Poet, and writer, Xánath Caraza, who is also one of our La Bloga contributors, has a new book of bilingual poetry entitled, _Donde la luz es violeta / Where the Light is Violet_. I was able to catch up with Xánath to ask her a few questions about her new publication.
Amelia Montes: Thank you so much, Xánath, for taking the time to talk about your new book of poetry. How did this new collection come about? What are you doing differently from past publications?
Xánath Caraza: _Donde la luz es violeta / Where the Light is Violet_ is about my journey to Italy during the summer of 2015. I was there for two months, and was invited to several poetry festivals in different regions of the country.
Italy is a country rich in culture, music, art, and it certainly enriched me, as I revisited Roman and Greek mythology a great deal. I was also fortunate to read contemporary Italian poets.
My time in Italy was for writing and I wrote every day. _Donde la luz es violeta / Where the Light is Violet_ asked me to be written. I just listened to the liquid rhythms of the water that surrounds Venice. Donde la luz es violeta / Where the Light is Violet is full of and overflowing with water and light.
I wrote ninety-five poems in all, and the last poem was written on the plane back home. I hope people enjoy reading _Donde la luz es violeta / Where the Light is Violet_ as much as I did writing it.
Xánath Caraza: I will let Tino Villanueva, Minerva Margarita Villareal, Anna Lombardo, and Beppe Costa answer this question for me:
Tino Villanueva, (1994 American Book Award Recipient): Part diary, part poeticized travel journal, Caraza's Where the Light is Violet, is nothing if not a paean to Venice, Murano Island, and likewise to Rome, Pompeii, Florence, et al. The poet is ever swept away by all complexities of natural splendor (waterways, flora and fauna), under a colorful vaulting sky, an exuberance conveyed in sensual verse, and chromatic flourishes, Greco-Roman mythology serving, at times, as backdrop. As flâneur, she takes herself to bridges, churches, museums, (inspiring ekphrastic poems). These poems are driven by all the senses, including synesthetic combines.
Minerva Margarita Villarreal, (Premio Nacional Bellas Artes de Poesía Aguascalientes, 2016): The water as mother is adept at creating an emergent and radiating enchantment which encompasses the transition of all things. She is tender, furious, lubricating, and fiery, desirous and thanatic, feverish and defenseless. This is what intersects this book. It is as if Xánath Caraza had allowed an ocean current to permeate her, which was adept at not only possessing her and to project her voice, but also allowing this current to transform itself into ink. At an unbridled speed, the transformed ink becomes another body, the body of the word and of unease, crystal and stone. It becomes a murmur of the classics whose creative strength the author celebrates. A journey through Italy, a sojourn in Murano, Venice and Salerno have made possible the exoticism of mystical beings. These beings are gods and sirens, nereids and Cyclopes, which cross the borders of time. They give life to nourish these pages. Revisited, these figures include a good part of the history of occidental lyrical poetry.
Anna Lombardo, (Director of The International Poetry Festival, Venice): Donde la luz es violeta / Where the Light is Violet, the title of Xánath's new poetry collection declares a quality of light that has infused an experience. It is the color we might perceive in a 'scarlet sunrise' that 'incinerates the past' or that marks the last diffuse light of a sunset. The same colour that Virgil, in the Aeneid, saw in the water of the Mediterranean Sea. The light at the beginning and end of the day converge to unveil a different chord in Xanath's poetic voice, a new, more personal way to look at the world through some of the places she visited during a journey in Italy.
Beppe Costa, (poet, novelist, and publisher of Pellicanolibri):
Like Goethe, Pioven, Lawrence, Xánath renews a tradition, which may be disappearing over time, of two languages that have come into contact: Italian and Spanish; both, rich in colors, of intense, white, dazzling lights. She uses those languages to compare places that may be similar to her land of origin. In this way, the trip in Italy becomes a journey through time, though history, literature, art, with the influence and love of civic responsibility that began in Veracruz and has never stopped, since she now teaches and lives in the state of Missouri.
Amelia Montes: Thank you for these superb descriptions of your book, Xánath. In the writing of these poems, what did you find easy and also what was difficult?
Xánath Caraza: There is nothing easy about writing a book. However, it is always enjoyable and fills me with a great deal of satisfaction. As I mentioned previously, Donde la luz es violeta / Where the Light is Violet asked me to be written, I just listened to the liquid rhythms of the water that surrounds Venice. I wrote every day; sometimes I forced myself to sit down and write and by the end of the day I was happy to see one more poem coming to life.
Amelia Montes: So much is happening right now, politically, in our country and poets/writers are speaking out. What advice do you have as we move forward with this new administration?
Xánath Caraza: For me, it is essential that people organize, as has been happening. In addition, to come to know who else is around the corner who might really support us is vital. At the same time, it is also important to focus on ourselves, to remember how Latin@s/Chican@s have contributed to building this country. That alone should make us feel proud and strong. It is important that we remember that many times our backgrounds are part of ancestral cultures both in Latin America and the U.S. That should make us feel proud and strong, too. I also think that we are in a different time. I hope that we have learnt from history and the atrocities human kind has done in the past, and that should give us an idea of how to deal with injustice and not allow more injustice to be done. I, as many more, am learning as we move into these obscure times. However, there are things that I have always done and will continue doing, such as supporting our community with interviews, reviews, and featuring specific individuals to showcase what wonderful work Latin@s/Chican@s are doing in this country. For example, here at La Bloga and in addition, my column on U.S. Latino Poets en español, which I began doing four years ago, featuring, translating, and commenting on forty different poets up to now. I have supported our community members with my writing for quite a while and will absolutely continue doing so.
Amelia Montes: Is there anything else you would like to share with our La Bloga readers?
Xánath Caraza: Antes que nada, gracias Amelia for this interview. In case you are around, be sure to join me for the Book release of Donde la luz es violeta / Where the Light is Violet on Tuesday, January 10th at 6p.m., at Rayuela Bookstore, and on Wednesday, January 11th at 7p.m. at La Casa del Lago, both in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. These events are organized by Xóchitl Salinas Martínez and Los Doce Cultura Filial Veracruz. Also on Saturday, January 14th at 10a.m. at the Dialogue Institute in Kansas City, Kansas. I will be presenting and reading poetry from Donde la luz es violeta / Where the Light is Violet.
Donde la luz es violeta / Where the Light is Violet
Bilingual Poetry/Poesía Bilingüe
By Xánath Caraza
Translated by Sandra Kingery