During Nights That Undress Other Nights


88 pages
ISBN 1-55391-008-7
DDC C861






Reviewed by Carol A. Stos

Carol A. Stos is an assistant professor of Spanish Studies at Laurentian


Nela Rio, an internationally recognized Argentinean-Canadian poet,
writer, artist, and literary critic, first published these poems in
their original Spanish in 1989; this bilingual edition, with translation
by Elizabeth Gamble Miller, makes them accessible to English-speaking

Dedicated to 16 different women, the 24 poems in During Nights That
Undress Other Nights resonate with individual and collective memories.
They describe the arrival of the soldiers; the attempt to flee; the
pursuit and capture; the imprisonment, torture, and death; and the
eventual return to a life approximating normality when the revolution is
won. Life is still bitter for the women, however: “But tell me tell me
/ Why should I cry out? / No one will listen to this woman / because the
men are celebrating the victory.”

The poems depict hideous experiences (fear, humiliation, rape, torture,
death) but also the courage and strength of the women whose suffering,
resistance, and solidarity Rio makes universal: “and I know I’m not
alone / and I make a pillow of the fear / and rest my head, my body, my
terror /on the aloneness the togetherness of those women.” During
Nights That Undress Other Nights is an intense and eloquent plea for
peace and an end to tyranny and torture.


Rio, Nela., “During Nights That Undress Other Nights,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17819.