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.