Elena Poniatowska in LALT

Number 11

In the eleventh issue of Latin American Literature Today, we highlight one of the essential voices of Mexican letters, Elena Poniatowska, and we pay homage to the towering literary figure of Chilean poet Enrique Lihn. We also highlight literary journalism from Venezuela and Mexico, indigenous literature in the Maya languages of Guatemala...

Thirty years after his death, the poet, university professor, art critic and dramaturg, Enrique Lihn, has not let time go by without publishing at least one title every two or three years. It’s an...

Enrique Lihn en la cornisa (Ediciones UDP, 2019) is the title of the last posthumous publication about the poet who died thirty years ago. In this case, penned by Lihn’s ex-partner, journalist Claudia Donoso, who dusts off six hours of conversation recorded in 1981 which she zealously filed while waiting for an unappealable distance that...

Of the fourteen series in which the enormous archive “Enrique Lihn papers 1941-1988” is organized, in the Special Collections of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, California, the one dedicated to Lihn’s correspondence takes up considerable space. In total, eight boxes of letters exchanged, over the course of forty years in the...

Las cartas de Eros came first in 2016. This was followed by the volume of visual poetry Poetas, voladores de luces (2017), and the dramatic texts Diálagos de desaparecidos (2018). The independent publisher Overol is not trying to rescue the unpublished works of Enrique Lihn, but rather to offer, book by book, a timely writing...


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Lance Asper Beach

We were in this bar, Sunday afternoon, sitting in a corner. The hour, hazy. I had been in the country for two and a half months. My friend Elis had put me up in her house, a two-room apartment on an island north of Miami Beach.

Tununa Mercado

In the shadows, at the hour when objects have yet to vanish in the darkness and their contours can barely be perceived, at the hour when creatures tend to look alike, she circles round the room going over to the window every so often. There is no anxiety in that pacing, only the subtle, undisclosed and unexpected presence of her desire taking...

Gabriel Payares

The clowns arrived one Saturday, after our morning shower and just as visiting hours were about to begin. It was a cold weekend sometime in either January or February. It’s hard to tell in this place. Here every day begins the same: making our way one by one in slow procession to the bathroom, assisted by the carers, who at that hour...


Of Death. Minimal Odes

Of Death. Minimal Odes, a verse collection by Brazilian poet Hilda Hilst translated by Laura Cesarco Eglin, was a recipient of the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards. The prize jury commented on the book:

Carlos Manuel Álvarez

It doesn’t matter. I have a line by César Vallejo tattooed on my right forearm that says, “Who isn’t called Carlos or any other thing?” A short time before, Odysseus said to Polyphemus, “Nobody is my name. My father and mother call me Nobody, as do all the others who are my companions.” If you look closely, they are exactly the same line.

Karina Sainz Borgo

From a journalistic point of view, Venezuela is, on a daily basis, news that move with the speed of current times, where one lead is immediately substituted by another that eliminates the most recent facts and replaces them with new situations. In such cycles, readers are informed, but rarely are deeply connected with what happens since if the...


Elena Poniatowska and George Henson

My love affair with Elena Poniatowska began in 1986. I was a graduate student at Middlebury College’s Summer Spanish School.


“Every language act,” wrote George Steiner, “has a temporal determinant.” I find this sentence underlined by my hand fifteen or twenty years ago in After Babel.

Alonso Cueto

Fiction is a consequence of a writer’s curiosity about life. I don’t think a writer’s interest is life in general. What matters to a writer is the concrete gallery of human beings and the intricate web of relationships that brings them together. The people, so different among themselves, whom we meet over the course of our experience, who intrigue...


Miami Airport

This is the original text of a bilingual poem in three parts by Venezuelan poet Beverly Pérez Rego. To read its translation, with the Spanish in English and the English in Spanish, completed by Arturo Gutiérrez Plaza and Arthur Dixon, click here.

Jorge Ortega

Stone and orange,their adjacency.  Rock and pistil.  Between boththe lattice of a stained glass:a cluster of contrasts,    antinomies. 

Tom Maver

Sara Luna, the verse collection by Tom Maver from which these poems are selected, was awarded first prize in the Poetry category of the Concurso de Letras of the Fondo Nacional de las Artes of Argentina. We are proud to feature these poems in Latin American Literature Today.

Editor’s Pick

The Houseguest

At ninety-one, revered Mexican writer Amparo Dávila has had a long and illustrious life in letters. Born in Zacatecas in 1928, she went to the nation’s capital in 1966, where she worked for a time as secretary to Alfonso Reyes, who encouraged her to publish. In the 1950s and ’60s, few Mexican women were acknowledged as literary talents: Rosario...

Antología Poética

Alvaro Mutis once referred to the poetry of Juan Sánchez Peláez (1922-2003) as “Latin America’s best kept secret.” The pronouncement may sound trite, but it suggests a truth: even today the poetry of Juan Sánchez Peláez remains an oral treasure that travels selectively from lips to lips and a hidden island that even very sophisticated readers of...

El país de Toó

In 2004, the Guatemalan novelist Rodrigo Rey Rosa published a chronicle in Granta Magazine entitled “El Tesoro en la Sierra,”—Treasure in the Mountains—which relates the destruction of communities in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, a devastation which results from gold mining practices by international mining corporations. Rey Rosa’s most recent...

Indigenous Literature

Negma Coy

It is a tremendous honor to publish these poems by the Maya poets Humberto Ak’abal and Negma Coy, two of the participants at the V Encuentro Continental Intercultural de Literaturas Amerindias (EILA) that was held at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá in April 2018. At that event I not only had the opportunity to meet authors from...

Jayariyú Farías Montiel

In August of last year, we had the opportunity to publish a dossier of indigenous literature dedicated to contemporary Wayuu literature written in Colombia in LALT. Within the texts we published, there were evident and repeated allusions to the Wayuu people “of this side” and “of that side,” paraphrasing Cortázar, since the Wayuu community lives...

Daniela Catrileo

Since its third issue, Latin American Literature Today has included a special dossier to disseminate the voices of dozens of indigenous women poets who since the 80s have forcefully burst onto the scene all over the American continent. This editorial move is a humanitarian as well as a political gesture, since these voices,...