Women’s Day USA 2021: Voices from Here

In this collection the reader will find poems from different writers who are based in the United States of America. These poets shared their powerful writing pieces with us and, later on, they were asked to define womanhood in one word. The chosen words were remarkable and a reflection of their nature and their experiences as women: Persistence, Antigone, Courage, Topographies of Light and Shadows, Transformation, Bravery and Water. None of them used the same word to define it. These words could be used as a map and a cartography of the women of the twentieth first century. Being a woman also means to write as a woman. At La Ninfa Eco we invite our readers to celebrate the accomplishments of the female writers of the United States of America*.


Marj Hogan (USA) is a Spanish teacher living in Portland, Oregon. Her poems have been published in various journals and anthologies, including Rendezvous Reader: Northwest Writing, Bear Deluxe, High Shelf, Pretty Owl, 3elements, and VoiceCatcher.
 Marj Hogan: Persistence

 Drywall

 In the scene where the hero chases our assassin through        
     [the marketplace,
 oranges fall all over, a chicken explodes into the air  
     [left of center, and my mother
 whispers, “Who is going to clean that up?” This was a  
     [running joke

 at our house: if in a film things fell apart, she would  
     [suck her teeth and we
 could echo under our breath the inevitable  
     [lament, Who…? in unison, because
 someone not particularly concerned with the conspiracy 
     [or the car chase

 had only come to sell eggs, which become one more  
     [casualty of the hero’s ego
 when a tent comes crashing down and the vendor gestures  
     [uselessly after
 our assassin; or when elsewhere the cowboy shoves a  
     [gunslinger through

 the plate glass window of the saloon, then rides away  
     [without so much as
 picking up a broom; or the doomed lover who topples the 
     [bookcase; or the rogue
 but righteous soldier in a Land Rover; the joke being  
     [simply that he can,

 that after the action he’s gone, and someone else in 
     [amazement or disgust
 is gathering the bruised fruit, the sawdust, the shards 
     [of glass, the broken cups,
 like when a man punches a hole in your drywall, and you 
     [think: Hey, not
 necessary; and also, I feel you, man; and also, Who is  
     [going to clean that up?

Carolina Sánchez (Colombia, 1991) is aa writer living in New Jersey. She was the editor and co-founder of the Colombian independent publishing house El lobo está en el bosque libros in Bogotá. She is the author of the bilingual poetry book Voyage/Viaje (Ultramarina Cartonera & Digital, 2020) that is an intermedial translation from Tarkovsky´s film Stalker into poetry. Her creative work has been featured in Corónica, Matera, PoesíaZégel, Temporales and Otro páramo. In 2019, she participated in The Americas Poetry Festival of New York and in the International Book Fair of New York in the Cervantes Institute. She is a PhD student at Rutgers University.
 Carolina Sánchez: Antigone  

 Genealogy 
 
 I foresee the bird dressed in black, 
 it was my grandmother 
 arriving from distant lands 
 where solitude was a way of living.  
 I foresee my grandmother bird 
 landing in this moor 
 orphan, foreigner, 
 with sharpened silence, 
 rigid stance 
 under the Elizabethan collar.  

 Austere, 
 like a Protestant’s home in the country, 
 aseptic and cruel.  

 My grandmother realized early, 
 she couldn’t speak, she couldn’t think; 
 not allowed. 
 She served her sentence, 
 knowing the only thing allowed was to die.  

 The bird carrying bad luck 
 my grandmother was 
 still stares the word with fright 
 through my eyes. 

Kelly Martínez-Grandal (Cuba, 1980). Writer, editor and photography curator. She holds a Bachelor in Arts and a Master degree in Comparative Literature, both from the Central University of Venezuela, a country where she lived for twenty years. At this same institution she was a professor for seven years. Her poems have been included in several anthologies, as well as in online magazines. She has published the bilingual poetry collections Medulla Oblongata (CAAW Ediciones, 2017) and Zugunruhe (Katakana Editores, 2020). Currently, she lives and works in Miami, Florida.
 Kelly Martínez-Grandal: Courage 

 Fragile paper doll 
 cut from the edge of dream,
 shredded
 the eye
 the terror.

 You have not chosen this destiny.

 Within you the sky’s shadow
 Where we could not see one another,
 exhausted hours,
 the afternoon
 and a desire to discover all of you
 covered
 the mouth,
 the hands.

 Swaying naked,
 body overcomed by years,
 birds
 where you did not say,
 white wound.

 No more violence giving birth to these lines,
 humiliating rage at not being you,
 veins
 glimpsed
 at the edge of a mirror
 where the shudder begins.

 From Medulla Oblongata. Translated by Margaret Randall. 

Sarli E. Mercado (Nicaragua) now lives in another isthmus, on the land of the Ho-Chunk Nation next to the Mendota and Monona Lakes, named also Madison, Wisconsin. A writer and literary critic, Sarli holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Contemporary Poetry and is the author of Cartografías del destierro: En torno a la poesía de Juan Gelman and Luisa Futoransky (Corregidor, 2008). [Cartographies of Exile: On the Poetry of Juan Gelman (Argentine/Mexico) and Luisa Futoransky (Argentine/France)] She is presently working on her second book: On the Edge of Language & Rethinking “Permanence”: The Latin American Poet of/in the Twenty First Century. At the University of Wisconsin, Madison she teaches Spanish American literature, translation, and urban cultural studies. Sarli is also part of collaborative interdisciplinary projects between UW-Madison and the Museum of Environmental Sciences (MCA) at the University of Guadalajara and co-directs the Living Poetry: Women in Translation Initiative, part of 4W-International Women Collective Translation Project.
 Sarli E. Mercado: Topographies of light and shadows

 On the road to the red sea 
  
 But now all these heavy books are no use to me anymore, 
    [for
 Where I go, words carry no weight: it is best
 
 W.H. Auden                                                     


To E. M. Nash 
  
 The road will take you there, perhaps to me, she said
 There, at the beginning, a single fragile geography 
     [it’s all you’ll find
 I’d listen in to the silent dissolution of the sea 
 It will awaken you into the Unknown City 
  
          I live now in exile from it! I am mad for it!  
   
 Look now at that red dusty street lined with all those  
    [wooden houses (don't forget to mark yours
 with your name) 
 Yours, you’ll see it right behind the small white 
    [Church. You do see it…!
 It’s indeed the beginning of shy humiliations and sunny 
    [afternoons
 In it, the skinny white dog, Suliman, lays still under 
     [your bed 
  
          Waiting. 
  
 It won’t be too far now: 
 There! Look now at the great mango tree as your brother 
    [falls ripe   
 Just don’t look into the water well (his face floats in 
    [it deeply at times) 
  
          I too dislike it! I’d too run from it 
  
 Better get back out to the street, she adds
 You and I, we’ll walk together the road to the sea!
 Is far too bright out here, I want to say, my skin 
    [slowly sweating 
 Yet, it hardly matters now as I follow the clumsy 
    [childish feet into the distance 
  
 Look, here I too stand now staring, it’s my bleeding 
    [leg, she screams out  
 The wound marks the flesh and I don’t want to cry.  I, 
    [don’t… I?
 The red runs dark and deep… deep into the red ground 
    [from the flesh. 
  
          Look at it! 
  
 (Afterwards, they, we, all cried too. Waspan, San 
    [Esquipulas, Krasa, …Asang 
 All of them did, making us carve our own graves deep,    
    [deep into the red ground. Perhaps… they 
did it because it was right on Christmas? Red Christmas,        
    [we are, we were. Right? Right?) 
  
           The scarred rogue sorrow comes quietly in the  
    [small hour
                    
 It is fine, her voice hardly there now, it’s only the 
    [dusty road that pains yours eyes 
 Here, come close and embrace me
  
 Softly smelling both sides of my saggy face, as if it 
    [were for the first time
 Here, she whispered, come close embrace me, don’t kiss 
    [me, no… 
  
 This is how she, our grandmother, greeted us; this was 
    [our way!
 I wipe my tears and feel the warm sand, my feet wet, 
    [salty
          
          Red.  

Masiel M. Corona Santos (Mexico) is a bilingual poet and community leader. She holds an M.A in. Hispanic Literature, Linguistics and civilization (California State, University of San Bernardino), B.A. Spanish Literature and Culture and minor in Chicano and Latino Studies.  (University of California Irvine). She has published her poetry in Literary Journal Voices (2019, 2020), Círculo literario de Mujeres, Enpoli, De-lirio, Fémina, El Beisman, Alma América, Contraste Político, La Coyol Revista Literaria. She has also published her writings in different anthologies. She has participated in Festival Internacional de Poesía, Comala, Círculo Annual Poetry Conference, Festival Internacional de Poesía, Comala, Tercer encuentro internacional de poetas y escritores (Academia de Literatura Latinoamericana). Tercer Recital de Poesía sofisticada, Perú, Quinto encuentro literario: En busca de la undécima Musa, Festival de las Artes, Papantla Ver. She collaborates on different cultural and literary spaces: Centro Cultural de México (Santa Ana, California) Instituto Cultural Iberoamericano (Madrid, Spain) and Los Angeles Poet Society. 
Masiel M. Corona Santos: Transformation
 
 TO BE BORN A WOMAN 
  
 To be born a woman is a revolutionary act; 
 It is to emerge out of silence,   
 it is to break echoed patterns that bound us to 
    [tradition. 
  
 We as women of today, 
 must learn and have learned  
 to shatter crystallized essences 
 of a historical gap that deviate our struggles. 
  
 To be born a woman is to ignite, 
 to ignite collective voices,
 become loaded cartilleras: 
 sources of an open expression, 
 empowerment. 
  
 We have a duty to ourselves, 
 but also to the others.
 We must hold each other 
 as hermanas.  
  
 Sisters, 
 alive we have moved through real struggles, 
 freeing ourselves from the confines and conditions of 
    [history,  
 bitter ends. 
  
 We say no. 
  
 We rewrite ourselves and by doing so, 
 we change, 
 we change
 we change.   
 Roots of an evolving psyche we are.  
  
 Long forgotten, we create a voice,  
 a voice that emerges out of silence.
  
 To be born a woman is a revolutionary act.    

Yarisa Colón Torres (Puerto Rico, 1977) is a poet, handmade book creator and Adjunct Instructor at Bronx Community College, CUNY. For over two decades, Yarisa has been experimenting with the creation of unique handmade books and hand-cut collages. She also organizes bookmaking workshops; publishes limited editions of poetry books; and collaborates with visual artists, performers, musicians, writers and artisans on multi-disciplinary projects.  It brings her great joy to know that her handmade books have traveled to Ecuador, Spain, France, and Italy, among other places around the world. She keeps the blog Espacioasiray.blogpost.com
 Yarisa Colón Torres: Bravery
 
 The Trio: Billie Holiday, Harriet Tubman and Nina  
   [Simone
  
 This scaffolding of bones never forgets
 to quiet down the ant’s nest 
 on my forehead
  
 it thunders among the deceitful tongues
 and fixes broken crowns
  
 my root comes from afar
 and is in good company
  
 to my right
 walks a voice 
 that smells like gardenias
  
 to my left
 a maroon 
 from the underground railroad
 is leading 
 quivering voices
                    
 behind me
 a pianist 
 in exile masters 
 the art of improvisation
  
 facing forward
 among dead women
 I become a woman
 rowing on wavering feet
  
 I color shadows
 I sing
 and I spy 
 on the light
  
 Translated by Mario Cancel Bigay 

Silvia Goldman (Uruguay) is a poet, teacher, and scholar. She has lived in the US since 2001. Her first book of poetry, Cinco movimientos del llanto, was published in 2008 by Ediciones de Hermes Criollo. A section of this book was translated by Charlotte Whittle and published in 2016 by Cardboardhouse Press under the title No one rises indifferent to sorrowDe los peces la sed, her second book, was published in 2018 by Pandora Lobo Estepario Press. Her most recent book, miedo, was awarded by the Tuft’s University “Feria Internacional de Libro Latino y Latinoamericano”, and was recently published by Axiara editions. She was a finalist in the VI and VII “Premio Internacional de poesía Pilar Fernández Labrador”, and “Premio internacional de poesía Paralelo cero”. Her poems have been included in various journals and anthologies.  She holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Brown University and teaches language and literature at DePaul University. She is a member of the literary and cultural platform Contratiempo.
 Silvia Goldman: Water
  
 the lesson of grief
  
 A woman dries up 
 from the inside out
 Mary Hawley
  
 this is the lesson of grief
  
 a woman dries up from the inside out
 she is not another rib she is the table where someone 
    [set the plates
  
 the floor is outside but from the corner
 it is a lamp falling
  
 disturbing the balance 
 random
 a vowel appears and she grabs it
 her hand is too much
 within that purity
  
 it has a finger that flows toward her feet
 fills them and says to them
 i am also going to touch you
 even though it hurts 
  
 she puts shoulders on the plates
 men who head for bookshelves but get lost first 
 reading isn’t enough
 it doesn’t forgive you
 there are enormous ways to read
  
 give me your hard part your father part 
 that water you put on the plate
 and it fell
 what’s below isn’t a tongue
 nor is it the slow yearning of gray
 it is a cry that splits your flesh in two
 we are on the bridges of this conversation
 you’ll look at me one more time before i jump
  
 Translated by Mary Hawley 

*Coordinated by Enrique Bernales Albites, edited by Gaby Sambuccetti