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Poetry. Latinx Studies. Women's Studies. Translated by Olivia Lott. Lucía Estrada's KATABASIS, winner of the 2017 Bogotá Poetry Prize, is the first full collection of poetry by a Colombian woman to be translated into English. It takes its title from the Greek word for descent, referring to both classical knowledge quests into the underworld by epic heroes and, more broadly, to any journey into madness, darkness, the unknown. A three-part plunge into the darkness of the world, and of the mind, Estrada's prose poems depict the night, the subconscious, and the surreal. Olivia Lott's seminal translation tracks the mercurial tempos and intertextualities of the poems, as it captures the double valence of political dissent and katabatic descent. This book reminds us that darkness is a space of enlightenment.
"KATABASIS'S descent into dissent gives us 'a reason to move through the world:' Dissent from imperialist and neo-colonialist notions of Colombia and its literature, dissent from the Latin American poetry in translation canon, dissent from the translator's invisibility. This impressive book of firsts is exactly the kind of translation work I'm most interested in. It is poetry after my own heart."—Katherine M. Hedeen
"Lucía Estrada numbers among a group of celebrated Latin American women poets who unrelentingly explore the darkest crannies of the imagination and the intellect, including Marosa Di Girogio, Reina María Rodríguez, and Blanca Varela. These probingly psychological yet profoundly lyrical poems recall the writing of Gabriela Mistral, Olga Orozco, Alejandra Pizarnik. Estrada's poetry, which emerges from Colombia's decades-long armed conflict, is shadowy, subaquatic, yet razor-sharp. Olivia Lott's impressive, sophisticated translations are an event unto themselves for their lyrical luminosity and their memorable musicality: 'Silence that trails the crash, war cry, tempest; it mixes up with mine, white, shaky. But who says I take place in the world?' Wake up, readers, Estrada has arrived on this shore! 'Listen, something in this scream is for you.'"—Rachel Galvin
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Olivia Lott is a translator and scholar of Latin American poetry. Her translations and writing on translation have most recently appeared in The Arkansas International, Brooklyn Rail In Translation, Burning House, Kenyon Review, MAKE Magazine, Reading In Translation, Waxwing, and World Literature Today. She is the translator of Lucía Estrada's KATABASIS (Eulalia, 2020), and co-translator of Soleida Ríos's THE DIRTY TEXT (Kenning Editions, 2018) and the curator of the monthly feature Poesía en acción on the Action Books blog. Lott is ABD in Hispanic Studies and an Olin Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is writing a dissertation on 1960s neo-avant-garde poetics in Latin America.Author City: USA
Lucía Estrada (Medellín, Colombia) is the author of ten books of poetry including the award-winning collections Las Hijas del Espino (2006) and La noche en el espejo (2010). She is the two- time recipient of the Bogotá Poetry Prize, most recently in 2017 for Katábasis, which was also named a finalist for the 2019 Colombian National Poetry Prize. Estrada has been invited to participate in many international literary events and, for several years, she helped to organize the groundbreaking Medellín International Poetry Festival. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies in and beyond Latin America and has been partially translated into English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Swedish. Estrada is currently the Cultural Coordinator at the Corporación Otraparte in Medellín.Author City: MEDELLIN COL