Two Poems from Minas Gerais


Alameda Travessia-Funcionários, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Photo: Luiz Felipe S.C., Unsplash.


[sem título]

uma vez uma voz me disse
a sua poesia desce rasgada
parece caco de vidro

achei estranho
era um insulto ou um gracejo
aos meus estilhaços
que mal tem ter mãos escorregadias
que de vez em quando
quebram um prato
derramam uns verbos
derrubam um corpo
aí eu disse
bebe mais um gole
dessa cachaça deitada na mesa
e repete o que disse
agora com a garganta
ardendo um pouco mais.



a certain day a voice tells me
your poetry falls in hurt pieces
looks like a broken glass

I found this weird
it was an insult or praise
to my shrapnel
what is the matter with slippery hands
that time after time
break a plate
disperse some verbs
overthrow a body
here I said
drink another swig
of this cachaça put on the table
and I repeated my words 
with the throat that burns
a little bit more than before.

Poem by Ana C Moura, translated by Christian Elguera




lá vai o trem igual cobra
carrega pobres no lombo

lavai a roupa senhora
essa fuligem é de ontem

a vida passa e os pobres
sentem a dureza do jugo

sem ouro prata ou vitórias
o que lhes sobra




there goes the train like a snake
carries poor people on its back

the clothes must be washed, old lady
that soot is from yesterday

life goes on and the wretched
feel the hardness of the yoke

without gold silver or victories
what they have in excess


Poem by Líria Porto, translated by Christian Elguera


Christian Elguera is a Lecturer in Spanish at The University of Oklahoma and a visiting professor at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Lima, Peru). He has a PhD in Iberian and Latin American Languages and Literatures from The University of Texas at Austin. His research is concerned with the production and circulation of cultural translations by and about Amerindian peoples from the 16th century to present in Abiayala, particularly in Andean and Amazonian areas. His forthcoming monograph, Traducciones territoriales: defensoras y defensores de tierras indígenas en Perú y Brasil, analyzes poems, chronicles, radio programs, and paintings enacted by Quechua, Munduruku, Yanomami, and Ticuna subjects in order to defy the dispossessions, extermination, and ecocides promoted by the Peruvian and Brazilian States. Alongside his political interest in the struggles of Indigenous Nations, he researches the relationship between Marxism and the Peruvian Avant-Garde Poetry of the 1920s and 1930s. In this regard, he will publish the book El marxismo gótico de Xavier Abril: decadencia y revolución transnacional en El autómata (Ediciones MYL, 2021).


Megan McDowell in LALT No. 21
Number 21

In our twenty-first issue, we shine a spotlight on translation with a cover feature dedicated to Megan McDowell, the translator of many of Latin America’s best-known contemporary writers. Other features include a dossier of literary voices from Bolivia and a full set of fiction, poetry, essays, and interviews, plus exclusive translation previews and writing by Indigenous poets of the Wayuu, Shuar, and Quechua peoples.

Cover photo: Sebastián Escalona

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Translator: Megan McDowell

Dossier: Bolivian Literature

Brazilian Literature





From World Literature Today

Indigenous Literature

Translation Previews and New Releases

Nota Bene