Latin American Writers

a window on their lives and work

Poetry live from Quintana Roo


[es] At a time when poetry readership is dwindling in the United States, poets across the western hemisphere go on writing and publishing in projects like this new one from the Mexican state of Quintana Roo: Contramarea, an online anthology. Edited and introduced by poet David Anuar, Contramarea (Countertide) offers poems in Spanish by five other Quintana Roo poets—four of them born in the 1990s.


In variations on familiar Quintana Roo themes (nature, nostalgia), each poet strikes a different chord. Melbin Cervantes offers drama (we’re translating lines for our English-language readers):


       I listen in suspense to voices from the beach

       that flame within the liquid fire of the Caribbean.


Laura Angulo gives us stately lines in measured cadence:


       Some day/kilometer 11/

      of the highway that leads home….


There is the fierce sadness of Cristian Poot’s “Remote Childhood”:


       The children throw rocks at their childhood

       but do not manage to bury the misery.


José Antonio Iñiguez travels through existential space in the interlocking lines of “Itinerary”:


       I cross the avenue Juárez

      to enter directly into memory


      I cross memory….


In addition to the thirteen poems by these younger poets, the anthology includes, as a tribute, four poems by a fifth poet, Adriana Cupul Itzá , who died in 2005 at the age of 26. Her poems trace a thread linking the fate of human and non-human nature across time as in “Words from a dry tree”—


      One day we will write on human skin

      the history of the cedar tree….


The poets’ brief biographies offer a glimpse into the complex weave of regional and literary life in Mexico ­– journals, poetry laboratories, fanzines, prizes, book fairs, festivals, classes. Contramarea is an example of the way the internet has expanded that literary space.


Carol Polsgrove and Paloma Fernández Sánchez

 Photo by ros k @ getfunky_paris (Flickr: storm) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons