TWO VOICES: Carmen Boullosa and Pura Lopez Colome

Posted on October 17, 2011 by Scott Esposito

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Mexico is traditionally thought of as a country in love with machismo, and that fact can be seen in the Mexican writers who succeed in English—among them Carlos Fuentes, Juan Rulfo, and Octavio Paz. Yet there are many women in Mexico writing landmark literature, and this audio presents two of them.

As part of the annual Litquake literature festival in San Francisco, the Center for the Art of Translation partnered with the Mexican Consulate to present two of Mexico's most vital female writers: Carmen Boullosa and Pura López Colomé.

A novelist, Boullosa has been called Mexico's greatest woman writer by none other than Roberto Bolaño. She writes edgy, surreal novels that deconstruct the differences between societies and genders and that explore what she has called "the universe of the feminine." Her novels vary widely, ranging from pirates to small-town Mexico to Ancient Egypt. At the event she read in both Spanish and English from her novel Treinta años, published in English as Leaving Tabasco. (A story of Boullosa's can be read on the Center's website here.)

López Colomé is a widely lauded poet, who has won the prestigious Xavier Villaurrutia prize and has translated works by Samuel Beckett, Bertold Brecht, Seamus Heaney, and Rainer Maria Rilke. Her book No Shelter was published in Forrest Gander's translation by Graywolf Press in 2002, and she has been published widely in English in various journals, including the poem "Prism," published in TWO LINES. For the event she read a selection of poems in both Spanish and English.