Maria Baranda's Ficticia
Published 15 August 2010
Translated by Joshua Edwards Paperback, 80pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £8.95 / $15Ficticia was first published in Mexico in 2006. The book is a trilogy of long poems: an initial sequence bearing the overall title, a series of 'Letters to Robinson', and a 'Sky Cycle'. While these series are distinct poems, they are all interconnected and intended to amplify each other and make a greater whole. The first sequence has a narrative voice and addresses an unidentified "you"; the second, the Letters, is addressed to Robinson, a witness to the events that unfold; the third returns to the narrative voice:
The sky is in my eyes.
I have fallen silent before the hurricane of its proverbs,
the jaws of thirst rising
from cracks in the mud.
I have fallen silent.
I have fallen silent before the men and children
and women hidden
like raw birds in cloaks of invisibility.
I have felt the shame of being someone
in my own words.
To live in ash inseparable
from filth and extermination,
to accept time covered in mold,
sullen time, time in the throat
that officiates the vertigo
of sacrilege and solitude between its cries.
(Sky Cycle ii)
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"The most unusual thing about Maria Baranda's dazzling accomplishment as a poet is that her most recent books are her very best ones. She keeps honing one of the most expressive lyricisms in contemporary Mexican poetry. Her complex prosody—the pitch and tempo rising in plangent cadences that break into sharp, percussive counterpoint—are here, in the poignant, sea-haunted book length poem Ficticia, at their best. And Joshua Edwards, a supremely gifted poet himself, brings out the full force of Baranda's music."—Forrest Gander
"María Baranda is one of the finest poets of her generation, those born in the 1960s, her work demonstrates adherence to the Mexican and Hispano-American tradition—that of the long meditative poem, with sinuous syntax and rich diction—with the not so frequent capacity for conceptual synthesis and precision of imagery and metaphor." —José María Espinasa
"María Baranda is today one of our country's necessary poets. During the past twenty years she has been able to start a conversation between recent Mexican lyric poetry and its predecessors: from the great pre-Hispanic poets to the those who in the 1960s changed the course of poetry in Mexico and in Latin America. María Baranda watches and listens. Her poetic speech passes through the senses before becoming language; it is this that gives her verses their spellbinding quality." —Eduardo Hurtado
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