Ti tsebe xchi’uk sk’ob
sluch sloktabe sp’ijil sjol yo’nton mol me’eletik
yu’un sk’u’iltas tu slumale.
Ti me’ele xchi’uk sp’ijil sjol yo’nton
sluch stsatsubtasbe yip tsajal o’ntonal,
sluch ta yaxal kuxlejal ti ach’ jnaklejetike,
sluch ta k’anpomanil no ti lametel sikil osil k’ak’ale.
Sluch slok’ta ta lajelal
ti stsatsal yip ach’ jch’iele,
ta ik’mach’an ni ti slajeb skuxlej ti me’ele.
Ta spixbe sbek’tal stakopal
chavo’ antsetik ti osil k’ak’ale
ta xlikatik muel ta ik’ ta tok
xtoyatik batel ta yoxlahun kojal osil balumil.
A young girl’s hands
embroider her grandparents’ knowledge
on the traje of her town.
In her mind an old woman
embroiders a heart in red threads,
her descendants in blue threads,
this silence in sepia.
With signed threads
she embroiders a young woman’s heartbeats,
grey threads an old woman’s pulse.
Time peacefully enters
the bodies of two women
towards the thirteen heavens.
Chanav tu yutsilal li k’in
chak’sba a’yuk te snatil ch’enal jaytike.
Kejel sk’elbe yav yok
a’biltik slok’taojsba te ch’ut semet.
Cha’i epal mantal jelumtasbilik
te yak’ot ach’elal ts’i’etik, mutetik xchi’uk bolometik.
Stsom li mantal ts’ibabilik
te smuktikol e poko’ p’intike.
Stsombe sk’ejimol yunenal xch’iel
te mukta kelemal yav pom.
Xtavanik te ik’el snuk’ilal li lo’iletik
nakajtik te yon’ton balamile.
She walks in a music resounding
from the depths of old gourds.
She bends and takes in the stains
years have painting within the comal’s womb.
She hears the multitude of messages present
in the dancing of dogs, birds, and tigers shaped in clay.
She gathers the wisdom written
on the lips of old jugs.
She places the song of her youth
in the rooster-shaped incense burner,
calling upon voices and words that rest
in the Heart of Earth.
Yunenal ulsat malob k’aka’l
Ta sjax jik’abil k’obaletik,
Sikil ach’el sk’otsansba lo’il kuxlejale.
Slok’tasba tsumute’tik te k’ib.
Xnichinaj k’ok’ te kejlebal.
Ibilajesbil lok’tombailetik xchi’uk li si’e.
Te epal te tos bon k’uk’umetik snak’oj
Li tajimoletik spasoj xchi’uk li stse’ej sate.
Li sbek’ sate chmukul lo’ilaj
Xchi’uk li mut chlok’tal te ch’ut p’ine.
Li yunen yolk’obtake spasbik svilel mutetik.
Te k’anal ach’el xch’ay te yon’ton yunenal.
Girl of Dust
Daughter of the weeping afternoon,
she caresses her drowned hands,
bathing history in cold mud.
Doves take shape on the jug.
Fire blooms in the oven
its writing sprouting from the wood.
The games she molds with her smile
hide among the rainbow flames.
Her eyes speak silently
with the bird being born in the jug,
her small fingers forging its flight.
In the yellow clay, she’s no longer young.
Spich’be stse’ej ts’ubilal untik
te yut xchikin poko’ mol p’in.
Te sbon ch’ul k’ok’ sbon
sp’ijil snak’oj te stumtunel yon’ton.
Xcha’bi li xch’iel slupinel
sbech’sbaik te t’uxul ach’ele.
Li yach’el k’obe stsob ch’uch’el
poko’ ch’ayem lo’il te osil k’ak’al.
Li ich’ mul xchi’uk chanel p’ijilale ba sa’
k’ak’al te yut yon’ton k’ib.
Slok’ta mantaletik te sat banamil:
xtoybatel xchi’uk xambal li ch’aile.
She molds smiles on the faces of dusty children
in the old jug’s hollow ears.
With the fire’s color she paints
the knowledge in her heartbeats.
She watches the little ones grow,
enmeshed in the wet clay.
Her thick hands remove shattered
histories devoured by the time.
She looks for suffering, for life
in the depths of the three-handled jug.
She draws her wisdom in the earth, with the earth,
and it rises on the smoke’s winding path.
Translated by Paul M. Worley
Ruperta Bautista Vázquez is a community educator, writer, anthropologist, translator, and Tsotsil Maya actress, from San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México. She holds degrees in Creative Writing from the Sociedad General de Escritores de México (SOGEM), Indigenous Rights and Cultures from CIESAS-Sureste, Anthropology from Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas, and a Masters Degree in Education and Cultural Diversity. To date she has published Xojobal Jalob te’ (Telar Luminario) Pluralia Ediciones y CONACULTA, México D.F, 2013; Xchamel Ch’ul Balamil (Eclipse en la madre tierra) 2008, Primera edición. 2014, 2da edición; Ch’iel k’opojelal (Vivencias) 2003; and had her work anthologized in Palabra conjurada, cinco Voces cinco Cantos (Coautora) 1999. Her work has been translated into English, French, Italian, Catalán, and Portuguese.
Paul M. Worley is Associate Professor of Global Literature at Western Carolina University. He is the author of Telling and Being Told: Storytelling and Cultural Control in Contemporary Yucatec Maya Literatures (2013; oral performances recorded as part of this book project are available at tsikbalichmaya.org), and with Rita M. Palacios is co-author of the forthcoming Unwriting Maya Literature: Ts’íib as Recorded Knowledge (2019). He is a Fulbright Scholar, and 2018 winner of the Sturgis Leavitt Award from the Southeastern Council on Latin American Studies. In addition to his academic work, he has translated selected works by Indigenous authors such as Hubert Malina, Adriana López, and Ruperta Bautista, serves as editor-at-large for México for the journal of world literature in English translation, Asymptote, and as poetry editor for the North Dakota Quarterly.
The eighth issue of Latin American Literature pays homage to Nicaraguan writer and politician Sergio Ramírez, winner of the 2017 Cervantes Prize and an important voice in a country currently gripped by crisis. We also feature poetry from Octavio Armand, as well as special sections dedicated to four indigenous writers of Mexico and Guatemala, bilingual sci-fi from Worldcon 76, and the poetry of Marosa di Giorgio, Olga Orozco, and Elena Garro.
Table of Contents
- ESSAY: "The Essays of Sergio Ramírez" by Nicasio Urbina
- ESSAY: "Sergio Ramírez, the More-Than-Deserving Cervantes" by José Juan Colín
- INTERVIEW: Sergio Ramírez: "I do not know of a single novel that has brought about a revolution": A Conversation with Tulio Hernández
- ESSAY: "Cervantes Prize 2017 Acceptance Speech" by Sergio Ramírez
- ESSAY: "Octavio Armand and the Undoing of Cuban’s Literary Tradition" by Johan Gotera
- ESSAY: "Think of Overlook" by Alejandro Sebastiani Verlezza
- ESSAY: "Octavio Armand and Zequeira's Hat" by Rafael Rojas
- ESSAY: "Heraclitus’ Arrow" by Octavio Armand
- POETRY: Three Poems by Octavio Armand
- INTERVIEW: Octavio Armand: "A Concert for Misconduct": A Conversation with Roberto Cantú
- ESSAY: "Genre in Mexico and the Crazy, Joyful Adventure of the Anthology for The Mexicanx Initiative" by Stephen C. Tobin and Libia Brenda
- CHRONICLE: "The Long-Overdue Recognition of Mexicanx Science Fiction at This Year’s WorldCon76" by Stephen C. Tobin
- FICTION: "Shoot" by Pepe Rojo
- FICTION: "Kan/Trahc" by Iliana Vargas
- FICTION: "Aztlán Liberated" by David Bowles
- FICTION: "A Truth Universally Acknowledged" by Julia Rios
- COMIC: "Rhizome" by Libia Brenda and Richard Zela
- Felipe Restrepo Pombo: “Any writer who wants to specialize has to be a voracious reader": A Conversation with Claudia Cavallin
- "Between Humor and Horror: An interview with Heather Cleary, translator of Comemadre" by Denise Kripper
- Ricardo Cárcamo: "I wrote the annotations in the 2017 edition of The New Novel": A Conversation with Scott Weintraub
- Inscripción de la Deriva by Ismael Gavilán
- Huir no es mejor plan by Mario Montalbetti
- Death Comes in Through the Kitchen by Teresa Dovalpage
- Cadavers by Néstor Perlongher
- Museo animal by Carlos Fonseca
- Sombra de Paraíso by Claudia Sierich
- Luz negra by Noel Luna
- Una novela criminal by Jorge Volpi
- The Bottom of the Sky by Rodrigo Fresán
- Comemadre by Roque Larraquy