PEN America Blog
"For Baranda, narration is not of social relations but of the essential. Her cry is resoundingly of sea, sponge, ant, and prayer, as related in rapture. It’s for her epic sweep and verbal fire that I selected her recent long poem for translation."
One of the leading Mexican poets of the generation born in the 1960s and a powerful presence in all of Latin American poetry, Baranda is best known for her sweeping and incisive long poems. In this translation, Hoover deftly captures the drama of her cadences.
What more is there to say about tambourines / that mimic the bells on a leather saddle, strapped / to a horse you rode across the Chinese tundra / or rode over a dune into the sand sea below / the line between noise and music is inside you / like a moving shadow on the face of a clock
"But in this case I was writing about people crossing the border, dying in the desert or living in fear, undocumented in Boyle Heights, and it was inspired by real families and actual events. I worried that this story wasn’t mine to write."
With the deaths of so many black Americans at the hands of both police officers and white vigilantes who have escaped punishment, we are coming to see that two Americas exist.