The writers assembled in this publication all come from different places, each one contributing from the perspective of their own experiences, histories, genders, and ethnicities. As readers who also hail from different places, we can appreciate this poetic gathering by reading these poems out loud, moving through these different dreams, bodies, languages, histories, and perspectives. Above all else, their voices become part of our own memories. Ashanti Dinah, Zhüren, and Xun all challenge us to participate in their lives, where they live, and to recognize the importance of what they see and feel, and how it may be different from what we see and feel. When you read these poems you will find open windows and doors that will allow you to experience Colombia, Costa Rica, and Chiapas, perhaps in ways you’ve never imagined as each verse takes you by the hand and leads you to experience life outside of the spaces you are used to. Places can be geographically distant, but there are ways that we can come together without taking out a map, traveling, or speaking a different language. As we’ve seen many times before, poetry can erase borders, even more so when it speaks in different tongues.
Translated by Paul M. Worley
Dr. Jorge Alberto Tapia Ortiz obtained his PhD in Latin American Literature from the University of Pittsburgh (2016). He is an academic and researcher specializing in contemporary indigenous literatures. He has published the following books: Hasta que muera el sol: Antología de escritoras y escritores indígenas bröran-térraba (2014), Educación comunidad y literatura: Condiciones para la emergencia de una literatura indígena contemporánea (caso bröran-térraba en Costa Rica (2019). He teaches literary workshops in Amerindian communities to promote the emergence of new writers, as well as the empowerment and recognition of ancestral epistemologies.
He has just finished his second postdoctoral year (August 2019) in the Masters of Amerindian Studies and Bilingual Education, Faculty of Philosophy, at the Autonomous University of Querétaro, where he also serves as professor and coordinator of the program. He is a member of the National System of Researchers of Mexico (SNI level I).
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 fourteenth issue of Latin American Literature Today features dossiers dedicated to the dislocated writing of Latin American authors based in the United States and the gothic fiction of Mariana Enriquez, plus reflections on writing in a second language by Fabio Morábito, an interview with 2019 Alfaguara Prize winner Patricio Pron, and exclusive translation previews from Guadalupe Nettel, Gabriela Wiener, and Luis Alejandro Ordóñez.