Last Friday night at the Librería Universitaria, I had the good fortune to hear the much honored poet Ileana Garma Estrella share work from her book of poems “Ternura,” which won the 2012 Caza de letras for poetry.
To talk of the book as being about relationships is far too cliched. Illeana said she wrote to remember, to answer questions, to explore emotions and memories. This collection of poems, some written as prose poems, some in free verse, explore in beautiful lyrical writing, her relations with those in her life past and present. There are poems devoted to her father, to lovers and to her relation with the world in general. Perhaps because she was born in Yucatan, or perhaps not, many of her poems involve the natural world-gardens, birds, planets- including them as a part of a larger personal exploration and sometimes addressing them directly, sometimes as a symbol evoking something far deeper.
She mentioned that an original impetus for her early writing was simply a love of the sound of words, and her lyricism and word play provide a great argument for learning a foreign language; the poems could be translated into English, for example, but as always with creative writing something is usually lost in the process.
She has already received many awards for her writing, and it will be intriguing to see what she will share with us in the future. -david sokolec