Central American Book of the Dead

(Author) (Translator)

Product Details

$17.00  $15.81
Flowersong Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.37 inches | 0.41 pounds
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About the Author

Balam Rodrigo is a poet living in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.Born in Soconusco, Chiapas, he has published over 20 books of poetry, holds a B.S. inBiology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and is certified in pastoraltheology. Along with the Premio Bellas Artes de Poesía Aguascalientes in 2018 forCentral American Book of the Dead, his work has received more than 40 international, national, regional and state awards, and his poems have been translated into English, Portuguese, Zapotec, Polish and French.
Dan Bellm is a poet and translator living in Berkeley, California. Recent books ofpoetry in translation include Speaking in Song, by Pura López Colomé (2017), The Songof the Dead, by Pierre Reverdy (2016), and Description of a Flash of Cobalt Blue, by JorgeEsquinca (2015). His fourth book of poems is Deep Well (2017); his third, Practice (2008), won the California Book Award. He teaches literary translation and poetry at AntiochUniversity Los Angeles, and serves as a volunteer interpreter for Central Americanimmigrants and asylum seekers at Centro Legal de la Raza, Oakland.


"[N]ewly born from death," these voices, these bodies,

refuse to vanish from the face of the earth. Fiercely lyrical,

burning with fury, these immigrants now live eternally in the

world, in us. Each voice is haunting, inerasable. Collectively, the

voices crash through false propagandas, rewrite what we call

history. Dan Bellm's translations are as intimate as whispered

conversations around a kitchen table. Balam Rodrigo's poetic

gifts are mind-blowing-I'm so thankful for his voice, which in

this singular book, ignites into a blazing chorus.

-Eduardo C. Corral, author of Slow Lightning and


In Dan Bellm's meticulous rendering of Balam Rodrigo's

Central American Book of the Dead, the voices of the dead speak in

heartbreaking detail of the atrocities committed against them in

Mexico as they tried to reach the United States. But they also tell

of their dreams, their loves, their yearnings for the homelands

they've left behind. Each poem testifies not only to the

complicity of governments in the conditions that force migrants

to leave their homes, but also to the brutal colonial origins of the

violence they face in their journey to a better life. More than

testimony, each poem is a burial rite, Rodrigo's restoration of the

humanity of those murdered and abandoned. This book will

haunt you, as well it should.

-Rosa Alcalá, author of MyOTHER TONGUE

Balam Rodrigo transports readers across literary borders,

to a Latin American tradition in which poetry delivers

information-and emotion-silenced by the powerful. Central

American Book of the Dead leaves readers with images and stories

of life, death and overcoming that refuse to be buried beneath

the superficialities of what passes for "news." A book as daring

as the migrants who undertake the perilous journey north.

-Roberto Lovato, author of Unforgetting

Balam Rodrigo's Central American Book of the Dead is a

book that all non-Central Americans, especially Mexicans, should

read. The book is a retelling of Bartolomé de las Casas' A Brief

Account of the Destruction of the Indies, but remixed to show us that

the colonial machinery is still very much at work in the "fertile

burying ground called Mexico." With Dan Bellm's brilliant and

careful translation, the book becomes the very country where

these atrocities take place. It is the self-implicating account of

Mexico's violent history, written by a Mexican, that I've been

waiting for.

-Javier Zamora, author of Unaccompanied and Solito: A