Monday, November 22, 2021

_Labios de piedra, Lips of Stone_ poemario por Xánath Caraza


_Labios de piedra, Lips of Stone_ poemario por Xánath Caraza


Labios de piedra, Lips of Stone verá la luz próximamente y será publicado por The Raving Press. Este poemario bilingüe fue traducido por la Doctora Sandra Kingery y está prologado por el Dr. Alain Lawo-Sukam.  En marzo de este año publiqué en la Bloga algunos poemas que nuestros lectores pueden ver aquí y son parte de este poemario dedicado a la cultura olmeca.  Para hacer un pedido por adelantado pueden visitar la casa editorial que lo publica. ¡Que la poesía nos salve!


In Lips of Stone, Xánath Caraza gives voice to the otherwise “silent sagacity” (“silenciosa sagacidad”) of ancient Mexican civilizations. In this highly visual collection, Caraza draws inspiration from the famous Olmec stone sculptures and the surrounding natural environment. The poet sits on damp earth with the sculptures, reads to them, speaks with them. One of the stone heads invites “a conversation about history” and another functions as an “ancestral mirror.” Readers will simultaneously feel as if they are standing before a ruin and in conversation with a living being. These sculptures may have lips made of stone, but through Caraza they continue to speak to us.


—Victoria Livingstone, PhD

     Translator of Pablo Garcia’s Song from the Underworld


To read Xanath Caraza’s latest poetic collection entitled Labios de Piedra (Lips of Stone), is to go on a guided archeological expedition through the jungles of the Olmec “city of stone”. In Caraza’s treatment of the “mother culture”, we find an Olmec civilization that is not just the first, or the oldest, but still perhaps the most potent and alive; the one that will outlast all civilizations and render humanity merely a passing fad as its ceiba trees and jaguar gods continue to infuse the Olmec world with its silent power and omnipresence. Accompanied by Sandra Kingery’s English translations, most poems act as crucial pieces of mortar holding up the oldest Olmec structures of memories lost in the void of forgotten human history, but with the capacity to whisper to us of its existence once upon a time and always. Some of those poetic pieces of mortar artifacts manage to transcend a modest functionality in the construction to form decorations that project themselves like three-dimensional alto-reliefs depicting Olmec gods and sacred creatures. Poems like “Of Wind and Stone,” and “Olmec Pyramid” establish the tone of the language in this collection which harkens back to an ancient past. But as a counterweight which provides balance, (a common theme in all things Mesoamerican), “Green Maize,” and “Bloody Twilight” serve to orient the reader to the fact that the Olmec world still pulsates with life evidenced by how both end with similar phrasing: “…mother earth gives birth to another cycle,” (Green Maize), and “…Wake, jaguar gods, now is the time of bloody twilight,” (Bloody Twilight). Caraza manages to do what few if any archeologists do when exploring ancient sites: she pierces the veil which stands between the past and present to offers us a full-textured taste of Olmec civilization and legacy.


—Gabriel Hugo, author of Tenochtitlan Must Fall


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