Xánath Caraza’s “Corta la piel/It Pierces the Skin” is a remarkable collection of prose poems in which we see the conjuring poet fearless enough to take us through personal, political and geographical terrains. The poems are muscular meditations on rage, powerlessness, love, and ultimately the sanctity/sanity of poetry. The title fits into the visceral world filled with the
paradoxes of beauty and violence that Caraza is famous for: the fierce loneliness of the New York city trains over the Hudson, Violeta (the Salvadoran speaker, the figure who is observed, the writer who is writing the poem) discerns the full moon as “Icy, splendid, silvery white.” In one of her most poignant political poems, we encounter the disappeared forty-third student from Ayotzinapa who sees “The stars in the heavens were shining like never before” while his mouth is “buzzing with flies.” Another poem, “Our Sons and Daughters,” captures the heartbreaking evil of separating children from their parents at the border. Water becomes an ever increasing trope throughout as we move from New York to Lisbon to Athens, an element essential for survival as poetry itself, the poet’s “liquid words” joining the river of memory. They “flow on placid waters. They sway back and forth in her mouth.” Xánath Caraza is one of the most courageous Latina poets writing today. The “silent voice of dawn gallops” towards something framed in hope, and Caraza’s poems leave you light headed, sorrowful, yet empowered.
—Helena Maria Viramontes
This is a book of beautiful, poetic images of loneliness, grief and emptiness. The persona of Violeta tells of a violent childhood of abandonment and impossible love via her travels in New York, Portugal, and Greece. For Violeta, only ink remains; only ink is indelible. Translator Sandra Kingery and her team of students have produced smooth, faithful translations that carry all of the sorrow of Caraza’s originals.
poet / translator
Piedra poemas / Stone Poems