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Indigenous Poetics from Abya Yala

Irma Pineda, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional; Mikeas Sanchez, poet; Wendy Call, nonfiction writer

Tue, 4/16 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · Virtual via Zoom

Department of Comparative Literature; Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative at Princeton; Land, Language, and Art, a Global Initiative From the Humanities Council; Program in Latin American Studies
Photo collage of Mikaes Sanchez, Irma Pineda and Wendy Call

Multilingual book presentation with live interpreters in Spanish and English

Zoom link.

Our invited guests will share readings from two recently released trilingual poetry books, How to Be a Good Savage and Other Poems by Mikeas Sánchez (Zoque) and Nostalgia Doesn’t Flow Away Like River Water by Irma Pineda (Binnizá), both translated to English by Wendy Call, followed by a Q&A session. The conversation will open a space to discuss bilingual writing and translation for marginalized languages, issues of Indigenous language endangerment and revitalization, and the place of poetry and art in facing issues such as extraction and the defense of territory on Indigenous lands.

Irma Pineda
Irma Pineda is an Isthmus Zapotec poet and writer. She works as a professor at Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, is a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and writes a column, “The Flower of the Word,” for La Jornada Semanal. She has written various essays about indigenous languages, literature, and education. Pineda’s most recent collections of poetry are Naxiña’ Rului’ladxe’-Rojo Deseo (Pluralia, 2018 y 2021), Chupa Ladxidua’- Dos es mi Corazón (Secretaría de Cultura, 2018) and Nasiá Racaladxe’- Azul Anhelo (UDLAP, 2020). Pineda’s poetry has been translated to English, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, German, and other languages, and appears in a diversity of magazines and anthologies in American and Europe. In February 2022, a group of poems from didazá (translated to English by Wendy Call) were published in Poetry Magazine. She has served as the President of Writer in Indigenous Languages and has received grants from FONCA and Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte de México

Mikeas Sánchez
Mikeas Sánchez is the author of How to Be a Good Savage and Other Poems. She is one of the most important poets of the Indigenous Americas, working in Zoque, a language spoken in southern Mexico. She is the only woman to have ever published a book of poetry in that language. Her six volumes of poetry — including Mokaya / Mojk’Jäyä and Mumure’ tä’ yäjktambä / Todos somos cimarrones — are all bilingual Spanish-Zoque. Sánchez’s work has been translated into Bangla, Catalan, English, German, Italian, Maya, Mixe, and Portuguese. In Chiapas, Mexico, she was awarded first place in the “Y el Bolóm dice …” Prize for Fiction as well as the Pat O’tan Prize for Indigenous Poetry. Sánchez is also a radio producer, translator, community health promoter, and defender of Zoque lands. She lives in Ajway, Chiapas.

Wendy Call
Wendy Call is author of the award-winning nonfiction book No Word for Welcome. She is co-editor of the craft anthology Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide and the new, annual Best Literary Translations anthology. She has translated three collections of poetry by Indigenous Mexican poets. She was a Winter 2023 fellow at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and Fall 2023 Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell College and Translator in Residence at the University of Iowa. Working as an editor and educator, Wendy lives in Seattle, on Duwamish land, and in Oaxaca, on Mixtec and Zapotec land.

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