The Water of Life


Waterfall, Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, Neltume, Panguipulli, Chile. Photo: Luis Villasmil, Unsplash.

Itrofill mogen

May, ¿iney feyentulayafuy? 
pigeken: Ti Ko  fey ta  Mogen 
¿Welu chem kam ta ko  
        mvlenole Kvrvf?  
¿Welu chumkey ti Kvrvf 
       ka ti Ko mvlenole Mapu? 
¿Welu chumkey ta Mapu 
       mvlenole  ti Kvtral?  
¿Welu chumkey ta kvtral 
       mvlenole ta Antv?
¿Welu chumkey ta  Antv 
        mvlenole Kvyen ñi trufken?
¿Welu chumkey ta Kvyen
       mvlenole ta Ñikvf ñi vl?
¿Welu chumkey ti ñikvf  
        mvlenole chi Azkintun?  
¿Welu chumkey ta azkintun
       mvlenole  ta  Zugun?  
¿Welu chumkey ta Zugun  
        mvlenole ta Mogen ñi neyen?
¿Welu chi Itrofill ñi neyen  
        mvlenole Mogen tañi Ko?*


*Freneaen, eymi amulñifige tvfachi vlkantun: 
Ragintu ta chi  kileen chi mawiza mew
Chi  liwen mvlfen mew
Inaltu ta ti kiñeke witrunko mew
        lewfv, trayenko, lafken
Azkintulen chi fvtrake wampu konwe 
       antv mew ti fvtralafken mew
ka ti kvtran kvrvf chi antv mew…
Chi wente wigkul pun mew ka welun zugu
        ta rakizuam mew ta peyepeyemvn mew.   



The Water of Life
(Biodiversity, Reciprocity)

Yes, who can doubt it?
They tell me: Water is Life
But what does Water do
          without the Air?
But what can the Air
          and Water do without the Earth?
But what does the Earth do
          without the Fire?
But what does the Fire do
          without the Sun?
But what does the Sun do
          without the ashes of the Moon?
But what does the Moon do
          without the song of Silence?
But what does silence do
without Contemplation?
But what does Contemplation do
          without the Word?
But what does the Word do
          without the breath of Nature?
But what does Nature do
          without the Water of Life? *


* Please, do continue this poem:
In the middle of the last forests
In the early morning dew
On the shores of the dwindling rivers
          waterfalls, lakes
Looking at the boats on the horizon
          of the sea
and in the polluted air of the day ...
On the nocturnal and most delirious
          summit of imagination.

Translated by Camila Yver


Elicura Chihuailaf
Number 16

In our sixteenth issue, we celebrate Mapuche poet Elicura Chihuailaf, who in 2020 became the first indigenous writer to receive Chile's National Prize for Literature. We also feature dossiers dedicated to the work of Andrés Neuman, Latin American literary criticism, and the Latin American essay, plus a bilingual selection of texts from Dispatches from the Republic of Letters: 50 Years of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature commemorating Gabriel García Márquez, the first Latin American author to win the prestigious Neustadt Prize.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Elicura Chihuailaf

Dossier: Andrés Neuman

Dispatches from the Republic of Letters

Latin American Literary Criticism





Brazilian Literature


Translation Previews and New Releases

On Translation: Seeking Publisher

Nota Bene