Poetry. Latinx Studies. Women's Studies. Translated by Olivia Lott. Longlisted for the 2020 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Luc -a Estrada's KATABASIS, winner of the 2017 Bogot Poetry Prize, is the first full collection of poetry by a Colombian woman to be translated into English. It takes its title from the Greek word for descent, referring to both classical knowledge quests into the underworld by epic heroes and, more broadly, to any journey into madness, darkness, the unknown. A three-part plunge into the darkness of the world, and of the mind, Estrada's prose poems depict the night, the subconscious, and the surreal. Olivia Lott's seminal translation tracks the mercurial tempos and intertextualities of the poems, as it captures the double valence of political dissent and katabatic descent. This book reminds us that darkness is a space of enlightenment.
KATABASIS'S descent into dissent gives us 'a reason to move through the world: ' Dissent from imperialist and neo-colonialist notions of Colombia and its literature, dissent from the Latin American poetry in translation canon, dissent from the translator's invisibility. This impressive book of firsts is exactly the kind of translation work I'm most interested in. It is poetry after my own heart.--Katherine M. Hedeen
Luc -a Estrada numbers among a group of celebrated Latin American women poets who unrelentingly explore the darkest crannies of the imagination and the intellect, including Marosa Di Girogio, Reina Mar -a Rodr -guez, and Blanca Varela. These probingly psychological yet profoundly lyrical poems recall the writing of Gabriela Mistral, Olga Orozco, Alejandra Pizarnik. Estrada's poetry, which emerges from Colombia's decades-long armed conflict, is shadowy, subaquatic, yet razor-sharp. Olivia Lott's impressive, sophisticated translations are an event unto themselves for their lyrical luminosity and their memorable musicality: 'Silence that trails the crash, war cry, tempest; it mixes up with mine, white, shaky. But who says I take place in the world?' Wake up, readers, Estrada has arrived on this shore 'Listen, something in this scream is for you.'--Rachel Galvin