Exteriorismo is a poetry created with images of the exterior world, the world we see and sense, and that is, in general, the specific world of poetry. Exteriorismo is objective poetry: narrative and anecdote, made with elements of real life and with concrete things, with proper names and precise details and exact data, statistics, facts, and quotations…. In contrast, interiorist poetry is a subjectivist poetry made only with abstract or symbolic words: rose, skin, ash, lips, absence, bitterness, dream, touch, foam, desire, shade, time, blood, stone, tears, night…. I think that the only poetry which can express Latin American reality and reach the people and be revolutionary is exteriorist…. Poetry can serve a function: to construct a country and create a new humanity, change society, make the future Nicaragua as part of the future great country that is Latin America.

–Ernesto Cardenal

Translator Marc Zimmerman offered this comment on exteriorismo: “The very prosiness of exteriorist poetry, its ever-open, narrative, metonymic mode of discourse, its very refusal of the overtly poetic, metaphoric, pristine, and symmetrical made it the perfect vehicle for a realistic evocation of a horrendous reality.”

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