Thunderweavers/ Tejedoras de rayos

Overview

In the winter of 1997, paramilitary agents ambushed and killed many Mayan villagers in Acteal, Chiapas. Gifted writer Juan Felipe Herrera has composed a stirring poem sequence--published in a bilingual format--written in response and homage to those who died, as well as to all those who call for peace and justice in the Mexican highlands and throughout the Americas.

Thunderweavers is a story of violent displacements in the lives of the most impoverished residents of southern ...

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Overview

In the winter of 1997, paramilitary agents ambushed and killed many Mayan villagers in Acteal, Chiapas. Gifted writer Juan Felipe Herrera has composed a stirring poem sequence--published in a bilingual format--written in response and homage to those who died, as well as to all those who call for peace and justice in the Mexican highlands and throughout the Americas.

Thunderweavers is a story of violent displacements in the lives of the most impoverished residents of southern Mexico, the Tzotzil Tzeltal campesinos. It deals with the destruction of a people and all evidence of their lives:

Why am I Tzotzil?
Why was I born in this land of so many storms?
I plant corn and yet I reap gunpowder
I plant coffee and yet I reap mad spirits
I plant my house and yet I reap the viscera
of this fallen earth.

The sections are written in the voices of four women from a family in Chiapas: Xunka, a lost twelve-year-old girl; Pascuala, the mother; grandmother Maruch; and Makal, an older daughter who is pregnant. Each voice weaves into the others and speaks for still other members of the larger Mayan and Native American family.

Herrera, a major Chicano poet known for his expansive, surreal writing, here takes on a spare and lyrical style in the tradition of Rosario Castellanos, recalling as well the canto legacy of Pablo Neruda and the testimonial call of Ernesto Cardenal. Thunderweavers is a poetic account of transcendence and continuity in the midst of chaos, suffering, and war-a Mayan cycle of personal, physical, and spiritual struggles that Indian women have been continuously engaged in for th-a past five hundred years.

About the Author:

Poet and performance artist Juan Felipe Herrera is the author of many books of poetry and prose, including Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (University of Arizona Press) and Mayan Drifter: Chicano Poet in the Lowlands of America, as well as two bilingual books for children. He lives in Fresno, California.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Blood travels past the kitchens/ the television and an altar of maize fade./ Travels along the wound of Mexico/ an X in the center of its heart." The voices and psyches of four related indigenous women from the devastated village of Acteal, Chiapas, are hauntingly channeled by Herrera in this bilingual collection of fierce, anguished lyrics. Herrera (Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream; Crashboomlove; etc. ), who often performs with a theater troupe and has authored two children's books, deftly handles each of his four characters without condescension, as they are scattered in the wake of a paramilitary assault on their hometown: "you are the wise one, your flag upon the residences/ of cholera and dissolved bones under puddles, stars/ shredded in the pits." A mother, grandmother, lost 12-year old daughter, and her pregnant 17-year-old sister wander separately through a surreal landscape of burning cornfields, ribbons of fabric and flesh, and "that tiny girl democracy." Images repeat through the book's four sections (one per character), slowly transformed by the stark perceptions of each character's mind and senses into Mayan symbols for five hundred years of oppression. Herrera handles complex, wrenching material with a chilling tone that is at once furiously resistant, unsentimental and deeply wounded. (The back-to-back English and Spanish allows the reader a fluid read in either language.) Conceived as part homage to the area's people and part testimonial, the book, Herrera's 12th, strengthens Arizona's impressive and vital list of poetry by major Chicano writers. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816519866
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2000
  • Series: Camino del Sol
  • Pages: 150
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Poet and performance artist Juan Felipe Herrera is the author of many books of poetry and prose, as well as two bilingual books for children. He lives in Fresno, California.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Thunderweavers
I Xunka: The Lost Daughter 5
II Pascuala: Mother among Thunder 21
III Maruch: Grandmother of the Roads 37
IV Makal: Daughter of the Drums 55
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