If somebody wants to get a glimpse of what Mexican writing is now about, buy any book by Mario Bellatin (experimental narrative). He's Peruvian-Mexican and has more than a dozen titles.

One of the latest books by Mario was published by a press called Almadia, located in Oaxaca (along with Chiapas the revo-labs where something is cooking). You can visit Almadia's site: www.almadia.com.mx

* Remember: Mexican lit has no "mainstream" / "alternative" division, so in any editorial catalog you can find "mainstream" stuff in the American sense (lyrical, realist) and experimental ("post-modern").

In this colection, later this year, Almadia will publish in Spanish a translation of Charles Bernstein's now classic essay on Artifice and Absorption. (And also my book Mañana de la cibernmémica ('Morning of Cibermnemics') on Olson imperialistic failure to understand Mexican (imperialistic) ancient poetics and other concepts I'm introducing in the book, like "pantopia" and "co-control".

* If somebody wants to know more about poetics in Spanish buy the recent small volumes by Raúl Zurita (Los poemas muertos) and Un ensayo sobre poesía by Eduardo Milán, published by Acrono-Umbral.

(Remember: Latin American experimental poetics from the seventies is still somewhat romantic (at least in my perspective) but very interesting). These neo-baroque poetics small books can be bought (I hope) directly from the editor: acrono@cablevision.net.mx

And finally, would like to let you know that in the beggining of October there's a Congreso Internacional de Poética taking place in Puebla (close to Mexico City), dedicated this year to ethnopoetics and to the work of Mexican poet José Vicente Anaya, one of the original members of the infrarrealismo movement (from the 70's, a group in which Roberto Bolaño was one of the leaders—though not the only one as he wanted you to believe, ok? In case somebody wants to know more about this Mexican 70's avant-garde read Sontag on Bolaño (David Buuk gave me that English link) but read it knowing this piece by Sontag follows the Bolaño version on "Infra". I published a more critical and (I think) complete story on this movement in a recent issue of a magazine called Alforja.

José Vicente Anaya was one of the first translators of New American American poetry (disliked by Octavio Paz group—still in 'power' in Mexico City).

Anyway, I would like to go on, but can't for now. Saludos from the Mexican border.


David-Baptiste Chirot said...


Thank you very much for all the information of the essays and events, books and contacts. It is very much appreciated.
Burroughs wrote a good deal of the Mayan sytem of writing, the Mayan calendar, as a system of Control--(he saw similar set-ups in Time-Life for example, and all language as control, worked to find ways for the writer to create a "break through in the grey room"--the control/editing room of language/image set-up)--
In the last year or two there seems a sudden interest on the part of Marjorie Perloff, Charles Bernstein and a few other Language Poetry associated academic writers in the writing of Latin America, esp. Mexico. How is this in any way different from previous imperialistic projects of US American "interest" in and appropriation of Mexican and Latin American writers and texts? (And very predictable the first person to attack is the immediate predeccessor,and favorite White Whale, Olson--) Why the focus on the period of the 1970's? I can easily imagine many reasons, to be sure--I just wondered specifically in this case--
Many poets and artists I am in touch with in Latin America have absolutely no interest in anything to do with the USA--the excitement and energy is to forge a present and future which is a Latin American world free of this immense oppressive imperialism throughout all structures and spheres of existence including the cultural.
A funny connection with Bolano--Javier Alvarez who worked with Kent Johnson on the Yasuda texts--knew Bolano in Mexico City.
A book I cannot recommend highly enough is the late Philadelpho Menezes' Poetics and Visuality A Trajectory of Contemporary Brazilian Poetry (San Diego Sate U Press 1994, tranlsated Harry Polkinhorn)--Menezes' brilliant work was cut short by his early death in a car accident.
On first reading Distant Star and By Night in Chile--i think two of the greatest works ever on the interelationships among poetry and Fascism, poetry and complicity, poetry and institutions, poetry and disappearnces of all sorts (sky writing, atrocity fotos, the vanishing of Weider through various identites, plagiarisms--obscure publications--etc--the disappeareds--)--they made me think also very much of the situation of poetry in my home (usa) country and times.
This is why I have a skepticism that a current poetics "invasion" from the North, while critical of Olson's imperialism--and that of the Maya--is not in itself any less imperialistic in its designs--
Ethno poetics also has had many conflicting issues associated with imperialism, colonialism, genocide--i remember being at AIM meetings in the early 70's when Rothenberg's Shaking the Pumpkin anthology came out--and the rage and hatred Indians had for this book, a "rip off"--once again by a white person--who brings attention to themselves as the great white saviour of a culture etc--
Only time will tell how everything works out!
Thanking you again so very much for all the links and recommended texts--
libertad en arte y escritura

H.Y. said...

David, thanks for your comment. Yeah, I know Menezes' book, great source. What I think is different now is that there's a more (at least from my part) critical way of understanding American poetry. I don't share the attitude of the majority of my fellow Latin American writers. I would die of boredom if I wouldn't read other literatures. If I were an American, I would also read lots of Latin American stuff, by the way. Poetry is imperialistic, writing in general is imperialistic. Bolaño really imperialistic. A good writer also. I think people like you and me, very interested in imperialism, are so because we are deeply imperialistic and are on denial of it, although closer (hopefully) of becoming aware of the fact that what we attack outside in the projection of our own obsession with authoritarism, though we mainly see it in others. Living in the border, by the way, makes it impossible for me not to engage in American writing. And also make it impossible not to engage in Mexican writing either. Que la lucha siga, h.