistols, rifles,
shining shotguns arranged 

in a geometrical pattern
on the living-room wall, 

the large golden framed
pictures of the Junta Trial 

on a rounded glass table
at the sleepy suburban 

house of Buenos Aires,
the green velvet sofas 

where master, the doctor
would leave his leather 

briefcase filled with all
his instruments: the axis 

traction device, delivery
pliers, bivalve vaginal 

speculums, the forceps,
toothed jaws, Jardine’s 

large decapitation hooks
with knife, a cranioclast 

used on the torture table
in a ground floor room 

of the Pozo de Banfield
clandestine detention centre— 

crying babies, silenced
young mothers behind.



© The Acentos Review 2022