Thursday, 23 June 2011

Alaíde Foppa tweet poetry

Guatemalan writer, university teacher, women's right's activist and poet Alaíde Foppa (born in 1914 or some sources say 1932 - missing presumed dead in 1980). She “disappeared” in December that year when she returned from exile in Mexico to visit her family in Guatemala. It is presumed that she was murdered by the Guatemalan government. In the context of her death, the lines of her poem Wound are all the more powerful. Read her work and remember her.

This is from a poem called Wound, I am guessing Herida in the original Spanish. There seems to be no archive or resource for Foppa. I would love to see the poem in its original form; please send it to me if you have it. It is unclear who the translation I have is by but here it is in full.


Your life hurts me, son
like a recently opened wound.
They think that you have detached yourself from me
simply because you were born.
The cord is invisible:
an arrow in my side,
a ripened fruit
that does not abandon the tree,
a tender branch
You are weaker than my hand,
more delicate than my eyes,
smoother than my lips.
You made me so vulnerable
that I feel fear:
your life depends on
a gust of wind,
whoever touches you lightly
hurts you,
at your side,
in the tepid folds
of your bed, death sleeps.
And even though you are
more mine than my hand,
oh my most tender little branch,
perhaps I won't know how to defend you.

More on Foppa and her poems can be found here:

More on the hunt to find out what became of Foppa here:

The poem is anthologised in the always rewarding anthology (out of print: why?) These are Not Sweet Girls: Poetry by Latin American Women:(White Pine Press) edited by Marjorie Agosín.

These are Not Sweet Girls: v.7: Poetry by Latin American Women: Vol 7 (Secret Weavers Series)

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