Poetry of the Earth: Mapuche Trilingual Anthology

A new trilingual book brings together some of the most important and exciting Mapuche poets from Chile.

Poetry of the Earth: Mapuche Trilingual Anthology is a remarkable collection of poetry in Mapudugun, Spanish and English that explores Mapuche culture and literature and negotiates its space in the national Chilean and global context.


A new trilingual book brings together some of the most important and exciting Mapuche poets from Chile.

Poetry of the Earth: Mapuche Trilingual Anthology is a remarkable collection of poetry in Mapudugun, Spanish and English that explores Mapuche culture and literature and negotiates its space in the national Chilean and global context.

The Mapuche are the Indigenous people of Chile, and today the traditional Mapuche language, Mapudugun (the language of the Earth), and culture have survived more than 500 years of colonisation.

While Mapuche poetry has been at the forefront of a cultural renaissance in Chilean literature in recent decades, it has not been widely translated into English.

Poetry of the Earth presents a significant offering of Mapuche poetry, where the powers of the landscape and the word are deeply rooted in mythical beings and current political conflicts.

Works from seven Mapuche poets have been compiled by editor Jaime Luis Huenún. The poetry was orginially written in Spanish and has been translated into Mapudungun by Victor Cifuentes Palacios. Steve Brock, Juan Garrido Salgado and Sergio Holas have translated the poetry from Spanish into English. Publishing each poem in all three languages is a testament to the complex identity of the Mapuche society and history.

Dealing with colonial themes, Poetry of the Earth will resonate with Indigenous peoples and their struggles around the world. The poets also present questions about far-reaching, human themes – injustice, life, death, ecology, love, struggle and reconciliation – and reflect the challenges faced by colonised Indigenous peoples.

The poetry asserts the pertinence of the knowledge and ways of life of Mapuche elders, and their place in the conversation with a nature that is alive and speaks through the stories they tell.

Fitting within the contemporary Latin American literature scene, this important anthology combines languages, cultures, and literary forms into a remarkable ensemble, promising to give Mapuche poetry greater visibility in the English- and Spanish-speaking world.

Jaime Luis Huenún Villa

Jaime Luis Huenún Villa was born in Valdivia, Región de los Ríos, and is a Mapuche-Huilliche poet and writer. Jaime has been extensively published, and his poetry has been translated into English, German, French, Dutch, Italian and Catalan. In 2013 he published the poetry books Porto Trakl (In forma di parole) and Ko fenton poll, map fentén poll / Espíritus del aqua y de la tierra: Teatro mapuche para niño (Mineduc). He won the inaugural Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize (Pablo Neruda Poetry Foundation) in 2003, a Guggenheim Scholarship (New York) in 2005, and Best Poetry Book Published in Chile for his book Reducciones (National Council of the Book and Reading) in 2013. Jaime teaches at the Universidad Diego Portales de Santiago and directs Ediciones Konünwenu, an Indigenous publishing house in Chile.



Mufüngechi rikewfuy lan
Kürüf mew fey may kizu ñi changül kuwü mu wirikay
Kiñe ange iñche ñi ange ürkenonga.
Akun kintugafiel chi chülkü
Lapakonkülelu latuwe ñi tapül mew.
Feymu pizümkawi kom fichi trokiñ che.
Ella ayekafuyngün, welu müli nga yewün
Ütrünarkünerpulu ñi pu kalul engün. Fey kake impolngeyngün nga
Ñi pontro mew.
Iñche kay we rakinen mari kechu tripantü
Pefilu nga mongen iñche lemawün kiñe trewa reke
Ütrüftükungelu trufken mew.
Femlu fey eypifin may nga ñi peñi:
Pengelelayu chemngen ta llükan kiñe
Runa trufür mew.
Lan ta kiñe weza züngu ka müten, kake züngu türpu


Varias veces la muerte intentó cuajarse
en el aire y con su dedo dibujó el perfil
de un rostro que no era el mío.
Llegó buscando la señal
tatuada en las hojas del latúe.
Ahí se desarmó toda esa familia.
Trataron de sonreír, pero algo en sus cuerpos
se desprendía. Y luego los envolvieron
a cada uno en sus frazadas.
Y yo sólo contaba quince años
cuando vi a la vida huir como un perro
arrojado a las cenizas.
Entonces le dije a mi hermano:
Te mostraré lo que es el miedo en un
puñado de polvo.
Permanece tranquilo.
La muerte es un accidente, lo demás no tiene


Many times death tried to set
in the air and with a finger drew the profile
of a face that was not mine.
It came looking for the sign
tattooed on the leaves of the latúe.
There it undid that entire family.
They tried to smile, but something in their bodies
became detached. And afterwards they wrapped
each one of them in their blankets.
And I was only fifteen
when I saw life run like a dog
thrown on the ashes.
So I told my brother:
I will show you fear
in a handful of dust.
Stay calm.
Death is an accident, nothing else matters.



Li Po ta epe püñeñnengelu
Ñi ñuke pewmarki ñi anünarpan Venus mapu ñi mollo mew
Feymu lle Li Po üytuntukufi,
Llüfezüfe pilerkey fachi üy tati.
Üyechi mapu chew müñawkefumum chi ülzüngufe,
Wingkulkawküli ka mawüzantükawküli
Pepi konün-ngenolu
Tüfaw Pangimapu reke chew rumel
Wüñokel ta che fichi kamapu ngewüyetuchi peñi reke
Yepapetulu tami inangüman pünon tati.
Kizulelu kay eymi mangelfimi
Tami llawfeñ engü küyen pütual
Üyechi inangüman kolka.
Welu küyen kimlafi pülku, tami llawfeñ kay
Re inayentumekeymu müten.
Pu zumiñ re kiñe tritrang nge müten küze reke peyefali.
Kiñe antü
Kake mapu tuwlu kellukünueyew.
Konümpa ta wirikamekefi üyechi zomo
Ñi ange poyekefulu eymi tichi püramüwün mew nga
Rupalu ta kiñe warangka aylla pataka meli mari tripantü Mu fey mulfen kay
La ngollilen nüwküli pu anümka ñi tapül mew.


Poco antes de nacer Li Po
su madre soñó que en su seno caía el planeta Venus
y por eso le dio el nombre
de Po, que significa “el luminoso”.
la tierra en que anduvo el poeta,
está llena de cerros y montañas
de difícil acceso
como aquí en Panguimapu donde siempre
vuelves como el hermano muerto
a recoger tus últimas pisadas.
Como estás solo invitas a beber
a tu sombra y a la luna
el último trago.
Mas la luna no sabe de bebidas y tu sombra
se limita a imitarte.
Un ojo desnudo en la noche es la única luz imaginable.
Un sol
de otra parte les tiende la mano.
La memoria dibuja el rostro
de la mujer que amaste en la cosecha
de mil novecientos cuarenta y el rocío
se sostiene
borracho entre las hojas de los árboles.


Not long before the birth of Li Po
his mother dreamt that the planet Venus fell in her womb
and that’s why she gave him the name of Po
which means “the luminous one”.
the land where the poet walked
is full of mountains and hills
difficult to access
like here in Panguimapu where
you always return
like the dead brother
to recover your final footsteps.
Being alone you invite your shadow
and the moon
to share the last drink.
Though the moon knows nothing
of drinks and your shadow limits itself
to imitating you.
A naked eye in the night is the only imaginable light.
A sun
from another place extends its hand.
Memory draws the face
of the woman you loved in the harvest
of nineteen-forty and the dew
holds itself
drunk among the leaves of trees.

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ISBN : 9781922120175
ISBN: 9781922120175, 9781922120182
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Page Length: 248
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Customer Reviews

1-5 of 3 reviews

  • IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)

    Mapuche poetry has flourished in recent decades and is now one of the most compelling neighbourhoods of contemporary Latin American literature. Incredibly, however, much of it remains untranslated into English. Not only does this anthology correct the situation, it goes far beyond the scale of anything published before. Some of the most important and exciting Mapuche poets are gathered here.

    Providing versions of each poem in Mapudungun, Spanish and English, Poetry of the Earth demonstrates how Mapuche poetry is so much more than just a collection of poems, or an act of writing. Rather, it is an expression of a long, rich and dynamic history, which at different times and places has made use of many kinds of musical, literary and linguistic forms.

    As the poems are often operatic in their scope and register, the anthology as a whole is also a sophisticated ensemble of languages, cultures, critics and poets. Translations by Mapuche and Settler Chileans meet the translations of Chileans and Australians on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Then, Aboriginal, Mapuche and Settler scholars provide extremely useful introductory essays.

    Poetry of the Earth is a remarkable example of Australian-Chilean resonance, and of the shared history of European colonisation of indigenous peoples around the world. This is not just an anthology of poetry from a distant land and language; it’s an illustration of a vital, trans-Pacific force.

    – Stuart Cooke, Griffith University

    July 21, 2023
  • IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)

    If you long for a textual world to lose yourself in, then this anthology will enable you to slip-off the garments of your material being, and share the Mapuche visions naked and divine, of lands and tongues, unwilling to surrender or recognise that the deplorable history of colonialism has been absolute.

    Poetry of the Earth is part of an awakening of pride in Indigenous culture, for it speaks from a language that, although fragile in ‘Western’ terms, is embedded in the landscape, air, and water of Mapuche dreamscapes and will always resonate with power, resilience and wonderment.

    – Samuel Wagan Watson, author, Love Poems and Death Threats

    July 21, 2023
  • IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)

    Book reviews tend to operate according to some kind of comparative drive: which are the writers whose work this resembles; is this work better or worse than those? Where can it be located in a historical system of literary relationships? Leaning on Harold Bloom’s theories of critical paternity testing and an inverted form of child support, this mode of review is supposed to gives us an idea of what the book might be like, whether we should bother reading it, perhaps even whether it should have been published in the first place.

    In some ways, Poetry of the Earth: Mapuche Trilingual Anthology challenges us to abstain from these tropes. Poetry of the Earth is an extraordinary book, and before it and the work it contains can be compared to anything, it is necessary to consider just how remarkable it is as a publishing project. Works translated into English comprise approximately two to three percent of total publications each year (the figure sinks even lower if restricted to works of literature). Bilingual editions, though not uncommon for collections of poetry, are by no means standard practice. The reasons typically given for this are understandable: including the original text in a publication either doubles the page count (and increases printing costs) or halves the amount of work that can be included. Additionally, books that do get translated tend to be skewed towards Europe (French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian). So to be able to pick up a book focusing exclusively on contemporary Mapuche poets, with all the poems published not just in Spanish and English, but also in Mapudungun, is truly radical. That it comes from an Australian press, explicitly framed within the context of inter-indigenous poetics and solidarity only makes it more unique. As such, the book almost seems to dare a reviewer to compare it to other books and not come out looking like an idiot, or worse.

    – Joel Scott, Cordite (read the full review here)

    July 21, 2023

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