LALT No. 17

Number 17

In our seventeenth issue, we highlight the work of groundbreaking Colombian writer Albalucía Ángel, alongside Octavio Paz, a towering figure of Mexican letters and the second Latin American winner of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. We also feature Peruvian poet Eduardo Chirinos, a series of photo portraits of writers in the...

Dossier: Octavio Paz

There is a wooden house / on the plain of Oklahoma. / Each night the house turns / into an island of the Baltic Sea,  / a stone that fell from a fabled sky. / Burnished by Astrid’s glances, / ignited...

Octavio Paz and Eikichi Hayashiya published the Spanish translation of Oku no hosomichi (奥の細道) on April 9, 1957. This collaboration resulted in the first translation to a Western language of this work entitled Sendas de Oku (The Narrow Road to Oku). These two authors made it possible for readers of Spanish to discover...

This year, we commemorate two anniversaries: thirty years since Octavio Paz received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990 and seventy years since the publication of his most-read essay, El laberinto de la soledad (The Labyrinth of Solitude). Anniversaries are as good an excuse as any to rethink the major works and figures...

As a thinker of translation, Octavio Paz would have agreed with the title of Rebecca L. Walkowitz’s book, Born Translated.  To the Mexican poet, translation is always possible. In this regard, one might recall his comparison between translation and the instrumental solos of an orchestra. Paz describes how solos start playing and, suddenly...

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Fiction

Minerva 2020, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

I always said I’d never go back to Mexico. Having lived the first twenty years of my life enduring the lack of the most basic services such as safe drinking water, regular garbage collection or even the certainty that I’d make it back home after a long day at work should a bus driver, on whim, decide otherwise, my desire to return to my native...

Cat in the window.

I intend this document to serve as corroboration for my prior statements: I would not change a single word. I assume that you will refuse to understand my motivations, but it would be nonetheless courteous of you to accept that I am not a liar. As I have previously explained, Señor and Señora B were my neighbors. Señora B never went to Mass....

person in cartoon wolf mask in blue background

Her real name is Nora (although it was necessary to rename herself Paula for reasons I will address further on) and she lives the better part of the workday inside a character 22 years her senior. Although it could sound compromising, she is considered a man with a woman’s soul because she decided to call herself Paula on the inside, and Mickey on...

Interviews

Ilan Stavans

Translation and movement go together. For example, translators move a text from one language into another. Restless readers move beyond the familiar to other languages and cultures when they read a translation. However, this movement associated with translation shouldn’t shadow the idea that translation is also where one might like to stay....

from United States of Banana: A Graphic Novel by Giannina Braschi and Joakim Lindengren

Frederick Luis Aldama and Tess O’Dwyer co-edited Poets, Philosophers, Lovers: On the Writings of Giannina Braschi (University of Pittsburgh, October 27, 2020), a collection of essays by fifteen scholars across diverse fields, exploring the forty-year career of one the most cutting-edge authors in Latin America today.  In the following...

Ernesto Carrión

La Carnada (Seix Barral, 2020), the ninth novel by Ernesto Carrión (Guayaquil, 1977), was released at the end of last year, during the worsening of the pandemic. It’s a sign: his narrative crosses a series of layers with the word crisis as a nucleus that generates the disintegration of quotidian life before sight and language. What...

Poetry

boats on the shore, Pacasmayo, La Libertad, Perú

One day I placed a rock on top of your name / and I said to myself: I’ll go singing all the way home. / And I sang / like a wild woman on powerful legs / like a wild river I sang.

Autorretrato de Enza García

if you drew a map of my body / you would find traces of the blast / where dinosaurs pass away / where those who did not love me agonize / look at the long line of people / who would not give their lives for you / unlike your mother / who really had no choice but to open wide / and spit you out / onto the soil and its fossils

gray and brown concrete building

To sleep once and for all / I would have to oneirically detach myself / from my dreams.  // Every night I try a retraction on myself / and early in the morning I vanish  / in front of the mirror.

Editor’s Pick

Fruit of the Drunken Tree

Through the evocative counterpoint of Chula and Petrona, the first novel by Colombian writer Ingrid Rojas Contreras explores the ways in which many children experience drug trafficking and inequity. Concurrently, it forges a female alliance by means of questions, longings, and affection. This book, initially published in English in 2018, was...

Longe, aqui

In 2020, when routines were affected by a pandemic that brought not only physical illness, but also widespread psychological impacts, in which mistrust has spread from political landscapes into humanity at large, poetry continues to resist and provide fresh inspiration. With this backdrop, Maria Esther Maciel reminds us of the poetry present in...

The Relentless City / Caracas muerde

Jorge Luis Borges, a reference cited by Héctor Torres in Caracas muerde / The Relentless City (7Vientos, 2021), tended to blur the boundary between reality and fiction. He acclaimed not the reality of fiction but the fiction of reality, as if the world could be better told via the imagination. He insisted on the notion that our temporal...

Indigenous Literature

concrete jetty, Catazajá, Chiapas, Mexico

I must set this story free on the four winds, this artifice that led my life to bloom, for it is my muse and point of origin from which to carry out mortal, diabolical acts. I know not how it happened, but I dare say I acted with delicate anger, and lacking any detail beyond the world’s clarity, I have painted a wonderfully bloodied vision.

Anastasia Candre at the Festival de Poesía de Medellín

In the immensity of the Amazon rainforest, amid the babbling water and the birdsong, there is a river called Igara Paraná, a branch of the Putumayo, which expands into a lake. This place is known as the Chorrera, cradle of knowledge and witness to massacres. This was where, in the early twentieth century, Casa Arana settled in: a rubber producer...

man in black, Isla del Sol, Bolivia

Juvenal walked across the foot of that hill amid the silence. Suddenly he noticed the fresh blood that was falling from his nose like rain. He felt a chill inside him: “Suq!” It seemed his heart was about to burst. Amid the darkness, with what little strength he had left, he went on towards the river. He was thinking that washing himself in the...