PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Next Issue Jen Schmitt on Ekphrasis Rachel Hadas on Text and Pandemic Kirsty Gunn Essaying two Jee Leong Koh Palinodes in the Voice of my Dead Father Maureen Mclane Correspondent Breeze
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This review is taken from PN Review 198, Volume 37 Number 4, February - March 2011.

DOS CASAS Mexican Poetry Today: 20/20 Voices, edited Brandel France de Bravo (Shearsman) £12.95

The poets brought together in this anthology are described as the 'post-Paz' generation. In many ways, they do show Paz's influence, though this is not to say they are derivative. Rather, a fruitful exchange of ideas is at play: these writers variously update, challenge, and confirm Paz's definitions of the nature (and nurture) of the Mexican in The Labyrinth of Solitude (1950). In Paz's formulation, Mexico is an adolescent nation which cannot progress to adulthood, and the primary characteristics of the Mexican (introversion, self-doubt masked by posturing) parallel the national theme.

One of the spurring factors behind Paz's analysis is colonialism. Natalia Toledo, who writes in Zapotec, captures its thefts and disinheritances in 'Xcu badudxaapa' huiini'' ('Child with Roots'):

I have a photo in sepia
with eyes full of water and a flower on her lips
someone entered that photo
and yanked up the flower by the root.

Other poets reflect on orphan-hood: lost parents feature, and, in the poems of Elva Macías, the flotsam of identity is traced:

Of my other lives I remember only
that my plough once struck the ritual stone
that I worshipped, trembling.

And my humble labours were traded
so I became the woman to nurse you.

More proactively (if with less poetic force), Gloria Gervitz writes in 'I Shaharit' of the daily grind of self-invention 'that begins every morning as I ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image