Thunderweavers/ Tejedoras de rayos by Juan Felipe Herrera
(Camino del Sol)

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The highlands of Chiapas are smoldering with death. 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 Juan Felipe Herrera

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Juan Felipe Herrera is a noted writer, poet, and playwright. He is a professor of creative writing in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. In 2012 he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown as California's Poet Laureate, and he is the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. He has published twenty-eight books, including Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award.
Published February 1, 2000 by University of Arizona Press. 150 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Thunderweavers/ Tejedoras de rayos

Publishers Weekly

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), 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...

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ForeWord Reviews

In the final section, Makal, pregnant Daughter of the Drums, sings: “Totil Me’il / I finished my weavings / in the manner taught to us by the saints./ I fulfilled my obligations / I am walking down the broken path, dreams / mirror of ashes, black corn wing.” Herrera is the author of many books ...

Feb 14 2000 | Read Full Review of Thunderweavers/ Tejedoras de ...

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