Poetry. Latinx Studies. Second Edition. In 2010 Hugo García Manríquez set out to work through the North American Free Trade Agreement in Spanish and English. The result is a bilingual artifact that interrupts and re-politicizes NAFTA's neoliberal language, becoming a space of transnational encounter that strangely falls on the same continuum as the work of 19th-century naturalist Alexander von Humboldt—a continuum upon which the institutions of Law and Science dream of stabilizing the flux of contingency into the language of the market. No longer univocal in meaning, the remains in ANTI-HUMBOLDT resist being situated, makes evident the madness of language and rationality words that—to echo George Oppen—"have run mad / In the subways / And of course the institutions / And the banks."
"Unveiling as he erases, García Manríquez teaches us to find the political in the poetic and the poetic in the political as he carefully reads and shrewdly re-writes one of the most influential documents in the modern life of Mexico and North America altogether: the NAFTA agreement of 1994. A dexterous excavator, García Manríquez produces pauses and hollows, openings and miscreations, in an otherwise finished version of contemporary neoliberalism. His ANTI-HUMBOLDT interrupts the flow of pre-established practices and discourses of politics, turning my reading and your reading into a veritable collaboration with the political. These are our eyes, discerning the passing of time between black and gray inks; and these are our fingers, pointing at real lives and real deaths—half-emerging and half-concealed—in between lines. Only rarely has Mexican poetry enticed the present in with such critical insistence. Only rarely has post-conceptual poetry mattered this much."—Cristina Rivera Garza.
"With ANTI-HUMBOLDT, García Manríquez opens a path towards a cruel ecopoetics, a bilingual experimentalism and a new prosody. There's something merciless in this work: it instantly makes nearly all of Mexican poetry anachronistic."—Heriberto Yépez
"...[T]wenty years after the NAFTA document took effect, Hugo García Manríquez translates, re-creates, and, as I am thinking of it, miscreates the NAFTA agreement through an entwined activity of reading as inscribing...Hugo's miscreation is a tale of our wickedness—our knot of complicity, passivity, and outrage as both the benefactors and casualties of the document's stipulations."—Divya Victor
Divya Victor @ HARRIET a poetry blogJen Hofer @ Jacket 2teaching guideMarco Antonio Huerta @ Jacket2Heriberto Yepez @ VenepoeticsJay Besemer @ Galatea ResurrectsInterview with David Buuck @ TripwireJavier Taboada @ Tierra Adentro
Born in Mexico in 1978, Hugo García Manríquez is a poet and translator. His most recent full-length collections are ANTI-HUMBOLDT: A READING OF THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (2015), and Lo común (2018). He has translated William Carlos Williams' Paterson (2009); George Oppen's Of Being Numerous (2019); a collection of essays and poems by Sean Bonney, El lenguaje de las barricadas (2021); After Lorca y otros poemas, an anthology of Jack Spicer's work (2022), among others. He lives in Oakland, California.