Introductions for Dolores Dorantes & Laura Solórzano – 1 April 09

Dolores Dorantes’s most recent books include sexoPUROsexoVELOZ (2004) and Lola (cartas cortas) (2002). A translation of sexoPUROsexoVELOZ and Septiembre, books two and three of Dolores Dorantes by Dolores Dorantes, have been translated by Jen Hofer and published by Counterpath Press and Kenning Editions. Dorantes was born in Veracruz in 1973 and has lived most of her life in Ciudad Juárez, where socioeconomic violence and politically-charged daily brutalities have informed her work as a poet, journalist, and cultural worker. She is a founding member of the border arts collective Compañía Frugal (The Frugal Company), which counts among its activities publication of the monthly poetry broadside series Hoja Frugal, printed in editions of 4,000 and distributed free throughout Mexico.

Dolores Dorantes writes the kind of poems I look for, which is to say they present a spare frame that can withstand any force, and the force we are talking about is emotional and political, the frame is analog for the civilian body. These poems are not a refuge but a location for pain to be mitigated, transformed into something else, not magically but through the visible workings of the poet. To paraphrase one of her lines, her poems are marked with a white cross made of lime that we can all enter. Please welcome Dolores to the Poetry Project.

Laura Solórzano is the author, most recently, of Boca perdida (2005) and lobo de labio (2001). Jen Hofer’s translation of lobo de labio was published as lip wolf by Action Books in March 2007. Laura is on the editorial board of the literary arts magazine Tragaluz, and currently teaches writing at the Centro de Arte Audiovisual in Guadalajara. Both Dorantes and Solórzano appeared in the anthology Sin puertas visibles: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry by Mexican Women (ed. and trans. by Hofer in 2003).

Even as a non-Spanish speaker it was pleasurable to make an effort to read Solórzano’s poems in the language they were written. What I can understand is that she is an ear-driven poet, and Jen Hofer’s translations brilliantly retain that element. She’s a psychological poet, rendering the music of the unconscious into language, which is, if we want to go by Lacan, structured like a language. Vivid images emerge and layer and weave obsessively. Images of eyes serve to cast the self as an image as well, the I – she writes “this cornea split apart as if it were a dark cave” – images of such rupture are balanced by the desire for “encounter between you and me.” Please welcome Laura to the Poetry Project.

-Stacy Szymaszek