An illustrated, trilingual collection of contemporary Zapotec poetry.
“Irma Pineda’s poems and Wendy Call’s translations evoke tragedy, and celebrate the ways in which the human is built from dream, tradition, and nature. Self-translated as ‘mirror-poems’ by Pineda, from Isthmus Zapotec into Spanish, and then translated into English through a complex process that is fascinatingly articulated by Call, the trilingual poems in this collection show us how translation serves as a means for cultural preservation and political resistance to the forces that seek to criminalize languages or dangerously render them extinct. In these poems, rivers have disappeared into deserts, the dead are honored and celebrated, language transforms pain into meaning, memory, and light.” —Daniel Borzutzky, winner of the National Book Award for Poetry (USA)
Poetry. Latinx Studies. Native American Studies.
“To publish poetry written in endangered Indigenous languages not only preserves the language but also a way of knowing” —Susan Smith Nash
“Pineda cultivates vivid, provocative symbolic systems that often draw from Zapotec culture but never settle for simply re-presenting the given meaning of an image…Pineda’s writing reminds us of our interconnectivity and interdependence, and the need for us to care for each other and all the beings with whom we share this world. We are all part of an ecosystem, after all; and an ecosystem suffers if even one of its members is lost.” —Gillian Esquivia-Cohen
Gillian Esquivia-Cohen @ Terrain.orgExcerpt from In the Belly of Night @ Latin American Literature TodayExcerpts from In the Belly of Night @ About Place JournalSusan Smith Nash @ World Literature Today
Irma Pineda (Binnizá, Juchitán, Oaxaca) is a poet, translator, educator, and Indigenous rights activist. She is the author of twelve books of bilingual (Spanish- Isthmus Zapotec) poetry. A faculty member at the National Teachers' University, she was Vice-President of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues from 2020 through 2022. English-language collections of her poetry, translated by Wendy Call, are co-published by Pluralia / Eulalia and forthcoming from Deep Vellum. She lives in her hometown of Juchitán, Oaxaca.
Wendy Call (she/ella) has translated Nostalgia Doesn't Flow Away Like Riverwater (Phoneme Media, 2024) by Irma Pineda. She is author of No Word for Welcome (University of Nebraska Press, 2011) and co-editor of the anthologies Telling True Stories (Plume, 2007) and Best Literary Translations (Deep Vellum, 2024). A 2015 NEA Fellow and 2018-2019 Fulbright scholar in Colombia, she lives in Seattle and Oaxaca.