Jeannette L. Clariond’s GODDESSES OF WATER draws upon Mesoamerican cosmogony to lament the present-day epidemic of femicides in Mexico.
Translated by Samantha Schnee.
Mexican poet Jeannette L. Clariond’s sixth book in English translation reconstructs the myth of the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui, employing the lyricism of Nahuatl philosophy and investigating gender construction and fluidity in Aztec mythology. Printed in a bilingual edition, the cycle of poems is accompanied by a glossary of the Nahuatl words and Aztec concepts critical to its comprehension. In Samantha Schnee’s keen and urgent translation, this collection of poems presents a surprising window on an invisible war waged against thousands of Mexican women. Clariond astounds us with her ability to painstakingly analyze a phenomenon that has drawn attention around the globe.
"GODDESSES OF WATER is at once profoundly dark and dazzling, both blinding and fearsome, with a radical beauty that is cruel and inexorable, perhaps because, in a world like ours, beauty can be nothing but cruel, cruel and necessarily sad, just like the gods and goddesses, just like Coyolxauhqui herself." —Raúl Zurita
“Jeannette L. Clariond’s poetry reminds us that imagination observes reality and that reality itself is sleeping, and only poetry is capable of awakening it.” —Adonis
“Jeannette L. Clariond and her lucid translator into English, Samantha Schnee, allow us a glimpse into how this land and its ways might encounter the terror, the abjection, and the disgust of the realities of femicide. This terror is so deep and disturbing that only a weaving of vital archaic threads quivering through reflection in presentness can get us to a place from which we can begin to address its brutal reality and the bitterly unjust end of so many. Mircea Eliade says that ‘life cannot be repaired, it can only be recreated.’ So, GODDESSES OF WATER is an origin mode for a cosmic indigeneity to the whole of the earth needed so urgently now. Through it another layer of reality is revealed for Abya Yala, as it once again is shown to be necessary and different from the meaningless violence and endless disaster of the binary conflict mind.” — Roberto Harrison
“It has been a long time since I have read poetry so clear and diamantine.” —Gonzalo Rojas
“Clariond’s work had impressed me deeply for her educated poetry, rich in literary, artistic, philosophical, and above all, spiritual references.” —Alessio Brandolini
Poetry. Latinx Studies. Women’s Studies. Translation.
Jeannette L. Clariond (Chihuahua, Mexico, 1949) grew up between languages, which influenced how she looks at the world, her vision of reality and her poetics. A prolific poet and translator, she has won numerous awards and prizes for her poetry collections, including the Premio Nacional de Poesía Efraín Huerta for the collection Deserted Memory; the Premio Nacional de Poesía Gonzalo Rojas for Everything Before Nightfall; her book Woman Turning Her Back was a finalist for the Premio Nacional de Poesía Ramón López Velarde; and Image of Silence was a finalist for the Premio Cope in Peru. In addition to her poetry, Ms. Clariond has translated more than twenty books of poetry by American and European authors, including Charles Wright, Primo Levi, Elizabeth Bishop and Anne Carson. Over the last twenty five years she has translated ten books by the Italian poet Alda Merini. In 2002 Ms. Clariond received a Conaculta Rockefeller Foundation grant for her translation of Charles Wright's Black Zodiac, and from 2000 to 2006 she worked with the acclaimed critic, Harold Bloom, at Yale University. During this time, she translated important poetic works from the United States and co-edited and subsequently published the anthology, The School of Wallace Stevens: A Profile of Contemporary North American Poetry; the book was awarded the Latino Book Award's Best Translation Prize in 2013. Ms. Clariond is a collaborating member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, which has branches in Washington and New York. She is currently translating Anne Carson's book Nox into Spanish.Author City: CHIHUAHUA MEX
Samantha Schnee is the founding editor of Words Without Borders. Her translation of Carmen Boullosa's El libro de Eva, a finalist for the Mario Vargas Llosa Biennial Novel Prize, will be published by Deep Vellum in 2023.