Cázares, Ricardo. [Title is composed of symbols that look like this but are rotated vertically: ><><]. 1st ed., Matadero Editorial, Ciudad de México, 2017.
As may be obvious from its untypeable title, this is not a straightforward poetry book. Cázares’ book-length poem is peppered with inscrutable symbols, illustrations, and photographs, as well as the occasional footnote. When you first reach page 112, a business card with a painting of a bird and Japanese lettering on it falls out, revealing the caption, “Sr. Shiori Uzumaki e hijo, Poetas ” [“Mr. Shiori Uzumaki and son, Poets ”] followed by a string of numbers I haven’t deciphered. I purchased this book at Cázares’ book release in Mexico City in July 2017.
Cerón, Rocío et al. Imperio / Empire . Translated by Tanya Huntington. 1st ed., Motín Poeta, Ciudad de México, 2009.
A beautiful interdisciplinary, collaborative, and bilingual work of poetry, design, music, and video (it comes with a CD) reflecting on war and everyday violence.
Dorantes, Dolores and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez. Intervenir / Intervene . Translated by Jen Hofer, Ugly Duckling Presse, Brooklyn, 2015.
An emotionally charged, experimental book-length work of poetry in bilingual form dealing with the theme of gender violence. Co-written by two poets, one whom currently is receiving asylum in the U.S. after fleeing Ciudad Juárez, the Mexico border city formerly notorious for gender violence.
Eielson, Jorge Eduardo. Antología. 1st ed., Fondo De Cultura Económica, Lima, 1996. By a foundational Peruvian poet and artist best known for his works of art featuring reworkings of Andean quipus (one of which graces the cover of this book).
Fabre, Luis Felipe. Poemas de horror y de misterio. Editorial Almadía S.C., Oaxaca de Juárez, 2013.
This is one of my favorites in the collection both because of its design and its contents. The poems play on scary movie tropes to pose critiques of social issues, like Mexico’s drug war. In addition to other graphics throughout the book, the cover features a pop-out graphic of a woman screaming with the body of an octopus.
Freitas, Angélica. Una mujer limpia. Translated by Paula Abramo, published by the poet, Ciudad de México, 2017. I purchased this small single-poem booklet at the Brazilian poet’s reading in Mexico City. It’s translated from Portuguese into Spanish. The title translates to ‘A Clean Woman,’ and through simple, but insistent poetic language it formulates a smart critique of gender roles.
Garamona, Francisco. Perdido en el nevado. Juan Malasuerte Editores, Ciudad de México, 2017.
Huapaya Cárdenas, Giancarlo. Taller sub verso. 1st ed., Casa Katatay Editores, Lima, 2011.
An experimental work by a Peruvian poet in which each poem is titled with a letter of the alphabet.
Jiménez, Reynaldo, editor. El Libro De Unos Sonidos: 37 Poetas Del Perú . Tsé=Tsé, Argentina, 2005.
An anthology of some of Peru’s best poets.
La Rebelión De La Falla: Antología De Poesía 1995-2016 . Niño Down Editorial, Ciudad de México, 2017.
A collection of poems in handmade format with a strangely childish cover.
Lezama Lima, José. Selections. Edited by Ernesto Livon-Grosman. Translated by Thomas Christensen et al., University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2005.
Mega, Martha. Vergüenza. 1st ed., Mantarraya Ediciones, Ciudad de México, 2017.
In this slim book, Martha Mega mixes pop culture with Greek mythology to create poems for our time.
Melchy, Yaxkin. Poetrylife. Translated by Alice Whitmore, Fuera De Serie, Tijuana, Mexico/Montreal, Quebec, 2015.
Without any context, one might think this chapbook was written by an amateur--the binding is hand-glued, the pages aren’t perfectly copied or cut--but Yaxkin Melchy is in fact a highly regarded young Mexican poet. Melchy himself gifted this chapbook to me when I interviewed him for a creative project. The back page describes this book as "Written in Chilango-Mayan-Peruvian-Chilean Spanish, translated to Australian English, designed in Québec, and published in a U.S.-Mexico border city."
Myers, Robin. Amalgama / Conflations. Translated by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg, 1st ed., Ediciones Antílope, Ciudad de México, 2016.
Robin Myers is originally American but has lived, written, and published poetry in Mexico for the past several years. This book is a bilingual edition.
Otta, Tilsa. Antimateria: Gran Acelerador De Poemas. Juan Malasuerte Editores, Ciudad de México, 2015. This book is one of two I own from Juan Malasuerte Editores (the other is Perdido en el nevado , above), a very small press in Mexico City. The owner of the press owns a small poetry bookstore in the city where I heard Tilsa Otta read from this book. It is hand-printed with the addition of simple illustrations on thick paper made with cotton.
Oquendo de Amat, Carlos. 5 Metros de Poemas . 1st ed., A pasitos del fin de este mundo, Quilmes, 2017. This is the only book of poetry ever published by Peruvian vanguard poet Oquendo de Amat. When first published in 1927, the book unfolded accordion-style to be 5 meters long. Although this edition doesn’t unfold in such a way, its pocket-size format and strange use of fonts makes it of interest as an art object as well as a book.
Oráculo: Revista De Poesía , Issues 12, 13, 14, 16, 21, 27, 28, 29/30, Ciudad de México, 2003-2009.
Eight issues of a Mexican poetry magazine no longer in print. They are beautiful illustrated editions featuring some of Mexico’s best living poets, and are a unique artifact because they were published by the editors and authors themselves rather than a publishing company.
Paz, Octavio. Configurations. Translated by G. Aroul et al., New Directions, New York, 1971.
The most famous and foundational of Mexican writers and one of the greats of Latin American literature. This is a bilingual edition.
Plata, Karen. Retratos de Familia. 1st ed., Fondo Editorial Tierra Adentro, Ciudad de México, 2015.
Polanco, Alejandro Albarrán. Persona Fea y Ridícula. 1st ed., Fondo Editorial, Ciudad de México, 2017.
Rodríguez, Reina María. Variedades de Galiano . Editorial Letras Cubanas, Havana, 2008.
While this text may be considered more narrative than poetry, I include it because Rodríguez is perhaps the best-known Cuban poet who still lives on the island. It’s a meandering text that thinks carefully about daily life and the everyday sights of Havana, containing many lovely photographs of the city. I purchased the book at a used bookstore in Havana.
Vallejo, César. Poemas Humanos. 7th ed., Editorial Losada S.A., Buenos Aires, 2002.
An early 20th century Peruvian poet who transformed Latin American poetry--and all poetry--with his brilliant experimentation.